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Nikon D850: Long Exposure Noise Reduction Appears to Cause Considerable Damage to Image Quality... By Greatly Increasing Noise!

See my Nikon wish list and get Nikon D850 at B&H Photo.

Update: I have confirmed the problem using my own Nikon D850. Be sure to disable long exposure noise reduction. There is nothing subtle about the major damage it does. Almost as if On if Off and Off is On, but much worse.


CAUTION: it appears that using long exposure noise reduction with the Nikon D850 increases noise dramatically.

Reader Dennis F states that he cannot get LENR to happen at all (no dark frame), even with LENR enabled. I’ve asked about shooting and shutter modes—that might be a factor. But it turns out he was using Silent Live View, which won’t shoot a dark frame, hence LENR is never used.

This comes up because reader Stephen S sent me raw files showing horrific noise with long exposure noise reduction (LENR) enabled versus not enabled: the noise is far worse with noise reduction! He also sent Nikon D810 files, which show no issue.

I published these two pages back in late September:

Noise: 15 Seconds, Near-Optimal Exposure (Rock Creek, Late Dusk)

Nikon D850: Noise: 30 Seconds, Late Dusk (Rock Creek)

At the time, the noise looked quite bad, but other night shots looked really good. As it turns out, those images on the pages above apparently had long exposure noise reduction (LENR) enabled, since RawDigger shows Noise = FPNR.

I take whatever FPNR is to mean LENR was enabled, which with every camera I’ve used means that a 2nd dark frame exposure is taken with duration as long as the actual exposure, doubling the time required.

Thing is, I don’t recall the D850 ever actually doing the dark-frame subtraction in any of this outdoor shooting—but maybe my memory is incorrect.

I need to investigate but I have an eye problem and cannot wear my contact lenses, which makes it difficult to work with the camera (10 diopter glasses suck).

Long exposure noise reduction apparently enabled in Nikon D850
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