EXCERPT page containing first few paragraphs. 2020-09-22 21:41:54
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ISO and noise is a complicated subject. For starters, ISO ratings can vary by camera significantly for the same resulting brightness of image. There can also be small exposure variations (aperture and shutter speed accuracy).
But the most important aspect of digital camera noise behavior is an odd failure to assess noise as it ought to be properly assessed: not on a per pixel basis but on an image quality basis. The appearance of noise depends on the character along with its magnitude, and the degree of enlargement:
- Character and magnitude—is the noise nicely random (film like)? Or perhaps does it show patterns or streaking or an overall color cast and/or loss of black level? The human eye is good at picking out various defects. Numeric assessments of noise are silly in this regard, skipping right past the pattern noise issue. More noise that is nicely random is far preferable to pattern noise.
- Enlargement factor—a 36-megapixel image will be enlarged to a lesser degree than a 12-megapixel image (pick any size print). Context-dropping by examining per-pixel noise without regard to enlargement factor has no meaningful basis in reality. All that matters is the appearance of the image at any specified size, whether in print or on screen. And that depends on the enlargement factor.
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