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Exposure and Noise

Digital camera noise is related to exposure by the square root of the exposure value (EV) difference (somewhat of a simplification as there are several types of noise).

The amount of actual image data relative to noise (random junk) is called signal-to-noise. Thus, two stops more exposure doubles the S/N ratio.

Where noise appears

High-key areas already have a high signal to noise ratio and thus show relatively low noise. Mid-tone and darker areas are most at issue. But even relatively bright subject matter like clear blue sky can shown quite strong noise under some conditions (especially with a polarizer, which makes it a very dark blue).

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  • Covers aspects of digital sensor technology that relate to getting the best image quality.
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  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • MTF, field curvature, focus shift: insight into the limitations of lab tests and why imaging performance is far more complex than it appears.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • How to test a lens for a “bad sample”.

Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

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