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Noise is the bane of all digital photographers. If you're seeing those ugly, speckled patterns in your image, you are facing a noise problem. And fortunately, the Mark III is wonderfully low noise, Nevertheless, there are times when you might face some noise troubles, and one of those times is if you are shooting with a shutter speed longer than one second. Long exposure noise reduction, which is here on the third page of my shooting menu, offers an in-camera processing option that can take out noise when you're shooting longer exposures. So I am going to hit Set to go in here into this setting, and by default, it's set to off.
Noise reduction will not be applied at all. Auto is going to analyze the image, and see if it's a good candidate for long exposure noise reduction. If it is, it will then process the image. Enable simply forces it to be on all the time. Now, long exposure noise reduction does an amazing job in reducing noise in these longer exposures. There is possibly a catch, though, and that is that sometimes that noise reduction process will take as long as the original exposure.
So if I am shooting at 30 second exposure, and I have long exposure noise reduction turned on, I'm actually going to need another 30 seconds after the exposure is finished for the noise reduction process to happen, and that's going to completely tie up my camera, so that could really slow down my shooting process. That's one reason that Auto is a better option than Enable, because if the camera doesn't think it can do anything, it won't bother. If you're shooting at ISO 1600 or higher, you are possibly going to get better results with Auto than you are with Enable.
Sometimes just simply enabling it is not going to give you very good results, so you want to have the Auto option there, making that decision ahead of time. If you are in the middle of a noise reduction process, and something amazing happens in front of you, and you want to take a picture of it, there is no way to cancel out of that process. In fact, you are going to see a busy indicator on your status display. So if you absolutely need to override it, there is one thing you can do, and that's to turn the camera off. However, if the red light back here is flashing, that means it's writing data to the card.
You don't want to interrupt that process; that could screw up your card. If it's still in the middle of processing, though, you could shut the camera down with no risk to your card. You are, of course, going to lose that image. So, this is something that's worth playing around with to make up your own mind about what you think about the quality of the noise reduction. Personally, I think it's an essential feature to have turned on if you are shooting an extremely low light. You might do some experiments with shooting the same lowlight shot with long exposure noise reduction turned Off, and with it on Auto, and On, and see what the differences are, and try to come up with some idea of what level of noise reduction you like, and whether you want it turned off all the time, or if you want the camera making some choices about when to apply it, or if you just absolutely want it on for any image with a one second or longer shutter speed.
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