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When you use a shutter speed longer than one second, you potentially face a noise problem that's a little bit different than the type of noise you get when you simply raise ISO. As the shutter stays open longer and the sensor is exposed for a longer period of time some of the pixels can get stuck turned on. And that can make noise in your image. There is a Custom Function, number 4 here, Long exposure noise reduction. By default, it's turned off. If you switch it to Auto, any time you shoot longer than one second, the camera will automatically engage in a special type of noise reduction that can help with that type of noise you get when you're shooting long exposure images.
If you switch it to On, it will always be on, which you don't really want because when you activate this feature, after you take the shot, the camera needs the same amount of time that you used for your exposure to do a long exposure noise reduction process. So if you do a 15-second exposure, there will be an additional 15 second wait after the shot while the camera processes its noise reduction. This is a very effective process so if you are doing lots of long exposures, it's worth turning this on.
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