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Noise is enough of a problem that a lot of software developers have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to reduce noise on an image in post-production. There's been a lot of good work done in that regard, and we'll look at some of those options later, but your camera also probably offers some noise-reduction options that can be extremely helpful. You're going to need to do a little research, dig into your camera's manual, and see what noise-reduction features it has that you can turn on. You might see something called high ISO noise reduction. This is a special noise reduction routine that kicks in when you raise ISO above a certain point.
On newer cameras, high ISO Reduction defaults to being turned on, and it works very, very well. You probably want to leave it on. On some Canon cameras, you actually have different levels of noise reduction that you can activate in the high ISO noise-reduction feature. So you might want to try those and experiment with them and see what you think about their results. Any noise reduction routine, whether it's in your camera or in your computer, is a balance between noise reduction and softening of the image. So that's what you're looking for when you're evaluating these noise- reduction features.
Now you might also see something called long exposure noise reduction or something similar. That's meant to take out some of that stuck pixel noise that we talked about earlier, the kind of thing that happens during long exposures when the sensor is left turned on for a long time. Long exposure noise reduction is interesting because sometimes if it's turned on, it means that your camera will take as long as the exposure to perform a noise-reduction process. So if you're doing a 30-second exposure, after the shutter closes, the camera is going to sit there for another 30 seconds and do its noise-reduction process.
On some newer cameras, it happens in real time and so you don't have to worry about that. That's something you know about your camera before you start using that feature, because if you need to be working quickly, obviously, that's going to be a bit of a problem. Get out your manual, look for those two features, see if they have multiple settings, do some experiments, test them, it's good to know how those work if you want to use them once you're out in the field.
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