Using high ISO with a small sensor

I’ve been trying to find ways around low light limitations of the 2/3″ sensor on Fuji’s X20. I love the way this camera works, and with a little effort I can do just about everything that I could do with a larger sensor camera, but the limits of physics occasionally cause frustrations.

To solve limitations with high ISO, I’ve been trying to optimize a processing workflow that uses the minimum possible noise reduction and then adds enough simulated grain to make it look as much like a push processed film print as possible. Converting to black and white also helps, especially to get a decent print made.

4th of July celebrations offer low light picture opportunities like this one taken at ISO 3200.

Here is a link to a crop of the raw file magnified to show how much noise there was to start with.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/krgy3x3b5vc8kk0/raw%20original%20close%20up.tiff

The link below is to a close up of the converted version with light NR applied and simulated film grain added to bring back some texture.

This is an uncompressed TIFF file, which avoids adding compression artifacts, but can’t be uploaded to WordPress.com directly. I noticed Google+ seems to handle TIFF files without a problem. I hope the WordPress folks consider this for their development pipeline, since it seems preferable for higher quality photoblogging.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yoi0pco76qd5qk4/small%20screen.tiff

The end result isn’t perfect, but looks reasonably interesting.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next from Fuji with a possible X30 announcement later this year.

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