I like taking photos with my handheld camera, I find it more spontaneous and I avoid carrying a tripod. Obviously the implications are high ISO noise and a slight blur. Usually I just reduce the image size from 100% to 75% or even 50% (depending on noise and sharpness) and at that reduce size its imperceptible. I’ve tried several techniques and software such as Topaz labs, Nik software and Photoshop’s unsharpen mask. The results are ok but nowhere near a shot taken with low iso and tripod so the images are usually not accepted by Dreamstime. My camera is only 16 megapixels and the reduced result gives me much smaller files (sometimes only 4 megapixels). Is there a good way to get rid of noise and blur in a way that makes it look realistic rather than half the detail missing from reduction software?
If you're having to go from 16 MP all the way to 4 MP just to cover up the technical flaws you seriously need to re-think things because you must have some major shake n noise. I would work on that .. then work on the NR. You'll be much happier in the long run. You can still hand hold .. I often leave my tripod sitting at home. Just use some good rules of thumb .. if you have to bump the ISO to levels you know your camera is not capable of handling .. don't shoot it. Look at your shutter speed .. if that number is less than your focal length .. don't shoot it. Hold your breath when you click your shutter. Find something to lean on. Use proper stance. If you still can't get the shot, don't want to use a tripod and you want to shoot it anyway then do it .. but do it for yourself. Every picture you take doesn't have to be for microstock. :)
As far as getting rid of noise, it all depends on what software you're using. Here's an article for doing it in Lightroom. Noise Reduction in Lightroom
As Afagundes and Fotoeye75 said - a huge part of the Noise problem is in camera settings (and camera as well), - so first you have to do maximum in-camera, and than reduce leftover noise with software. For me, the best noise removal tool is "Neat image" - it firstly analyzes the image and than based on analysis it removes the noise keeping the image details... well worth the money.
But do the camera settings first, because some images are unrescueable (for example with my EOS 40D I never go above ISO400 [actually 95% of photos are at ISO100] if I am shooting for microstock. But that is camera dependent and your camera might have different "safe zone of ISO")
Quoted Message: I also use neat image in the noisy parts of images and shoot at ISO100. I recommend neat image. Good luck!
I used NETIMAGE for some time and then some another soft. Finally I tested NOISE NINJA and found it MUCH better comparing to NEAT IMAGE. Very effective noise supression with minimum amount of artefacts,
7d + lenses: Canon EF-S 15-85mm/3.5-5.6 IS USM & EF 100mm/2.8 USM Mac...
I will assume the kit lens comes with some sort of image stabilization, because that´s what´s coming with the current kit, a nikon 18-55 VR.
So, first things first, how to prevent the shaked image, there is an old rule of thumb, you should allwayst take the image with a speed that is at least twice the focal length, there is, if you are taking it with 18mm, you should use at least 1/36, in your camera you probably have 1/40 or 1/50.
Now comes the tricky part, that was true in the film era with a 35mm camera, but you are using an APS-C sensor which is 1.5 x smaller than a 35 mm film, that means, an 18mm focal lenght is equivalent to a 27mm from the era when people did that rule of thumb so you should use something like 1/54 or faster (your camera might have 1/60) for a wide angle.
Now the good part, your lens is stabilized so it prevents camera shake by more or less two stops, that means you can use around a quarter of that speed, 1/18!
So, I did all this round to tell you that the rule of thumb for you is much simpler, if you are taking an image at 18mm, the minimum speed should be 1/18, if you are taking it with 55mm, the minimum should be 1/55, got it?
Now, thats true for a steady grip, and there are techniques to help you increase your steadiness, look at the profile image of Igordabari, for instance and you will know what I am talking about.
So, do some tests, take pictures with AV mode in f8.0 and ISO 100, search for places where the light will make it faster than 1/18 for wide and 1/55 for telephoto, your images should come out of the camera tack sharp.
If that is not the case, try a tripod (but in the tripod you should turn off the VR of the lens).
There is also an adjustment of sharpness in your camera since you are taking jpgs that you can use.
When you finish having tack sharp images, switch to RAW and never use jpgs anymore, but thats another loooong story.... :)
I purchased a new D5100 a while back and had to send it in for warranty work due to out of focus images. Try as I might, my images were simply soft and slightly out of focus. The paperwork that came back with my camera after the warranty work said "Repaired auto focus mechanism and repaired mirror mechanism". So my D5100 was not working correctly to start with. Rumor has it that the Nikon production plant in Japan was shut down due to the tsunami that hit Japan and when they were getting their production back up and running, the Quality Control Dept. there at Nikon was not doing a very good job. So quite a few cameras with problems ended up in the stores for purchase.
So if Afagundes advice doesn't get you squared away (and he is giving you excellent advice!!), you may need to have it looked at by the repair shop.
I love my D5100, it takes beautiful photos now that it's been repaired! Best of luck...
@ Mike - My camera doesnt have that problem, it takes razor sharp photos under most conditions, its only at night with very slow shutter speeds, so I know its not a camera problem, Im just trying to correct mistakes in post production.
(I love my camera too, stunning quality and amazing realistic colours)
If it takes sharp photos in bright light, then there is no problem with the camera. Slow shutter speeds can create motion blur and high iso can create noise, as we all know.
Sometimes there are problems that no software or technique can correct! A lost detail is lost forever. You can only bring an existing detail in a photograph. So your search won't take you anywhere. You should carry a tripod or at least a monopod, which is much portable and faster to use (and you can use it as a weapon :P)
In addition to the monopod, you should take RAWs, instead of jpegs. You are compressing the valuable information and it is compressed by a simple camera processor. RAW will bring you less noise, more colors. You can process a RAW image much more freely.
...and for the noise; I am using a good technique for noise reduction, it's a little time consuming but very effective in terms of protecting highlight details. Maybe you will like it, just take a look at HERE
Just to add to photoeyes response ... it sounds like shutter speed is more of a problem than anything. If you take a sharp image you should be able to use a variety of noise reduction methods and still not have to downsize near that much.
Also photoeye mentioned holding your breath. To take this a step further, a technique used by many hunters/marksmen (where a steady hand is also required) is to take a good breath, exhale and then shoot. It works the same for a camera, take your photo after you exhale.
Also dont be afraid to use whatever is handy to help steady your camera. A tree, a rock, a fencerail .... it all helps. I have a handheld photo that was a 4 second exposure accepted with a sale on DT where I used a lightpole to stabilize the camera.