Being a minolta maxxum user for years, saddened when I learned that minolta would no longer be making cameras, but greatly excited when I heard about the Sony Alpha 100. Now I have read great things about the Alpha 100, but I am not clear on the noise issue. How critical is it? Reports say that it is manageable at 800 ISO and unacceptable at 1600 ISO. Can someone explain what causes noise and how it might affect pictures? Also, can noise be used to benefit a picture or be acceptable in certain pictures? Thanks for helping a long time film user break into the digital world.
Digital noise is very similar to film grain. It's the textured look in what is, to your eye, a smooth area like a clear blue sky. As with film, it is most noticeable at high ISO numbers and long exposures. Here are more complete answers than I can give:
Can it be used to benefit a picture? Of course it can! The world of Art has room for pretty much anything you can imagine.
As to whether it's a major problem in the Sony Alpha, I'd think it's probably not. Ever shoot 1600 or 800 film? Those effects go away when you switch to 100 film, and they'll go away in a digital camera when you switch the ISO back to 100 too.
True enough. In fact, just to emphasize the artsy look of noise, one can ADD noise in PS where you did not have it in the first place. And don't forget Pointilism that looks like noise that was painted in.
Thanks, that helps a lot.