In what sort of photographs does the noise least detract from the image?

(The noise is that resulting from use of high ISO settings.)

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    What kind of noise? For example, chromatic noise practically disappears if one converts an image to monochrome. Luminance noise, on the other hand, is more pronounced in monochrome than in color. – Michael C Oct 7 '14 at 2:14
  • @MichaelClark Indeed : on many good night or indoors (~1/100s shutter speeds, not long-exposed or blurred, thus noisy) photos, converting to B&W yielded a very good result, especially since the luminance noise pattern of my camera is rather nice - looks like film grain somehow. – FredP Oct 7 '14 at 14:47
  • Try RawTherapee's IGV and LMME demosaicing algorithms- they're designed for noisy images, and in my testing, I did find their noise patterns nicer when applied to noisy images. – JenSCDC Oct 7 '14 at 14:57

I'd say highly detailed because a) noise in low detail areas stands out, and b) where there's detail, noise can actually make an image appear sharper. This only applies if the size of the detail is larger enough compared to the size of the noise pattern.

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  • Or noise can loose the fine details... it depends on the camera/sensor/electronics/algorithm (some have a "nice" noise pattern, some don't), the size of the details (if they're the same as the noise pattern). Also post-processing (noise-reduction VS sharpening) will have its influence. – FredP Oct 7 '14 at 14:42
  • Agreed. However, RawTherapee offers two demosaicing algorithms designed for noisy images which have much "nicer" noise patterns than anything I've compared them to. Nonetheless, I'm going to edit my answer vis-a-vis detail size vs noise pattern size. – JenSCDC Oct 7 '14 at 14:50

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