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Lots of color noise on indoor portraits

edited October 2014 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum

I am getting a lot of noise when shooting indoor portraits with my D5100. Not sure why as I am shooting using an umbrella with 500w daylight balanced constant light quite close to my subjects. I am also quite close to the subjects. I am not using any Speedlight or flash. I am trying to keep the ISO as low as I can at 800, so I'm not sure why there's SO MUCH noise. It is really a lot! I only have a kit lens, but I open it up as much as I can. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks so much for your help.


  • Best to upload a picture somewhere and share the link here so we can see.

    ISO 800 isn’t exactly low, but image noise shouldn’t be a problem. Are you seeing image noise only when zoomed in to 100%? If so, that’s quite normal.

    This may be silly, but is the front element of your lens clean?
  • edited October 2014
    Thanks for such a quick reply. I can only see the noise when at 100% but it is a lot, and when I try to reduce it in lightroom it comes out all smudged. I will post some photos in the evening.

    I think the front is clean, but maybe I should pay more attention to it! I must admit I am only wiping it with cloth and have not cleaned it properly yet.

    Thanks so much.
  • edited October 2014
    I don't know how these models differ, but get the EXIF info on the shot if you have auto ISO on. In the D3200 auto ISO can push ISO very high without telling you.
  • edited October 2014
    Thanks bruto - I have checked and the ISO was 400-800 depending on the shot. I was trying different ISO to see if the noise will change. Luckily the models are good friends of mine and they let me experiment.
    The photos were taken in a very small lounge lounge with just one umbrella.
    Here are 2 examples: examples

    details are: 1/160 sec f/5.6 24mm ISO400 (family)
    details are: 1/60 sec f/4.5 30mm ISO800 (kids)

    Nikon D5100 kit lens umbrella used with 500kw day balanced lights.
  • edited October 2014
    Hard to tell of course in this form, but they look pretty decent as shown, and well lit. One thing I would check is the level of JPG compression, as it's hard to distinguish sometimes between noise and compression artifacts. These can vary a little even in similar compressions done by different programs.
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