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5 Things Every Astrophotographer Should Know About Their Camera

What is in-camera noise reduction…and is it worth it?

Decide if in-camera noise reduction is right for you

In-camera noise reduction will differ and be available or not from one camera model or manufacturer to another. However, the principle of this is the same throughout. It takes another exposure of the same duration (a dark frame, with the shutter closed) after your normal exposure finishes, and then applies it via a difference algorithm in the camera to the image, effectively doubling the amount of time each exposure takes to complete. Blegh.

As shown in the above picture, I always leave it off. I never use it. I don’t believe it does enough good for any photo I’ve ever taken, and I can do better noise reduction in post-production anyway.

The worst part about it, at least on the 5D Mark III (and II, and other Canons), is that when it applies the dark frame to the image, even the RAW, it cannot be undone, so in the end you have less control over your final product.

Now get out there, learn your gear, and make every shoot more successful and more fun!

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About the author

Cory Schmitz

Co-founder of PhotographingSpace.com, co-owner of several telescopes and mounts, too many cameras, and not enough hard drives, Cory is an American expat living in South Africa with his wife, Tanja Schmitz.

An avid astrophotographer for timelapse, deep-space imaging, lunar, planetary, and star trail imagery, he is an all-around jack-of-most-trades for night-sky photography.

He is also an internationally published and commissioned astrophotographer, where his photos have been used in multiple online and print publications.


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  • Nice tips! CentralDS modify DSLRs to add peltier cooling. It’s not the camera manufacturer themselves, but it’s just as good as if it were! My CentralDS 60D is AMAZING, gets the sensor to -25 degrees below the ambient temperature.

  • Great tips! I might add that the point where stars are in focus changes depending on the temperature of the lens, so make sure to properly check focus every time, even if you have it marked down

  • Excellent website!!! I always enjoy reading each new article. These are great tips for budding astrophotographers. Don’t totally rule out in camera darks ;), I switched 4 years ago to letting the camera take the darks and have never went back. It’s, for me, the best way to get accurate temperature matched darks for a DSLR and solved many of the noise related problems I had been struggling with. I will concede that you lose precious clear sky time, but for me, it has been worth the extra time spent. Keep up the great work!!! It’s contributions, like this website, that has allowed this great hobby to blossom into what it is today.

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