What causes some pictures to come out grainy and others not?
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Image grain is caused by silver particals in the film being large enough to be seen in an image, or caused by improper exposure/developement. Digital noise however is totally different as it's caused by the flow of electrons generating heat between the sensor and the memory card. Digital noise appears as a series of colored dots in groups of 4's (1-red, 1-blue, & 2-green), and it may require an upper-end image processing program to remove or reduce this effect. The noise increses as the sensitivity of the sensor increases, hence going from an ISO of 100, to 400, to 1600, etc. With each increase in the ISO the increase in digital noise also increases and can be quite visible in the shadow and white areas of an image. Another thing that can affect the digital noise is "Heat." if the camera has been sitting in the sun for any length of time, this may - in some cameras, cause an increase in digital noise. A few years back I had a EOS Canon Rebel, 6 mega pixel, that I photographed a football game at an ISO at 1600 and printed 11x14 prints with zero digital noise, so I'm guessing that cold may have a reverse effect?
Hi Mary, from what I am reading about the Kodak Z981 camera, your grainy shots may come from the camera itself, that is, in this case it may actually be a hardware issue. It sounds like its a great little camera to use, practice with and develop as a photographer, however, it may be lacking a little in quality when it comes to making the image.
Here is a quote from CNET...
" The photo quality from the Kodak EasyShare Z981 is mediocre to poor. Even at its lowest ISO settings, photos are soft, and salt-and-pepper noise is noticeable when images are viewed at 100 percent. At ISO 400, detail is pretty much gone because of noise reduction, leaving indoor photos looking mushy; using the zoom lens destroys detail even further. Basically the results look more like stills grabbed from video than photos. "
I pulled 4 of your photos into photoshop to have a look at the file info. The ones I looked at varied ISO settings from 400 (Lighthouse) to 200 (Something Old..colour version, and Deception Pass) to 64 (The Great Wheel).
When blown up, I can see pretty much everything the article in Cnet was mentioning, from the soft images to the barrel distortion. So in this case, I'd agree with Greg, generally the higher ISO you shoot at, the more noise, or 'grain' you will see, but also, the limitations on the camera itself may play a large role.
You've got a great little camera to practice with, but, if you want some clear, sharp images, you may need to step up to a camera with a larger sensor.
This may give you a bit of an understanding about sensor size and image quality...
There are a ton of used cameras on the market, if you want to save a few bucks, if and when you are in the market for a camera that may offer you better images.
Check out sites like:
to name a couple.
Good luck, happy shooting!
In my case I shoot film and always have grain but I love it. Digitally it's shooting at high ISO and during post when you add a lot of exposure or brightness to an image. The more you brighten the shadows in an image, the more noise shows up.
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