Sensors Better With Time?


When I bought my Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd, I was shocked to see a lot of noise in the shadow areas of photographs shot at ISO 200. Surprisingly, now that I have taken nearly 1800 pictures, the noise is minimal even at ISO 800. How is this possible? Are digital sensors like automobiles? Do they give optimum results after they have been used for some time?
K R Ramakrishnan, Madurai

Digital sensors neither improve with time, nor do they need a lot of usage for best results. However, the variation in the noise performance you see could be due to any of the following factors:

Exposure: If your image has been underexposed and if there are a lot of shadow areas in your photograph, then the noise will be very prominent.

Noise Reduction settings: The noise reduction function may have been switched off when you first bought the camera. This will usually help you get cleaner images, but with a slight loss of detail.

Compression settings: Your camera may have been set to the maximum (Basic) compression settings. While this results in smaller file sizes, it also increases the number of compression artifacts in your image, which may look like noise.

Camera modes: Certain shooting modes may lend more noise to your images, due to varying amounts of noise reduction applied by the camera. For example, the EXR mode in recent Fujifilm cameras and the High ISO scene mode in most compact cameras automatically increase the noise reduction applied within the camera. If you keep the above factors in mind, your camera can give you the best possible noise performance in every shooting situation.

Tags: Question of the Day, Noise Reduction, exposure, compression, fulifilm, digital sensors, camera modes