> What kind of radius are you talking here and are you using that radius only when you're dealing with noise?
It depends on the type of image, but generally speaking I'll go lower with noise than without it. If there's a lot of fine detail, lower is generally better. As an example one image I just pulled up has ISO 4000 (D3) and radius is 0.7, detail is 42, masking is 53 and amount of sharpening is 90! But luminance NR is 47 (again, remember that this is a D3, the D300s will probably be a bit higher), and detail is 90.
On the other hand, here's another file:
I had to do a lot of work on this one (10 min in LR4) as the capture wasn't very good. The sharpening/noise parameters here are:
Amount: 72 Radius: 0.7 Detail: 48 Masking: 73
Luminance: 54 Detail: 40 Contrast: 0
And it is still a little on the noisy side. However, this is a pretty bad case, as the original capture is underexposed by two thirds of a stop. Correcting that caused quite a bit noise to be more visible, and this was not a great situation to begin with, as it was shot on a D100, with the 55-200VR - at ISO 1600. Slow lens, noisy camera, at maximum rated ISO, and underexposed. A recipe for noise. Nonetheless, I can make a reasonable 8x10 or 11x14 print from this file - I don't think it'll go any further than that. But not bad for a ten minute investment on a pretty bad situation. Looking at it here, I doubt many folks would have guessed the original conditions.
I should add that I choose the parameters mostly visually. I generally know that I can go a fair amount on some of these, so I just click up the sharpening, then do option-slider on radius, detail and especially masking. Tip: go back to option-masking after you do the luminance or radius adjustments, because the display shows very graphically how much noise is present.
Here's what might be possible:
This one won't make a 16x20 either, even though there are more pixels. Sharpening is 94, radius 0.5, detail 32, masking 71, luminance 69 (!), detail 40. I left the color NR alone as there really isn't much color noise here. Yes, it's from a D3, but it was shot hand-held at 1/20th at ISO 25600 (Hi-2)! I rather think that some other folks could do better on this one, but given the original circumstances, again this one looks reasonable. Attachment#1 (jpg file) Attachment#2 (jpg file)
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!