Moon over Toyosu and the Canon PowerShot S95

There was a lovely moon rise over Tokyo this evening and, usually, when that is the case, I drag out the beast and take shots like this; but, as I’ve got a cold and am feeling rather under the weather, I thought I’d test my little PowerShot S95 for a shot of the moon and the city.

As much as I love the little S95 for its f/2.0, its full manual functionality, and its RAW file option, point-and-shoots always disappoint for night shots and there’s one main reason: NOISE.

Before I go any further, I should add that there are many situations when I absolutely love noise in a shot (usually black and white and usually for added atmosphere), but, when shooting “standard” shots (like the one below), I have much less tolerance.

The shot below is ISO 1600 f/4 with no processing other than the RAW to jpg conversion. In this smaller size, the noise is not so noticeable; but, if you click on the image for the larger version, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

the noisy version

Of course, the easy solution is to just run the image through some noise reduction software. However, I assume that the majority of people who use point-and-shoots as their main camera would not own dedicated noise reduction software – it’s only an “easy solution” if you have the tools. Below is the same photo after running it through Imagenomic’s Noiseware Photoshop plugin (just the standard “night scene” setting).

the de-noised version

If you’re just sharing your photos digitally (Facebook, etc.) the noise is not such a problem, but, for me, because I’m used to using a DSLR with much better noise control, the noise always disappoints. I’m not giving up on the PowerShot S95 though: I really love it and I’m sure I can find some sweet spot in the settings that will make this less of an issue. It’s great to always have a small camera in my bag, night or day. I was walking over the Kachidoki bridge the other night and, remembering it was in my bag, stopped to take this shot:

Night fishing on the Sumida River


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  • Adonica

    Amazing stuff girl!  Noise or not.  I’ll send an email soon x  

    • Hey Adonica,

      Great to hear from you! Yes, let’s catch up via email.

  • somehow the third picture made me a bit claustrophobic though – a feeling that I often get here in Tokyo

    • I definitely understand the occasional claustrophobic feeling amidst the urban density, but interesting that a water shot evokes that…

      (don’t worry: not psychoanalyzing!) 🙂

  • Abdulla Al Dabbagh


    Firstly i love your images, secondly i am also always disappointed with the noise in my s95 pictures. have you found the secret recipe yet? 

    • Hi Abdulla,

      Thanks for the visit and the comment about my images – it’s much appreciated.

      I think it’s tough to get around the noise in the s95 night shots as you are shooting unless you go manual and set it to a low ISO and use a tripod. The easier solution might be an investment in some dedicated noise reduction software (such as Imagenomics, which I link out to above). I had NR software on hand anyway (before buying the s95), so it doesn’t phase me too much (but I definitely understand the desire to be able to control it or limit it).

  • Awesome shots !!

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