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You'd probably do better if you started a thread with a title like "Taming Noise In EOS 20D" or some such, otherwise your question will be buried in a topic that doesn't correlate. Just a suggestion in case you don't get some responses
Just to contribute to the new general theme (maybe Dirk can change the thread title, since this is more useful) noise is best controlled by getting a proper exposure. Post exposure, filters in Photoshop and other purpose-made software can be used to minimize it. Also check
I agree with DJ. Regardless of which digital camera you use, proper exposure will aid in avoiding noise... especially in the shadow areas.
Learn to read your histogram and while doing so place the toe of the curve as far to the right as you can without clipping the lights. This assures minimal tone in the highlight areas while providing shadow detail.
The way you get noise is by trying to lift the shadow areas that are blocking up ... an effect that is tantamount to increasing the ISO rating for that area only, thus making the noise more visible in comparison to the rest of the image.
However, when you do face block-up darks (aka crushed blacks) when shooting RAW you have more recourse in fixing it without excessive noise: Drop the contrast and increase the brightness controls to lift the image rather than using the exposure controls. You may have to increase the saturation in extreme situations, but it will lessen the noise problem considerably.
There are a number of images I recently uploaded to the Canon Gallery here that employed the above technique. Here's one of them from a wedding that I photographed...
As a Wildlife photographer I am more than pleased with the images produced by the 20D. Infact several other College students have purchased this camera after they have seen my results. For the money I would say without any doubt this is one of the best Digital SLRs on the market.
The attached image of the Red Grouse was obtained using 400ISO canon 100-400mm IS lens set at f5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/250th.
DJ and Marc are both right - it's very important to not under-expose, and neither do you want to clip your highlights.
Here's a shot taken with the 20D and 135mm/2.0L lens at ISO 1600 with no noise filtering at all. Sure, there is a bit of noise in the shadow areas, but compared to other digital cameras (including the Canon 10D shot at ISO 1600 I think this is more than respectable.
> I'd be glad to post all my settings plus the comparisons I did with the 20D and 10D and posted on my web page. I've used the D30 and 10D plus many Cool Pixes, and never had noise like the 20D. I do bird photography. Most of my > settings are to account for movement. I don't usually use the parameters, but in this case I activated the noise reduction setting. Many of my pics have sky, and as we know, sky has the most noise. With the 10D I usually shoot > at 1/500, ISO 100-400 (nothing higher), evaluative metering, and either a Canon 100-400L IS or Sigma 50-500 EX lenses. Post production in Photoshop 7.02, and now using the plugin dFine to remove noise. Mac G3, OS9.2. I never > had to use this plugin with the D30 or 10D. I thought I could use the same basic settings on the 20D as I did on the 10D, but maybe not.
> I use the histogram in Photoshop. No time when I'm shooting continuous mode to look at the histogram in the camera. Also, none of the attached photos came through. I do shoot RAW. I set my ISO according to the environment and > subject. Thanks for your comments. They are useful.