Let's sum it up based on all the posts as well as my suggestions:
1. use a flash
2. use a fast lens
3. use a camera with good noise handling
4. use noise reduction during post processing
5. use antishake body / lens
6. use tripod or improvised support
7. learn to stabilise your hands
9. switch on more lights at the subject
10. ask the subject don't move
11. convert pictures to black & white
12. learn to accept noise
- snapped from far.. accidentally blasted the ISO to 3200
- at ISO1600
- closer up a bit at ISO100 - which I find the color is much better than higher ISO setting.. what do you all think?
From these "play-around" without using tripod, I came to appreciate low ISO = less noise, while higher ISO setting = absorb more light but make it look noise.. - correct me if I'm wrongly interpret.
As a principle, I die-die try not to set at ISO3200 to avoid the "noise" but if lighting is so bad I do compromise at times
At very high iso, the color will become less vibrant, not to mention softness which you have already experienced. It is normal across all cameras except that larger sensors will experience loss at a higher number.
Foveon fares more badly at higher iso from loss of color than Bayer.