With regards to JPEG
I have now turned off NR from 12800 onwards. I find that the grains are very even if no NR is done, and lots more details are retained. This allows me to NR in a better system like Topaz Denoise or do nothing and leave the nice grain and details at discretion.
The in camera NR while good, does not add much esp after comparing to non NR shots.
I am now trying to experiment with RAW to see if the NR mileage improves significantly.
If TS did the shots on Auto ISO NR, then NR kicks in from ISO800 on low, and on 1600, 3200 they are on mid.
He did comment that now, after his own evaluations, he has found that turning off is the best option for him.
I don't understand how you come to the conclusion here on very obvious forced NR on 1600 onwards. Can you care to elaborate on the obvious NR'ed area? Frankly, I can't really see it atm. You may be mistaking the uneven dispersion of blue that is inherent on the cardboard itself. These appear everywhere on the card even from ISO80.
If you have an opinion on how a good ISO1600, 3200 photo with no NR and good detail retention looks like. Pls post them here for information and discussion.
Arm, bring it to the 50 storey SB leh..... try to shoot the CBD night view, freehand.
Actually if you ask me, need to shoot a picture with say 4 pax, group photo. For my wedding use I cannot stand the "watercolour" NR quality. The clients can stand noise, but not watercolour. It seems that 3200 already shows that watercolour quality. I think I saw some of fengwei shots, but from experience there is a diff bt 4-8 pax group photo and 1-person group photo (its hard to explain).
Basically, ditch these test shots. Go out and shoot. You can only gauge from there, there is a base ref to the real thing.
Anyway its not jpg compression, I can differentiate between that and the watercolour NR.
Check out all the lines, between the different colours, straight or cuved.
Its very difficult to explain. Like i told arm, just take a group picture, 4-8 pax is good. 20 pax is acid test and you may not be able to interprete the pix as its too much info (overload), but 4-8 is cool. 1 pax not enough features.
The impt thing is to have fun in the photography process as well, so its impt to shoot real stuff which makes it fun as well.