Olympus E-420 Noise Filter comparison
The Olympus E-420 offers four different noise filter settings, Off, Low, Standard and High, so we shot the same scene with each setting to compare their differences. As seen with previous Olympus DSLRs, there's quite a difference between the settings.
With the Noise Filter switched off in the first column, there's unsurprisingly the greatest noise visible, but equally there's little or no smearing of detail due to aggressive noise reduction. With the Noise Filter set to Low, there's a reduction in visible noise, but equally an increase in softness. At the Standard setting, noise has virtually been eliminated, but at the cost of greater smearing. Then with the Noise Filter set to High, there's a noticeable compromise in detail, albeit without any of those pesky noise speckles.
Like the other Olympus bodies before it, we'd say the milder Noise Filters are actually preferable to the Standard setting at high sensitivities. There's certainly more fine detail visible even through the noise speckles, and remember you can always apply more sophisticated noise reduction to your exact tastes using software later. The important thing is there's retrievable detail if you're willing to turn down the Noise Filter. So if you're willing to post-process or aren't bothered by noise speckles, then you may wish to try switching the Noise Filter off altogether. But if you'd like a good compromise in-camera, then the Low setting will hang onto more detail than the default Standard setting.
Now to see more real-life examples across its sensitivity range, including indoor shots under low light, check out our Olympus E-420 Gallery.