By a proper arrangement of a digital holography setup, that combines off-axis geometry with phase-shifting recording conditions, it is possible to reach the theoretical shot noise limit, in real-time experiments. We studied this limit, and we show that it corresponds to 1 photo-electron per pixel within the whole frame sequence that is used to reconstruct the holographic image. We also show that Monte Carlo noise synthesis onto holograms measured at high illumination levels enables accurate representation of the experimental holograms measured at very weak illumination levels. An experimental validation of these results is done.
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