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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR NIKON CAMERA Nikon D90/D80/D70 (Public) topic #229171
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Subject: "D90 ISO Quesion" Previous topic | Next topic
FourT6and2   US  Registered since 13th Jan 2009 Tue 03-Feb-09 08:57 PM
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"D90 ISO Quesion"



The lowest ISO on the D90 is 200. However, it also has expanded settings, down to Lo1 ( -1 EV below ISO 200). Is there a reason why Nikon didn't design the camera to go down to ISO 100 or lower, rather than having it use expanded modes? And, is there a downfall to using the camera in Lo1 vs. if it had an actual ISO 100 setting?

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas
03rd Feb 2009
1
Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
03rd Feb 2009
2
     Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion ChrisLilley
04th Feb 2009
7
          Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
04th Feb 2009
8
               Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion ChrisLilley
20th Feb 2009
16
                    Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
20th Feb 2009
17
Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
03rd Feb 2009
3
Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion FourT6and2
04th Feb 2009
4
     Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
04th Feb 2009
5
          Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion FourT6and2
04th Feb 2009
6
          Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion Aenima
19th Feb 2009
9
               Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills
19th Feb 2009
10
                    Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion Aenima
19th Feb 2009
11
                         Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion DouglasD90
19th Feb 2009
12
                         Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion Aenima
19th Feb 2009
13
                         Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion ChrisLilley
21st Feb 2009
18
                         Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
19th Feb 2009
14
                              Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion Aenima
20th Feb 2009
15
                              Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion kluthage421
23rd Feb 2009
19
                              Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion Aenima
24th Feb 2009
20
                                   Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
24th Feb 2009
21
                                        Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion Aenima
24th Feb 2009
22
                                             Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
24th Feb 2009
23
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion Aenima
24th Feb 2009
24
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
24th Feb 2009
25
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion kluthage421
25th Feb 2009
26
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
25th Feb 2009
27
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion wrdpico Silver Member
28th Feb 2009
33
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills
28th Feb 2009
34
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion wrdpico Silver Member
01st Mar 2009
36
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
28th Feb 2009
35
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion wrdpico Silver Member
01st Mar 2009
37
                                                  Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills
26th Feb 2009
32
Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion elec164 Silver Member
25th Feb 2009
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Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
25th Feb 2009
29
     Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion elec164 Silver Member
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          Reply message RE: D90 ISO Quesion bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas   US  Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007 Tue 03-Feb-09 09:40 PM
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#1. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 0



Hi Mike,

ISO 200 is the native ISO for the D90. At ISO 200 the images will show the least noise, providing the exposure is correct.
The reason has to do with the design of the sensor itself.
Using Lo 1 will result in a little more noise than there would be using ISO 200 on the D90.
In simple terms; A sensor will work best at a certian light level. When the actual ambient light level is lower or higher, the sensor uses more power resulting in the sensor generating more heat. More heat results in more noise.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Tue 03-Feb-09 10:29 PM
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#2. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 1



Marty,

ISO 200 is the native ISO for the D90.

Not true. It's probably closer to ISO 160.
So I think they chose the next highest "round" number as the lowest numbered ISO value.

At ISO 200 the images will show the least noise, providing the exposure is correct.

Not true. The lowest noise is always at the lowest ISO or "Lo" value.
(And Exposing To The Right (ETTR))

What is true is that below ISO 200 you don't get the expected increase in highlights so you need to pay attention to your histogram (but you do that anyway, don't you )

That's why the curves aren't straight at the "Lo" ISOs for cameras on the Photographic Dynamic Range Chart


Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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ChrisLilley   UK  Registered since 14th Jul 2007 Wed 04-Feb-09 05:38 PM
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#7. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 2




>At ISO 200 the images will show the least
>noise, providing the exposure is correct.

>
>Not true. The lowest noise is always at the lowest ISO
>or "Lo" value. (And Exposing To The Right (ETTR))


Having just gone through the exercise of Noise Ninja profiling my D90 at all ISO settings (including all the Lo and Hi ones as well ass all the numbered ISO values) I can confirm what Bill states - the noise is lower at the Lo settings than at ISO 200.


>What is true is that below ISO 200 you don't get the expected
>increase in highlights so you need to pay attention to your
>histogram (but you do that anyway, don't you )
>
>That's why the curves aren't straight at the "Lo"
>ISOs for cameras on the
>Photographic
>Dynamic Range> Chart

Another downside is that Nikon does not put a numerical ISO value in the exif for Lo 1, Lo 0.7, Lo 0.3. So things that read it (Flickr, Noise Ninja spring to mind) don't understand what ISO was used.

--
Camera <ˈkæ mə rə>, n. Device for taking pictures in bright light.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nantonos

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Wed 04-Feb-09 09:17 PM
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#8. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 7



Chris,

Nikon does not put a numerical ISO value in the exif

Technically, they do put it in the MakerNote, but that is not generally useful!


Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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ChrisLilley   UK  Registered since 14th Jul 2007 Fri 20-Feb-09 12:43 PM
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#16. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 8



Yes, I agree its in the exif, buried in the MakerNote. I was imprecise. For Lo 1.0, 0.7 and 0.3, Nikon does not write the ISO value *in the ISO field* in the exif. So tools which look for this information to be in the correct place will not find it.

--
Camera <ˈkæ mə rə>, n. Device for taking pictures in bright light.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nantonos

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Fri 20-Feb-09 09:25 PM
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#17. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 16



Chris,

For Lo 1.0, 0.7 and 0.3 ...

To be really precise... the Hi values are also not stored in the Exif tag; only the "numbered" ISO values.

Regards,
Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Tue 03-Feb-09 10:34 PM
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#3. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 0



Mike,

Is there a reason why Nikon didn't design the camera to go down to ISO 100 or lower

The lowest ISO (the "native" ISO) is a function of the sensor.
Technically, the limiting factor is the Full Well Capacity (FWC) of the photosite (a/k/a pixel).
In other words, there is a maximum amount of light (photons), creating electrons, that can be held at the photosite before it is full.
(Just like your bathroom scale can only weight up to a certain maximum amount.)
The sensor in the D90 is about as good as it gets for that class of camera at this time; enjoy!


Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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FourT6and2   US  Registered since 13th Jan 2009 Wed 04-Feb-09 01:22 AM
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#4. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 3



Thanks for the help, everyone! I take a lot of long exposure shots at sunset, so I need to use the lowest ISO possible to reduce noise. I've always used ISO 200 on my D90. So, what I gather is that using Lo 1, for all intents and purposes, is just like ISO 100?

What's the verdict on increased noise using expanded Lo?

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Wed 04-Feb-09 01:56 AM
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#5. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 4



Mike,

using Lo 1, for all intents and purposes, is just like ISO 100?

Your exposure will be exactly for ISO 100.
You will get a little less "headroom" than you would expect, but at least as much as at ISO 200.

What's the verdict on increased noise using expanded Lo?

There is less noise, not more.


Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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FourT6and2   US  Registered since 13th Jan 2009 Wed 04-Feb-09 02:17 AM
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#6. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 5
Wed 04-Feb-09 02:19 AM by FourT6and2


Sweetness.

Thanks!

If anyone is interested to see what I've done with the D90 so far have a look at my gallery, please: www.haftelm.deviantart.com

Thanks again!

  

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Aenima   US  Registered since 11th Feb 2009 Thu 19-Feb-09 05:41 PM
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#9. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 5



I was told that at Lo1, the sensor will overexposre the image and cut it back in processing. Therefore, noise will be lower, but you will have a tendancey to blow hightlights and there will be less contrast and dynamic range than at ISO 200.

Can anyone confirm?

  

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills   Paignton, UK  Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003 Thu 19-Feb-09 05:57 PM
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#10. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 9



>Therefore, noise will be lower, but you will have a
>tendancey to blow hightlights and there will be less
>contrast and dynamic range than at ISO 200.
>
>Can anyone confirm?

Not really. As Bill has been saying, you do need to watch the highlights when using Lo-1, but this setting has greater DR and less noise than ISO 200.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

  

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Aenima   US  Registered since 11th Feb 2009 Thu 19-Feb-09 06:26 PM
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#11. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 10



At this point I don't know who to believe.

Nikon's manual says this:

LO 0.3–LO 1
The settings through correspond to ISO sensitivities 0.3–1 EV below ISO 200 (ISO 160–100 equivalent). Use for larger apertures when lighting is bright. Contrast is slightly lower than normal; in most cases, ISO sensitivities of ISO 200 or above are recommended.

The test here on Nikonians.org showed that the D90 has a higher dynamic range at Lo1 than at ISO200 and less noise (which is expected).

I was also told that,

"it makes an overexposed shot then pulls down the
exposure in processing so I guess it would be more likely to blow
highlights or at least have a bit less dynamic range. Don't use it
unless you need a slow shutter speed, fast lens in bright light with
fill flash (to match sync speed) or something specific like that.

The usual caveat in situations like this is that Lo1 doesn't have enough headroom in the sensor to warrant it as completely implemented...if you do use , the highlights will blow out more readily than if you shoot at ISO 200."

Also:

"In Nikon cameras the LO settings (-0.3 ... -0.7 and -1.0 EV) do not change the sensor sensitivity at all. What happens is that the camera stays at ISO 200 and overexposes the shot. After capture the digital image data is scaled back. You can achieve exactly the same end result by staying at ISO 200 and overexposing yourself and pulling back the exposure in Capture NX2 afterwards.

So, overexposing by 0.3 or 0.7 or 1.0 stops naturally means a bit less apparent noise, because you adjust the digital data afterwards. This is in a way the old ETTR principle with a deliberate overexposure/underdevelopment phase added in.

What you gain in noise you lose (and then some) in highlights and dynamic range. "

So, I'm getting different explinations from different sources. Or I am misinterpreting that information.

I could go out and do my own testing. But, I really don't have the time or energy to do that. I really just want to understand the differences in image quality between using ISO 200 and Lo1 on my D90, for shooting long exposure landscapes and waterscapes.



  

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DouglasD90   US  Registered since 10th Feb 2009 Thu 19-Feb-09 06:53 PM
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#12. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 11



Considering the capability of the D90, the difference is probably minimal at best. You probably wouldnt even be able to tell the difference between a L1 and 200 image.

_____________________________________
Photographers always have their shot together.

  

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Aenima   US  Registered since 11th Feb 2009 Thu 19-Feb-09 07:08 PM
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#13. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 12



That's probably true for dynamic range. For noise, I can tell a difference.

  

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ChrisLilley   UK  Registered since 14th Jul 2007 Sat 21-Feb-09 01:36 AM
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#18. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 12



>Considering the capability of the D90, the difference is
>probably minimal at best. You probably wouldnt even be able to
>tell the difference between a L1 and 200 image.

Well, lets see. Here are two images, one at ISO 200 and one at Lo-1.0. They wre taken within a minute of each other, and the subject weas chosen to stress the highlights.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3252/3282169559_499665bd8c_b.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3382/3282170695_3178e92c1f_b.jpg

--
Camera <ˈkæ mə rə>, n. Device for taking pictures in bright light.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nantonos

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Thu 19-Feb-09 10:11 PM
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#14. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 11



John,

So, I'm getting different explanations from different sources.

The short answer is, that on this subject; you can disregard anything that conflicts with what I have said (really! )

The lower the ISO setting, the lower the noise, the higher the dynamic range; always.
Below the lowest numbered ISO, the raw data is shifted toward the right; so there is an increased possibility of clipping highlights.


Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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Aenima   US  Registered since 11th Feb 2009 Fri 20-Feb-09 12:05 AM
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#15. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 14



hahah

Thanks.

  

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kluthage421   US  Registered since 25th Jan 2009 Mon 23-Feb-09 04:25 AM
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#19. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 15
Tue 24-Feb-09 11:46 PM by kluthage421


I have been experimenting with the lowest ISO possible and I must say I try to shoot at ISO 100 eq. when I can. I was wondering the same thing and the results from a recent trip to Carmel, CA are pleasing. ISO 200 has low noise on this wonderful camera anyway but, I will take as much noise reduction as I can get. Here is an ISO -1.0 ev (100 equiv.) shot straight from the camera.


Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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Aenima   US  Registered since 11th Feb 2009 Tue 24-Feb-09 01:53 PM
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#20. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 14



Someone over at NikonCafe had this to say:

"The sensor will stay at ISO 200 even with Lo -1.0 (ISO 100 equiv.) but the camera overexposes the image and then in digital domain reduces the exposure of the file by 1 stop.

You can do the exactly same thing by hand:
* use ISO 200 with +1 EV
* reduce exposure in Capture NX by 1 EV

This is same thing as shooting with Lo -1.0. The analog sensor gain or sensitivity does not change, it is already at the minimum at the native ISO.

Why less noise? Because of 1 stop hotter exposure. The risk is losing one stop of dynamic range in the highlights because of clipping.

Bill Claff's "measurements" in Nikonians regarding "photographic" dynamic range are questionable at best and he explicitly mentions, that his "measurements" are not scientific measurements but "photographic" deductions from the viewed image.

Common sense from a scientist's point of view says that clipping the highlights by 1 stop reduces dynamic range, although the "photographic" result will compensate this by gaining cleaner shadows."

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Tue 24-Feb-09 03:10 PM
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#21. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 20



John,

Your statements are incorrect.

Gain does change below ISO 200.

My measurements are statistical based on the raw data.
Your statement that they are "questionable" is insulting.

Lo. 1.0 is measurably better than ISO 200; period.

Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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Aenima   US  Registered since 11th Feb 2009 Tue 24-Feb-09 05:19 PM
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#22. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 21
Tue 24-Feb-09 05:22 PM by Aenima


Excuse me,

But those weren't MY statements. I said, "someone over at Nikoncafe had this to say," then I quoted those comments. Please take the time to read more carefully.

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Tue 24-Feb-09 06:47 PM
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#23. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 22



John,

OK. Sorry.
But what is the point of quoting something with which you don't agree?
(And is untrue.)

Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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Aenima   US  Registered since 11th Feb 2009 Tue 24-Feb-09 07:02 PM
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#24. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 23



I neither agree nor disagree to those statements. I am simply getting conflicting information from different sources and I'd like to know what each side has to say about it rather than blindly following other people.

I'm not trying to start a "flame war" or anything. But, you say red, another says blue. I'd like to know which it is without having to take sides.

Honestly, I should probably just call Nikon or contact someone in the company who may know for sure.

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Tue 24-Feb-09 09:41 PM
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#25. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 24



John,

you say red, another says blue

I know it is "red" they think it is "blue".

Honestly, I should probably just call Nikon or contact someone in the company who may know for sure.

OK. But honesty, many at Nikon know less about this than I do.
This is measurable. It is not a subject for opinion.

Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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kluthage421   US  Registered since 25th Jan 2009 Wed 25-Feb-09 03:16 AM
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#26. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 25
Wed 25-Feb-09 03:16 AM by kluthage421


This chart is rather logical...what do you all think? "ISO 100" looks nice.

http://home.comcast.net/~nikond70/Investigations/Photographic_Dynamic_Range.jpg

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Wed 25-Feb-09 03:42 AM
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#27. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 26



Bryan,

Yes, that is the chart.
As you can see only the D300 and D90 show "real" improvement in the Lo range.
But for sure, dynamic range is not lost going to lower ISOs; ever.
(Any slight apparent loss for some models is simply due to the fact that values are being displayed as if they have more precision than they really do!
Those values are probably "flat".)

BTW, if you run Windows (or perhaps Mono on Linux) you can use NefUtil at my site to measure Photographic Dynamic Range (PDR) and other values yourself.
(Some switches are undocumented. Sorry, I'm behind on that!)


Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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wrdpico Silver Member  US  Nikonian since 21st Jan 2009 Sat 28-Feb-09 08:38 PM
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#33. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 26



Bryan,

Thanks for the chart. It has a lot of info. Two questions - is this data for RAW capture, and does ‘@SNR 20' mean, at 20:1 signal to noise ratios? Following on the last question - how does this constant apply to the chart?

Here's something else that bewilders me. How much wood, could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Even this doesn’t bug me as much as my ignorance on applying your fine graphic. It’s like termites in the wood to be chucked. How much additional wood could a woodchuck chuck, if termites lightened the load?

We can deal with ‘wood to tunnel’ ratios, and their impact on quantum chucking later. I'll be content with your reply on RAW capture, and the ‘@SNR 20' metric. Where was this graph found? Seriously, it’s a fine piece of work. I'd like to know its context.

wrdpico

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills   Paignton, UK  Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003 Sat 28-Feb-09 08:50 PM
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#34. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 33



>Where was this graph found? Seriously, it’s a fine piece of work.
>I'd like to know its context.

The chart is Bill's (bclaff) work, based on analysis of actual NEF files sent to him by members. Bill posted a link to the chart way back in reply #2 of this thread

Brian
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wrdpico Silver Member  US  Nikonian since 21st Jan 2009 Sun 01-Mar-09 08:51 PM
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#36. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 34



Ddiolch 'ch Brian!

wrdpico

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Sat 28-Feb-09 08:59 PM
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#35. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 33



Michael,

See "Photographic Dynamic Range" at my site under "Investigations".
A link to the chart is also there.

Yes, '@SNR 20' means a 20:1 Signal to Noise Ratio when corrected for the sensor's Circle Of Confusion (COC).
20 is the International Standard Organization value for a "good" quality image.


Bill

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wrdpico Silver Member  US  Nikonian since 21st Jan 2009 Sun 01-Mar-09 09:41 PM
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#37. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 35



Bill,

I've just seen your site. Looks like I've a long, blue water adventure ahead. Tell my creditors I’ll pay up (if I return). No matter - outward bound!

wrdpico

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills   Paignton, UK  Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003 Thu 26-Feb-09 09:42 AM
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#32. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 24



>Honestly, I should probably just call Nikon or contact someone
>in the company who may know for sure.

It is sometimes difficult to know who to trust on the Web, but you can take it from me that what Bill says in this thread is correct.

Brian
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elec164 Silver Member  US  Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009 Wed 25-Feb-09 05:39 AM
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#28. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 0



I would like to chime in here, not to create an epiphany for anyone but to hopefully expand my own knowledge and correct any misconceptions I may have.

For film the ISO was calculated by analyzing density versus log of exposure. With digital the sensor sensitivity is calculated by looking at the output level of the sensor over a range of exposure levels close to the saturation point, and the amount of light falling on it at that point tells you the ISO level. And that is the base ISO as reported by manufactures. Well sort of in that the reported ISO is not always the actual ISO on all cameras.

Now by manufacture design film as well as the sensor has a set unchangeable sensitivity. But the difference being you can use different film, you’re stuck with one sensor. A way around this is that you can increase the gain on the single from the sensor effectively increasing sensitivity but not really. By decreasing the amount of light falling on the sensor you are decreasing the single and then by amplifying the single you bring it back to a level it would have been at the expense of noise and dynamic range. But that allows for the increase of ISO, but if you cannot change the sensitivity of the sensor then how do you artificially create a low ISO. Would you de-amplify or would you bit shift.

That might explain why manufactures such as Nikon use Hi1, 2, and 3 or Lo1, 2, 3. Well it appears that there is more then one way of effectively increasing sensitivity. One way is through analog amplification and the other through bit shifting. So perhaps Nikon reserves the actual ISO numbers for the analog amplification and then uses the Hi and Lo designation for the bit shift.

DXO Mark on their site list ISO 145 as the measured ISO for both the ISO 200 and Lo1 setting for the D90. And DPReview lists a decrease in dynamic range of .7EV between ISO 200 and Lo1 (you gain slightly on the low end but loose on the high end). So to me this indicates they may have used bit shifting and not de-amplification.

Pete

Pete

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Wed 25-Feb-09 11:56 AM
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#29. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 28



Pete,

So perhaps Nikon reserves the actual ISO numbers for the analog amplification and then uses the Hi and Lo designation for the bit shift.

There's no need to speculate, I (and others) have measured gain (analog amplification).
"Bit shifting" is used for Hi but Lo is NOT "bit shifted" it is done with lower bit non-linear amplification.


Bill

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elec164 Silver Member  US  Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009 Wed 25-Feb-09 02:55 PM
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#30. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 29
Wed 25-Feb-09 02:56 PM by elec164


>Pete,
>
There's no need to speculate, I (and others) have
>measured gain (analog amplification).
>"Bit shifting" is used for Hi but Lo is NOT
>"bit shifted" it is done with lower bit non-linear
>amplification.
>
>
>Bill
>

Ah, I see. Do you also find the .7 loss in dynamic range with the Lo setting that DPReview reports?

Pete

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bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Thu 26-Feb-09 02:56 AM
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#31. "RE: D90 ISO Quesion"
In response to Reply # 30



Peter,

I find no loss of DR as ISO drops.
Except for the D300 and D90 I have measured little or no increased DR below Lo .3; but never a drop.

FWIW, AFAIK, dpreview uses JPGs which I find totally unsuitable for such measurements.


Bill

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