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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR NIKON CAMERA Nikon D60/D50/D40 (Public) topic #32272
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Subject: "ISO speed" Previous topic | Next topic
zukester   Southbury, US  Registered since 17th Jul 2008 Mon 15-Sep-08 12:41 PM
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"ISO speed"



Hi All:

I have read in Photo magazine reviews on all sorts of Nikon DSLRs about ISO speed not affecting graininess. Well, this weekend I went late afternoon hiking, found an old sugar mill and other various objects as still subjects. Unfortunately, from some other shot I was testing I had it on ISO 1600 and forgot to change it back before the day's shooting.

In the view finder on the D40X it all looked fine, but that is tiny, and so I moved on and took more pics. In PS, the moment it got to full screen size it was just a pile of grain! Now from reading the reviews on many of these cameras, they say things like, "And at ISO 1600, no graininess and still sharp as ever!" I have seen this sort of review many times, but it baffles me.

What on earth are they referring to? Something I am not doing right?

Even long exposures on ISO 100 get graininess..or is it something I am doing wrong? I know in film this was always the case but these reviewers saying that it is not grainy and still sharp in digital like somehow this was all overcome...makes me wonder.

Here is just one of the pics.

http://i357.photobucket.com/albums/oo19/zukester100/still1.jpg

BTW I did the ziploc bag thingie.....works great!

Thanks,
Zukester

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: ISO speed bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
15th Sep 2008
1
Reply message RE: ISO speed zukester
17th Sep 2008
11
     Reply message RE: ISO speed bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources
17th Sep 2008
12
Reply message RE: ISO speed mtpenmaker
15th Sep 2008
2
Reply message RE: ISO speed greshaki
16th Sep 2008
3
     Reply message RE: ISO speed cmolieri
17th Sep 2008
9
          Reply message RE: ISO speed blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
18th Sep 2008
13
               Reply message RE: ISO speed cmolieri
19th Sep 2008
14
Reply message RE: ISO speed JDMils
16th Sep 2008
4
Reply message RE: ISO speed blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
16th Sep 2008
7
     Reply message RE: ISO speed silentShinobi
19th Sep 2008
15
          Reply message RE: ISO speed ruca2k8
19th Sep 2008
16
               Reply message RE: ISO speed MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography
19th Sep 2008
17
                    Reply message RE: ISO speed ruca2k8
21st Sep 2008
18
Reply message RE: ISO speed MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography
16th Sep 2008
5
Reply message RE: ISO speed blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
16th Sep 2008
8
Reply message RE: ISO speed blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
16th Sep 2008
6
Reply message RE: ISO speed VeeDubb
17th Sep 2008
10

bclaff Silver Member Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources   Vancouver (WA USA not Canada), US  Nikonian since 26th Oct 2004 Mon 15-Sep-08 01:03 PM
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#1. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 0



Bob,

Your observation is correct.
For any given camera model, the higher the ISO, the more likely you will see noise.
This isn't true between models. For example, for some models (eg. D3) ISO 800 will be better than for other models (eg. D200).
How apparent noise is also depends on print size and viewing distance.

But basically, use the lowest ISO that the situation allows.


Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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zukester   Southbury, US  Registered since 17th Jul 2008 Wed 17-Sep-08 02:47 PM
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#11. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 1



I wanted to thank everyone for their input. I plan on setting the ISO to either 200, 400 or auto from now on when I think shade or lack of sunlight.

I also tried to download the software for removing graininess but the link failed, so I will do a search or try again later.

I went out the other night and did very, very long exposures. They came out great and look like daytime shots! I even caught a satellite passing by. So I took my friends advice and set the camera on a tripod on my deck, set it to bulb with the remote shutter setting, clicked and walked away for ten minutes and looked at the shots. It then takes another ten minutes to process it! Uses up batteries but makes for interesting shots. I plan on doing more, even longer exposures into the deep woods behind the house at pitch black night towards the I-84 freeway and see what it captures. After the leaves drop it should show long trails of vehicle lights. It is artisitic, interesting and stretches the camera, but makes good shots.

Thanks Again, this forum is great.

Bob Z.

  

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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 17-Sep-08 05:46 PM
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#12. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 11



Bob,

Generally you just want ISO 100.

If you choose ISO Auto (which I use a lot), it always starts with your current ISO and only changes it if necessary.
So, if you use ISO Auto, generally you will be setting ISO to 100.

There are good reasons to explicitly set a higher ISO, including flash usage; but you always want to use the lowest appropriate ISO.


Bill

Visit me at My site

  

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mtpenmaker   Billings, US  Registered since 23rd Aug 2007 Mon 15-Sep-08 04:00 PM
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#2. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 0



You might want to consider getting Noise Ninja.

Gerry Rhoades
Montana Pens
www.montanapens.com
D200 on the way, D40, F4, FM2n, N90s and not enough glass

  

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greshaki   Perth, AU  Registered since 09th Oct 2007 Tue 16-Sep-08 02:35 AM
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#3. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 2



Hi, that shot you posted shows a normal and, I think, acceptable level of noise for our cameras at iso 1600. Better high iso performance than that is expensive, and in the realm of the D300 and soon to be released D90. For walking around shooting handheld, try using A, S or M modes with ‘auto iso’ selected in the menu (set base ISO to lowest). Camera will only increase iso if needed, and actually uses a lot more increments than you can select yourself (eg ‘iso 760’)

D40X
Nikon 18-70mm and 50mm f/1.8
http://www.flickr.com/photos/manypixors

  

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cmolieri   Sun Lakes, AZ, US  Basic Member Wed 17-Sep-08 05:49 AM
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#9. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 3



>For walking around shooting handheld, try using A, S or M modes with >‘auto iso’ selected in the menu (set base ISO to lowest). Camera will >only increase iso if needed, and actually uses a lot more increments >than you can select yourself (eg ‘iso 760’)


If I may ask for a clarification here...
Am I understanding this correctly? I set my ISO to the lowest setting(ISO 200 in the case of the D50) and then turn auto ISO on. Once I do this the camera will use an ISO of 200 unless conditions are such that my selected aperture and shutter speed require it to be adjusted?

cmolieri

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas   Richmond, US  Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004 Thu 18-Sep-08 11:07 AM
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#13. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 9



Yes, in principle. Auto ISO works somewhat differently on the various bodies. It's unusable on my D2h, but works pretty well on my D2x. I don't know where the D50 is on the evolutionary time line for this feature.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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cmolieri   Sun Lakes, AZ, US  Basic Member Fri 19-Sep-08 05:14 AM
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#14. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 13



Thank you. I guess I will just leave it set that way for a while and see what happens.

cmolieri

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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JDMils   AU  Registered since 23rd Jul 2008 Tue 16-Sep-08 03:54 AM
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#4. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 0



zukester, for daylight shots I have the camera set to ISO100. As it gets darker, I change the ISO to 200 and rarely goto 400. As you probably know, the higher the ISO number the more receptive the sensor is to light which also gives more noise.

I have seen some spectacular nights shots shot using ISO200. How? The photographer uses a faster lens, like an F2, F1.8 or F1.4 (slowing the shutter speed helps but not with moving objects). These lens will allow more lights to reach the sensor and thus the use of higher ISO values. Now, if you use these lens with ISO1600, you will still get noise but the overall picture quality will be good.


|
+-- JDMils
|
+-- D60
+-- AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
+-- AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G
+-- HOYA 52mm Clear PRO1 DIGITAL Protector Filter DMC LPF (on the 18-55)
+-- HOYA 58mm Clear SKYLIGHT Protector Filter (on the 50)
|
+-- Navman forums at http://forums@jdmils.com
|

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas   Richmond, US  Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004 Tue 16-Sep-08 02:03 PM
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#7. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 4



> faster lens ... more light... higher ISO values

No, lower ISO values. For a given exposure, an f/5.6 lens means ISO 800 while the same exposure and shutter speed with an f/2.8 lens means ISO 200.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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silentShinobi   US  Registered since 09th May 2008 Fri 19-Sep-08 10:45 AM
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#15. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 7



>> faster lens ... more light... higher ISO values
>
>No, lower ISO values. For a given exposure, an f/5.6
>lens means ISO 800 while the same exposure and shutter speed
>with an f/2.8 lens means ISO 200.


So Correct me if Im wrong, with a faster lens(i.e. f/stop 1.4 or 1.8) you dont need to bump the iso any higher than 200 since it allows more light to enter the body than a 5.6. Reason why Im asking is because I finally ordered a Prime Nikkor 50mm 1.8. I did searches for this lense and it gives me methods on using this lense from using Auto ISO to using ISO 200.. Still getting the hang of Manual Focusing. LOL

  

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ruca2k8   Cascais, PT  Registered since 27th Feb 2008 Fri 19-Sep-08 12:21 PM
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#16. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 15
Fri 19-Sep-08 12:22 PM by ruca2k8


No lens can guarantee that you won't need to use higher ISO.

An f1.8 lens will allow you to use half the ISO as an f3.5.

If an f3.5 lens requires you to use ISO 800 for the shutter speed you want, an f1.8 lens won't get the same shutter speed at ISO200.

And why ISO200? My D40x has ISO100, maybe some other only has ISO400. The lens can't be "dictated" to by the camera body it's on.

You can use any lens at any ISO, like you can use any lens with any shutter speed. In the end, exposure is still about shutter speed, aperture and ISO for the available light.

Rui

  

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography   Livermore, CA, US  Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006 Fri 19-Sep-08 04:40 PM
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#17. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 16



>No lens can guarantee that you won't need to use higher ISO.

Rui is right here. At f/1.8, shooting indoors at night with available light, ISO 1600 may not be high enough, which is why people often resort to flash in these situations.

The f/1.8 lens can let in more light than lenses with smaller max apertures but the math is wrong...

>An f1.8 lens will allow you to use half the ISO as an f3.5.

That should be ¼ the ISO. For ISO and shutter speed, which are linear measures of linear quantities, 1 stop = halving or doubling the setting. Aperture is a linear measure that describes an area, so when you increase aperture the amount of light let in increases by the square of the setting, so to go from f/3.5 to f/1.8 quadruples the amount of light, which means 2 stops, which means keeping shutter unchanged, shooting ISO 800 f/3.5 is equivalent exposure to ISO 200 f/1.8. One stop of light is measured my multiplying aperture by square root of 2 (~1.4). This isn't as easy to calculate in your head, so most people eventually learn the progression of full-stop increments: 1.4, 2.0, 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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ruca2k8   Cascais, PT  Registered since 27th Feb 2008 Sun 21-Sep-08 01:54 PM
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#18. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 17
Sun 21-Sep-08 11:55 PM by ruca2k8


>That should be ¼ the ISO.

Absolutely correct, thanks for posting. I spent the weekend away without internet access and was meaning to come back to this post to coorect myself after kicking my own butt

Rui

  

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography   Livermore, CA, US  Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006 Tue 16-Sep-08 05:34 AM
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#5. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 0



Hi ISO noise has improved dramatically over the past few years, but it's not to the point where ISO doesn't matter. You will always get lower noise and higher dynamic range with a lower ISO setting, so use the lowest setting the situation will allow.

The long exposure noise is a different problem altogether. You can combat this by enabling long exposure NR, but be warned that this feature will take a 2nd "dark frame" with the shutter closed, of the same duration, and subtract it from the photo, canceling the noise. The downside is that the camera cannot be used until the dark frame is finished, and for very long exposures, this means a very long wait to take your next picture.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas   Richmond, US  Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004 Tue 16-Sep-08 02:09 PM
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#8. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 5



Long exposure NR is a different thing. It only eliminates one specific kind of noise, usually referred to as "amp noise." A better description is "thermally induced color distortion." The sensors create artifacts, usually some sort of pinkish veil, when they run at elevated temperatures. If you take a very long exposure (say, 10 seconds or longer), parts of the sensor get heated by electronics nearby, and this ends up showing up as pinkish blobs in the areas of the sensor near those hot parts. In such a case, Long exposure NR works as Larry describes, and it removes the color distortion.

However, this function does not do anything about the grainy sort of noise that is symptomatic of high ISO. In fact, amp noise happens even at base ISO; since base ISO is usually the lowest ISO, it actually happens MORE at lower ISOs than higher ISOs, because the lower ISO causes a longer exposure, making the sensor more subject to thermal build up.

Note that this is different from the regular noise reduction setting, which does attack the per-pixel noise problem. If you do a long exposure, it is both feasible and reasonable to use both forms of NR.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas   Richmond, US  Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004 Tue 16-Sep-08 02:01 PM
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#6. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 0



The sensors are not created equal. If you look at an ISO 1600 shot from a D3 or D700, you may actually think that there's no noise, because it's far less than what you see from your D40x. There is definitely a lot less noise from a D3 shot at ISO 800 or ISO 1000 than there is from my D2h at ISO 400. And yet by comparison, even your D40 is far better than other implementations. You have considerably less noise in this sample than I would have from my D100, for example. And for those of us dinosaurs who roamed the earth in the Film Age and shot ISO 1600 by pushing Tri-X two stops with Acufine, even the D100 looks clean and grain-free. Much of this is relative, so you need to understand your author's perspective.

In general, though, with every sensor, higher ISOs yield more noise than lower ISOs on the same sensor. Even on the D3: it's very obvious that a D3 shot at ISO 200 is much less noisy than a D3 shot at ISO 25600.

Finally, although there's nothing per se wrong with viewing the files at 100%, judge the sharpness and noise from final print that you make. You will discover that many - most? - files that look terrible at 100% look good or even stunning in a reasonable size print.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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VeeDubb   Dallas, US  Registered since 07th Jun 2007 Wed 17-Sep-08 07:06 AM
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#10. "RE: ISO speed"
In response to Reply # 0



To answer more simply, those are just over zealous camera reviews getting a little too happy about the recent improvements in high ISO performance.

There are two separate things that cause noise and grain.

High ISO, and long exposure.

The both ALWAYS produce noise and or grain. It's just the nature of the beast. The trick is to find the right compromise between high ISO and exposure length to minimize the total grain and noise in the pictures.



As for those camera reviews, I read an article in popular photography not too long ago, talking about the fact that they were considering revising their standards for reviewing DSLRs, because every camera was getting 9.5 out of 10 or better these days, because digitals have improved so much since they devised their standards.

http://www.stevecoonsphoto.com

  

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