My problem is that I have a new born baby son whom I wish to photograph, however I can't use my flash as it my damage his eyes. I am thus taking my shots at ISO 400, F2.8 1/10 - 1/20. i thus have limited depth of field and slow shutter speed often leading to blurred photographs. My two year old niece is even more of a problem.
My choices appear to be : Crank up the ISO however noise becomes an issue Crank up the ISo and use noise reduction software (noise ninja /neat image ?) Buy a D700
The max size of print I would be looking to make would be A4
Your advice is appreciated
NB: I am not wishing to use my son as an excuse for NAS.
#2. "RE: Problem....Nikonians to the rescue" In response to Reply # 0
Boone, NC, US
I see from your profile that you are using a D200. That's what I have, plus I got a D700 about a week before Christmas. The high ISO performance of the D700 is truly amazing. The first real workout I gave the camera was shooting a dimly lit "open mic" performance. I was shooting in DX mode with an 18-200 Nikkor, using auto ISO. Most of the shots, like the one here, were at 6400, with virtually no noise -- much better than I'd get at 800 ISO on my D200, even with aggressive noise reduction.
And by the way, we NAS sufferers are shameless -- I can't think of a better excuse than a new son to go ahead and splurge.
". . . contrary to what we've always been led to believe, the universe is not basically euclidean." - Benoit Mandelbrot
#3. "RE: Problem....Nikonians to the rescue" In response to Reply # 0
Colorado Springs, US
If the maximum print size is an A4, and you're primarily photographing your son (congratulations!), you don't need a D700, even though it's a very nice camera. Use your D200 or D80 and do the following:
- Bump up the ISO and use one of your fast lenses. You can go with a wider aperture than 2.8 with your 50mm 1.4, so I'd use it. It's also a nice focal length with babies.
- Use good noise reduction software. I'd also try Imagenomics Noiseware, but the ones you mentioned are very good, too.
- Don't do any capture sharpening until after you've applied noise reduction and use lower intensity, higher radius amounts. Specific settings will depend on the tools you use. In Photoshop or Elements, you'll want to use a higher threshold if you're using the USM tool. If you're using LR or ACR and shooting raw, make liberal use of the masking tool in the detail tab.
- Consider making black and white conversions from many of your shots. It solves the problem of mixed lighting sources that you might frequently encounter, and the combination of black and white with a bit of grainy-looking noise can actually look quite cool. Instead of fearing the noise, embrace it and play 1960's photojournalist. It'll give your photos a unique quality that's unlike what other parents will produce.
- When he gets a bit older, consider getting something like a Lightsphere for flash photos. They work great for lowering contrast and reducing harsh shadows in photos.
Be glad you're working with today's tools. My son is twenty now and when he was born, I used my FM, a 50mm 1.4 or 105mm 2.5, and the old, extremely grainy Konica 1600 color print film for shots at the hospital. That film was pretty nasty stuff in comparison with today's digital cameras, but the same noise reduction tools that work with digital also work with film, so there are ways for me to improve those shots now.
#4. "RE: Problem....Nikonians to the rescue" In response to Reply # 0
Berwyn Heights, US
It's true noise becomes an increasing issue as ISO is raised, but a small bit may not be objectionable for your use. Also, noise reduction software is relatively inexpensive. I use Noise Ninja and it works really well. So, your immediate and less costly first move would be to raise ISO to get a better shutterspeed. Also, consider that noise is better controlled with a well-exposed photo. It's in under-exposed dark areas where it becomes objectionable first. I've shot jobs in low light with a D200 that the images with high ISO weren't too bad. Some may disagree, but the images were published so they were good enough at least for that.
That's not to say that the D700 isn't an amazing improvement in this area. I'm just saying that you may try the other suggestions offered here before making a larger investment.
I took the following with the D200 at ISO 1600. The only lighting in the dark concert hall was the musician's stand lights and a soft spotlight on the singer. No noise-reduction software was used.
#5. "RE: Problem....Nikonians to the rescue" In response to Reply # 0
All of the above offer good advice.
To take one idea further, a bounce flash at 90 degrees vertical is no brighter than sunlight, and should not be a problem. I use the SB-600/800s, but find the cheap SB-400 a very compact solution. Just note it only turns up, and does not pivot side to side, so in portrait orientation it will be pointed to the side. They can be had new for $100.
Of course, this basically applies to indoors with a reflective surface like a ceiling. On the other hand, a D700 in high ISO......
#6. "RE: Problem....Nikonians to the rescue" In response to Reply # 0
Port Chester, US
While the flash won't "damage his eyes," you don't want to shoot with an on-camera flash (or the built-in flash) directly in his face. If you have a Speedlight, try bouncing it off a wall or the ceiling for better pictures and useable shutter speeds.
#7. "RE: Problem....Nikonians to the rescue" In response to Reply # 6
Thanks for all the responses.
I'll go a noise reduction route until my wife feels confortable with bounced flash, I have a SB800 and a "Gary Fong" rip off light sphere ( I live in China, cost £7)plus umbrellas both shoot through and relective.
Which noise reduction software would you recommend for ease of use / results ?(I am not keen on sitting in front of a computer).
If the noise reduction route fails then NAS will kick in, hopefully once the £ has recovered some value and the D700 has dropped further in price.