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Subject: "Bit of an experiment with higher ISO" Previous topic | Next topic
RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Thu 15-Aug-13 10:48 PM
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"Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"


US
          

There was a recent thread in which we discussed noise, and it got me to thinking: the only time I've tried to use higher ISO with the D7000 is when the light was low. I've found that ISO 1250 is largely unacceptable (to me) in low light for wildlife or portraits of animals. Fur & feather textures get lost in running noise reduction in post.

Here's a shot at ISO 1250, in bright sunlight, of a bird. It's cropped pretty deep: from the native file size (4928 x 3264) to 1147 x 759. Post work done in Topaz Labs suite, including Denoise and Detail, but honestly - it was not that terrible, and LR would have been sufficient.

Anyhow, this is perfectly acceptable (to me). If I didn't have such a deep crop, I'd have an image that I think would print nicely at a reasonable poster size. I think the D7000 acquitted itself quite nicely.



  

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Reply message RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO
km6xz Moderator
16th Aug 2013
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Toby01 Silver Member
16th Aug 2013
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RLDubbya Silver Member
16th Aug 2013
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elec164 Silver Member
18th Aug 2013
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RLDubbya Silver Member
19th Aug 2013
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RLDubbya Silver Member
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km6xz Moderator
19th Aug 2013
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unclemikey Platinum Member
21st Aug 2013
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km6xz Moderator
25th Aug 2013
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26th Aug 2013
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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Fri 16-Aug-13 05:46 AM
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#1. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 0


St Petersburg, RU
          

You are demonstrating something your eyes already know, that in low light there is less detail, color and contrast and the camera can't invent it even if it has high sensitivity. I think a lot of people assume high sensitivity means rendering a scene as if it was daylight and expect a camera to be a nightscope.
The information available to record is not the same as when there is good light. That means capturing a high iso shot in good light but fast ss for the same exposure value as a dark scene shot at slow ss and the same high iso will look different because the scene information is different. Expecting them to have the same detail, color and contrast leads to those people being disappointed with their camera.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Toby01 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Nov 2012Fri 16-Aug-13 04:39 PM
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#2. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 1


El Sobrante, US
          

Thanks for this explanation, Stan. It makes perfect sense, but I hadn't considered this aspect of low-light exposures before.

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Fri 16-Aug-13 08:30 PM
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#3. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 1


US
          

I WANT MAGIC NIGHTSCOPE WHICH TAKES PICTURES OF WHAT I THINK I SEE. HOW MANY MEGAPIXIES MUST I BUY?

Sorry, couldn't resist. The only time I've really used high ISO is in dim light - when of course, I needed it to preserve some SS and was already wide open.

This is nice - another tool in the bag for me.

I've said it before: I remain quite impressed with the performance of the D7000. It's a great little camera.

  

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Sun 18-Aug-13 09:23 PM
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#4. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 3


US
          

>I've said it before: I remain quite impressed with the
>performance of the D7000. It's a great little camera.

The D7000 is quite a piece of gear, and somewhat of a departure from prior models.

I think part of the issue with the continued misunderstanding is the perpetuation of the myth that upping the ISO makes a sensor more sensitive. The sensors sensitivity is fixed, and upping the ISO increases the post capture gain (be it analog or digital). The amount of photons collected (and therefore amount of signal) is dependent upon aperture, shutter speed and sensel area/quantum efficiency.

I think this example also addresses another often stated fact that increasing ISO adds noise. I believe with the D7000, it’s not so much the increase in ISO, but the decrease in signal collected that makes the noise more apparent.

I began this experiment after reading the ”Doubt regarding ISO” post over in the New to Photography forum. But while I thought my musings were factual, I decided not to post feeling that it would just add to the confusion not help. And my musings were inspired by two sources. Marianne Oelund with her research reported in postings at dpreview here and here. The other source was Bill Claff with his Photographic Dynamic Range Shadow Improvement article.

So this experiment is the flip side of Bob’s and is exploring the concept of an ISO-less sensor; and wondering how close a D7000 approaches that. To do that I set my camera to Manual Exposure mode, ISO 6400, f/10 and 1/25 (which nulled the meter) and took a shot. I then without adjusting the shutter speed or aperture set the ISO to 100 and took another shot (basically underexposing the scene by 6-stops). I then brought the NEF’s into LR3 for processing.

This was the ISO100 rendered with Adobe Standard Profile defaults.




This is the ISO100 file after processing the file to make it seem normal.





And this is the ISO 6400 file Rendered using Adobe Standard Profile and minor adjustments to Exposure, Brightness and Contrast.




My nitpick is that there is somewhat of a difference between the two, but I don’t know if that’s due to my limited PP skills, limitation of LR adjustments (after all I doubt Adobe considered anyone would be crazy enough to try and salvage a 6-stop underexposed file), the slight improvement in shadow detail with higher ISO setting, or a combination of everything.

That being said, with regard to the noise in both samples, I don’t personally perceive that much of a difference between the two with the ISO 6400 having somewhat better control of noise in shadows. That result kind of supports Bill’s statement that there is virtually no improvement in shadow detail going above ISO 400; and in fact very little improvement above ISO 100. Although to my untrained eye, the ISO100 shot seems to have the fine detail hold up better suggesting to me that Nikon still applies some form of a median filtering to high ISO settings (even though many report that the D7000 applies less than previous models). Not to mention Marianne stating that above ISO 950 there is no increase in analog gain but digital manipulation instead.

Hope you find my little experiment interesting and helpful. My observation is that while it might not truly be and ISO-less camera, it isn’t far from it!

Pete

Pete

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Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Mon 19-Aug-13 12:53 AM
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#5. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

>
>Hope you find my little experiment interesting and helpful. My
>observation is that while it might not truly be and ISO-less
>camera, it isn’t far from it!
>
>Pete
>
Pete,

Yowza - thanks for the great work on this. I don't fully understand it (yet) so I'm going to read the references you've provided.

A couple observations from own shooting: I know everybody says "ETTR" for better results. I've never found that to be the case in dog photography. My normal MO is to underexpose by a stop, and then compensate in PP. I get much better results this way.

I'm going to try to take your experiment and change the subject. I've noticed that fur and feathers are the first things that seem to really succumb to noise in an image. It's a no-win situation: if you have noise, and dial up the NR, you lose detail of the fur or feathers. If you don't dial up the NR, you're left, with, well the noise. I guess the good thing is that usually I can strike a balance between the two, but it's not by any means a perfect solution.

Again - great work!

Bob

  

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Mon 19-Aug-13 02:43 PM
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#6. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 4
Mon 19-Aug-13 08:05 PM by RLDubbya

US
          

>I began this experiment after reading the
>Doubt
>regarding ISO post over in the New to Photography forum. But
>while I thought my musings were factual, I decided not to post
>feeling that it would just add to the confusion not help. And
>my musings were inspired by two sources. Marianne Oelund with
>her research reported in postings at dpreview
> The other
>source was Bill Claff with his
>Photographic
>Dynamic Range Shadow Improvement article.
>
>Pete
>



Pete,

I've read through Oelund's threads, and much of her work goes over my head. Distilling her mathematical results down to practical working considerations, I think there's a couple takeaways.

Base (100) ISO provides the best dynamic range

If light is an issue, you're best served by shooting no higher than ISO 950, and bringing the levels up in post. In doing so, you might have to apply different curves to preserve your highlights.

Am I getting this right?


I think the next thing I want to do is some controlled shooting with a texture that I find very prone to destruction via noise: either fur or feathers.

IME, I always seem to get the best results when I ETTL with the 7000. I know that flies in the conventional "ETTR to minimize noise", but it seems like a 1/2 to 1 stop under, brought up in PP, retains more shadow detail.

Thanks again for this work!

Bob

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Mon 19-Aug-13 07:18 PM
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#7. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 6


St Petersburg, RU
          

I have been following the work of the same two people Pete has been and I did similar experiments when the D7000 came out and started shooting a lot lower ISO in low light situations if using RAW. When Bill first got some sample files from the D7000 when it came out, his figures for Photographic Dynamic Range suggested that the D7000 was a totally new sort of animal.
A lot of people did not believe his figures because he had such a limited sample size but the preliminary guesstimate turned out to be spot on. To this day, the D7000 has cleaner files than any Canon ever made, regardless of price and class.
This is why I am not recommending the D7100 for some people who have a D7000. Landscapers and studio augmented light shooters will get more flexibility from the files. Pulling 6 stops with anything else is just not done for good reason but you can, as Pete demonstrated well in his experiment, with the D7000. I have rescued a number of files in dark clubs when the flash failed to fire from both the D800 and D7000 but would not even try with most cameras.

Regarding shooting with darkness. With high ISO, fast primes and TTL speed lights, the painting of dark scenes with realistic darkness has fallen out of favor except for fine art, nudes/bodyscapes, and some fashion. Shooting in manual camera, and manual power control on strobes allows working with darkness and shadow as a most important creative element. It also brings back the need and utility of incident light meters.

So don't count the ol' D7000 out, it is not obsolete.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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unclemikey Platinum Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2013Wed 21-Aug-13 07:40 PM
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#8. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 3


Henrico, US
          

>I WANT MAGIC NIGHTSCOPE WHICH TAKES PICTURES OF WHAT I THINK
>I SEE. HOW MANY MEGAPIXIES MUST I BUY?
>
>Sorry, couldn't resist. The only time I've really used high
>ISO is in dim light - when of course, I needed it to preserve
>some SS and was already wide open.
>
>This is nice - another tool in the bag for me.
>
>I've said it before: I remain quite impressed with the
>performance of the D7000. It's a great little camera.


RL, I shoot high ISO frequently in the operating room. Although the light on the patient is bright I need to get in and get out fast to keep out of the surgeon's way and at 68 it is getting harder to hold my Micro Nikkor 200mm f:4 for along periods of time. Plus at macro focus I'm loosing light to f stops so I use anywhere from 1800-3200 ISO giving me shutter speeds of 800 or faster depending upon the type of operating room light being used. I've been published with these setting for a long time and no book publisher ever complained about the noise.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sun 25-Aug-13 09:03 AM
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#10. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 8


St Petersburg, RU
          

Hi UncleMikey,
The main benefit of high ISO is being able to see the results on the rear display when setting higher shutter speeds. Try an experiment next time of setting ISO to 100 and SS to what is needed for the motion, and RAW format. That would be a very good test to see if you like the detail and color better on frames that were far underexposed and boosting low tones in post. Shadows and Highlight Adjustment module in PS CS6 is really effective if someone prefers not to create custom curves.
I have had my D7000 for a while and it still impresses me when I expose for a high tone and post process to boost shadows, by just how much detail is captured but not visible in the camera or in a JPG. The D800 can do the same marvel of shadow detail recovery.

Stan
St Petersburg Russia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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unclemikey Platinum Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2013Mon 26-Aug-13 01:01 PM
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#11. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 10


Henrico, US
          

>Hi UncleMikey,
>The main benefit of high ISO is being able to see the results
>on the rear display when setting higher shutter speeds. Try an
>experiment next time of setting ISO to 100 and SS to what is
>needed for the motion, and RAW format. That would be a very
>good test to see if you like the detail and color better on
>frames that were far underexposed and boosting low tones in
>post. Shadows and Highlight Adjustment module in PS CS6 is
>really effective if someone prefers not to create custom
>curves.
>I have had my D7000 for a while and it still impresses me when
>I expose for a high tone and post process to boost shadows, by
>just how much detail is captured but not visible in the camera
>or in a JPG. The D800 can do the same marvel of shadow detail
>recovery.
>
>Stan
>St Petersburg Russia

Visit
>my
>Nikonians gallery>.



Hey Stan,

I always read your comments with great interest. Whether technical or philosophical you always seem to be right on. However, two things I must tell you. I don't shoot raw most of the time because I don't yet know how to do post processing. I just got Lightroom 5 and the Scott Kelby workbook to guide me through it. Also, with the help of RLDUBBYA, I'm trying to understand the program. So far the only thing I can do is load SD cards into Lightroom. I have as yet to go to the develop stage. I know, its important and I will start to advance once I get back from my step sons wedding at the end of this week. I have to learn how to use Lightroom and Photoshop or some other program.

But also know for medical photography we in that line of work don't usually shoot in raw and enhance anything. The only adjustment I use typically is contrast adjustments. Early on in my career at a hospital in Philadelphia I adjusted color using Kodachrome and almost caused a law suit when the physician presented my slides on sarcosarcoma. By changing the color hue, I changed the diagnosis to Carcinosarcoma which is a very different disease. When doing gross specimen work the photographer has to present what he sees as altering anything other than contrast can be damaging to the diagnosis. When I am shooting demonstration photography of a new instrument as I did a few weeks ago with the DA Vinci machine, I do use RAW and let the pro lab I use make the conversions but there is no patient involved and we are just making photos of equipment.

Once I learn how to process from RAW, I'll most likely not shoot any of my wildlife, flowers, or landscape in anything else but for the time being for me its jpg. large fine.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Mon 26-Aug-13 04:07 PM
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#12. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 11


US
          

>Once I learn how to process from RAW, I'll most likely not
>shoot any of my wildlife, flowers, or landscape in anything
>else but for the time being for me its jpg. large fine.
>

If I were you, I wouldn't wait for my PP skills to develope. I'd start shooting RAW now then develop my skills.

Even if you only shot raw and not raw+JPEG and you wanted to achieve camera JPEG results, you can always use Nikon's free ViewNX2 as your converter.

As your PP skills progress you can then go back and revisit those NEF files. If you only shoot Fine JPEG's, then your pretty much stuck with what you have.

An example is something that happened to me a while ago. I was practicing taking shots of my dog running after tennis balls in the park. My wife wanted me to print out one for her desk at work. But when I went to print one out, the colors were not what I expected and way off! I was somewhat perplexed, until I checked and realized that prior to that outing I had set my Picture Control to Vivid experimenting to solve an issue a fellow Nikonian posted about and forgot to change it back. At the time I was using ViewNX2 to hand off TIFF's for processing in Photoshop CS3 (CS3 cannot convert D7000 NEF's). Now had I been shooting JPEG's, I would have had a problem. But being that I shot raw, I just changed the Picture Control setting in ViewNX2 and obtained the same result if I had shot JPEG in camera with that setting.

Now there was more to why the results were so off thanhaving the PC's set to Vivid. But then that would need a lengthy discussion of Color Managment and handling of out of gamut colors.

Also, my experiment in ISO-less needs to be done in raw. You cannot make those kinds of corrections to a JPEG, and I'm not sure you would even be able to make those kinds of corrections to a 16-bit TIFF. The data needs to be mapped from raw data I would think.

Pete

Pete

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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unclemikey Platinum Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2013Mon 26-Aug-13 06:48 PM
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#13. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 12


Henrico, US
          

Pete, I could not get the Nikon ViewNX2 to work. Can you give me some hints to load and open this thing.

I might take your advice and shoot RAW+Jepg but I like making prints on my POS HP desk jet printer in the office for the family. I don't actually understand the difference between TIFF and JEPG, or NEF. For special stuff I just shoot RAW format and send a disc away to one of the PRO Labs I work with and they do the corrections and conversion for me. I don't yet understand what you mean about mapping or grids or filters so I'm really not following. Give me a couple of weeks after my vacation and I'm sure everything will be different. For the time being know that I've been shooting for a long time, mostly shoot in manual and get pretty much what I'm looking for in the camera. I know it could be better and will once I get into the darkroom or ahem Lightroom and Photoshop. RLDubbya also recommended a program called Topaz that has a bunch of plug ins but I have not yet loaded it into my lap top. I also need to get a color correction device and work with the lap top. (whatever that thingy is called).

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Mon 26-Aug-13 09:57 PM
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#14. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 13
Mon 26-Aug-13 09:58 PM by elec164

US
          

>Pete, I could not get the Nikon ViewNX2 to work. Can you give
>me some hints to load and open this thing.

When you say can't get it to work, do you mean totally as in can't open the program or just won't recognize camera NEF's. What OS are you using.


>I don't yet
>understand what you mean about mapping

I meant to mention this before but forgot. Remember that all images start with raw data. That data is not a color image but just a luminance level for whatever color filter the sensel is under and is a linear device. So that data needs to be de-mosaicing, a tone curve and gamma correction applied before it looks anywhere near a finished image. I believe another name for that process is mapping.

This is starting to really veer off topic, and perhaps is better posted over in the Post Processing Forum under the Nikon software section.

Pete

Pete

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unclemikey Platinum Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2013Mon 26-Aug-13 10:32 PM
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#15. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 14


Henrico, US
          

Pete, you're right this isn't the correct forum but just to answer I can load it but it doesn't open. Windows 7 pro.

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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Mon 26-Aug-13 11:39 PM
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#16. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 15


US
          

Interesting, I'm also using Win7 Pro 64-bit and ViewNX2 works fine.

Pete

Pete

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unclemikey Platinum Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2013Tue 27-Aug-13 01:06 AM
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#17. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 16


Henrico, US
          

Ok. What did I do wrong? When I get back from vacation I will try to load it again.

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Tue 27-Aug-13 10:26 AM
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#19. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 17


US
          

Mike, if nothing else: as mentioned, I'll be in DC for that shoot. Bring your laptop, and any software with you, and I'll be happy to get you up and running.

  

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unclemikey Platinum Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2013Tue 27-Aug-13 11:52 AM
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#20. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 19


Henrico, US
          

>Mike, if nothing else: as mentioned, I'll be in DC for that
>shoot. Bring your laptop, and any software with you, and I'll
>be happy to get you up and running.
>
>
Bob looks more and more likely.

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Tue 27-Aug-13 08:18 AM
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#18. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 15


Paignton, GB
          

Nikon View NX2 will certainly work on Windows 7 Professional, so I guess you are doing something wrong.

Please use our Nikon Software Forum if you wish to follow this up further.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

  

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unclemikey Platinum Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2013Tue 27-Aug-13 11:57 AM
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#21. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 18


Henrico, US
          

>Nikon View NX2 will certainly work on Windows 7 Professional,
>so I guess you are doing something wrong.
>
>Please use our
>Nikon
>Software Forum> if you wish to follow this up further

Brian, when I get back from vacation I plan on hanging out in that forum for awhile. I've get to get this going for myself. Paying a lab to do all the work isn't profitable at all. Plus I want to fool around with effects that will change some of the things I'm trying to do. Unfortunately, because I didn't need to be involved with it, computer technology passed me by...or perhaps I should say I allowed it to. I'm trying to catch up.

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MarkM10431 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Apr 2013Wed 28-Aug-13 06:04 PM
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#22. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 12


jacksonville, US
          

>>Once I learn how to process from RAW, I'll most likely
>not
>>shoot any of my wildlife, flowers, or landscape in
>anything
>>else but for the time being for me its jpg. large fine.
>>
>
>If I were you, I wouldn't wait for my PP skills to develope.
>I'd start shooting RAW now then develop my skills.
>
>Even if you only shot raw and not raw+JPEG and you wanted to
>achieve camera JPEG results, you can always use Nikon's free
>ViewNX2 as your converter.
>
>As your PP skills progress you can then go back and revisit
>those NEF files. If you only shoot Fine JPEG's, then your
>pretty much stuck with what you have.
>
>An example is something that happened to me a while ago. I was
>practicing taking shots of my dog running after tennis balls
>in the park. My wife wanted me to print out one for her desk
>at work. But when I went to print one out, the colors were not
>what I expected and way off! I was somewhat perplexed, until I
>checked and realized that prior to that outing I had set my
>Picture Control to Vivid experimenting to solve an issue a
>fellow Nikonian posted about and forgot to change it back. At
>the time I was using ViewNX2 to hand off TIFF's for processing
>in Photoshop CS3 (CS3 cannot convert D7000 NEF's). Now had I
>been shooting JPEG's, I would have had a problem. But being
>that I shot raw, I just changed the Picture Control setting in
>ViewNX2 and obtained the same result if I had shot JPEG in
>camera with that setting.
>
>Now there was more to why the results were so off thanhaving
>the PC's set to Vivid. But then that would need a lengthy
>discussion of Color Managment and handling of out of gamut
>colors.
>
>Also, my experiment in ISO-less needs to be done in raw. You
>cannot make those kinds of corrections to a JPEG, and I'm not
>sure you would even be able to make those kinds of corrections
>to a 16-bit TIFF. The data needs to be mapped from raw data I
>would think.
>
>Pete
>
have to agree here I was shooting jpeg, then raw + now just raw. i review the shots i want to work with in nx2, and if i need to use paint shop to work on the image i convert to JPG at that time. once i get lightroom the only conversions will be to post

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larrycurrlymoe Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Feb 2009Sun 25-Aug-13 01:25 AM
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#9. "RE: Bit of an experiment with higher ISO"
In response to Reply # 0


Calgary, CA
          

Here is a link to a post that did a while back (March 2012):
http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=set_threaded_mode&forum=329&topic_id=17252&prev_page=show_topic&gid=17252#17252
It was titled "How good is the D7000 in Low Light?"
At the time I was very impressed (and remain so) Please read the who thread to see what can be done with a seemingly "lost" shot.
Turbo

larrycurrlymoe: not just a funny moniker, I can't dance either!

turbostrackandtour.blogspot.com

  

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