It seems when I am shooting and push the ISO above 400 on my D200 I begin to get more noise than I would expect. Is this normal? What is the best ISO to stay at and not go above to keep noise to a minimum? Thank you for your help ! Chris
I don't know the D200 specifically, but everything being equal, noise is always going to increase as ISO does. The key to minimizing ISO noise at any level is to use proper technique, especially nailing the exposure, and disabling settings on your camera that are known to contribute to increases in higher ISO noise. Someone with experience with the D200 can give you pointers on that, and also tell you the ISO level that it's best to stay below.
Your experience at ISO 400 is pretty accurate. I'd try to stay at ISO 400 or lower, but compromises are part of photography. Color and dynamic range tend to be best at the lowest ISO levels, so beyond noise, there is plenty of reason to use lower ISO's. Still - it's better to have a sharp subject with noise than a soft subject due to a shutter speed that is too slow.
As pointed out by others, you always get the best results wehn staying at base iso. The D200 is not particularly good at high iso and I have found that the limiting iso is generally about iso 600. However, if you "expose to the right" and the scene does not contain very dark areas, you can get virtually noise free exposures up to about iso 800.
I try to keep below 800 on my D200, but shooting in the bright light of the Middle East I rarely get above 200. When in the Uk I found 800 to be the level of acceptance although I would go higher to get the shot...
As stated above, the D200 is best at ISO 400 or below. In a pinch you can push it up to ISO 640 but by ISO 800 the noise is very apparent. Have you consided using noise software like Noise Ninja or DxO? Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
Great photo leathaum! Especially for a jpeg right out of the camera. Ive struggled with the noise on my D200 at ISO800 as well. Gonna have to play with it. You can see the milk spots (little white pimples) on the grandson on the large image and thats as much as you could ever ask for! Most of my shooting is B&W but I agree as well lower ISO for color.