D300 at 3500iso

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by rascal64, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Okay...so I have seen examples of what the D700 can do at 3500iso. Can anyone tell me about how high the D300 can go without getting noisy? And how important 3500 vs 2000 iso actually is. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In my D300 portfolio that accompanied photo.net's D300 review, I have a few ISO 1600 and 3200 images. Take a look at the night and indoor shots there, e.g. the first three images. The ISO used is specified in each image: http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=792355
    The D700 is about 1 to 1.5 stops better than the D300 in terms of high-ISO results.
     
  3. Thank you Shun. This is what I needed. So your alleyway shot enlarges nicely? It looks just awesome from here.
     
  4. Shun... There is something I still don't understand about noise at high ISO.
    For example, if you shoot at iso 3200 and you have expossed your shot well you might get no noise or some level of noise depending in the camera you use. Then, if you do the same shot but it is under expossed then the noise levels will always be higher. I am correct on this? Cheers!
     
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Keep in mind that underexposure greatly contributes to noise. You can shoot at the base ISO 100 or 200 (depending on the camera); if you underexpose, you can still have serious noise issues.
    If you shoot indoors, the artificial lighting is frequently very uneven. That is why some dark areas, shadows tend to have problems.
     
  6. Rene' - it is actually quite simple. Say you have noise that causes your individual pixel values to vary by 1 or 2 bits. Or even 5 or 6 or so. You can see that against a black (bit value zero) or other dark background as it represents a rather high noise to signal level (or more conventionally a low signal to noise ratio). On the other hand if you have a signal in the mid 100's range or higher (I'm using 8 bit values) a variation of this small amount will be less noticeable.
    Try it.
     
  7. Yep that is why I went with a 5d (didnt have the extra 1800 for the D700). The D300 image is as unusable at 1600 as my D200 was. youch.
    00SR78-109499584.JPG
     
  8. Shun...do you have something to say about Dan's post?
     
  9. "The D300 image is as unusable at 1600 as my D200 was." Dan, this statement is simply not true .
    Tiffany, at higher ISOs, even at ISO 6400, noise can be completely eliminated, but at the cost of detail. While it is easy to eliminate noise through noise reduction programs, detail is typically lost in the process. Usually the more noise reduction you apply, the more detail you loose. Some noise reduction programs work better than others at maintaining detail or at least minimizing loss of detail while reducing noise.
    If you shoot RAW and have good image processing software and technique, ISO 3200 images from the D300 can be made to look excellent. Getting the exposure right (not underexposing) is critical. While I rarely shot above ISO 1600 when I had my D300, my ISO 1600 images, once processed, looked as if they were shot at ISO 200 or ISO 400, having excellent color, contrast and detail.
    I did a series of comparison shots between the the D200, D300 and 5D a while back. You can view the comparisons crops between the three cameras here :)
    http://www.photo.net/photo/7560336&size=lg
    The entire series of shots I took can be viewed here:
    http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=848760
    (the entire frame can be viewed in the last frame of the series so you can see how much I cropped by.)
     
  10. Tiffany, as you are probably aware, the production of noise in an image captured by a sensor, such as the CMOS sensor in the D300, is a complex issue that depends a lot on the pure physics of how light(in the form of photons) is collected by the photosites on the sensor, combined with how the electronic circuitry in the camera transfers the energy from the photosites(a stream of electrons) to the processor(which Nikon calls EXPEED) to the buffer and then to the CF card for storage. When you move up from base iso(200 on the D300) to higher iso levels, the camera is amplifying the signal from the sensor, and also amplifying the inherant noise in the signal. This noise comes from a lot of sources. Light isn't a perfect blend of photons, so you can think of some noise as stray photons. The surrounding electronics in the camera introduce background noise(referred to as amp noise). We see this in our images as luminance noise(variations in pixel brightness) and chroma noise(variations in pixel colors).
    When you record a digital image there is more data at the high end of brightness, so small variations are less obvious in brightly lit areas of an image. As you move toward the darker range of the image(shadows), there are less photons and less data, so small imperfections in the data are more noticeable. That's why we see more noise in the shadows, and why more noise shows up if we try to adjust the exposure up when processing an underexposed image. With this in mind, it makes sense to shoot to the right of your luminance histogram(taking care not to blow out the highlights), and adjust your exposure down in post processing if necessary. You will generally see less noise that way.
    The D300 is great up to iso 800-1000, and very usable at 1600. Above 1600 the noise, especially in the shadows, is bothersome, but can be acceptable for some images. As Shun has noted, the D700 is better. Still, you are always amplifying noise above base iso. So, it is always best to shoot at the base iso if it works for your shot.
     
  11. Elliot I fully understand what you are saying. I even use some noise reduction software myself (Neat Image). And I want everyone to know I am definetly not knocking Nikon one bit. I am convinced that Nikon make some of the best camera bodies and lenses around. But aps sized sensors (except for a few lower mp standouts like the nikon d40/50 or canon 20d) are not particularly suited for high iso shooting. That is not saying they can't do it but the pixel density and subsequent noise gets in the way. With my D200 I found after iso 640/800 that the image was not of a quality I could see myself being happy with. I tried for 2 years to use my D200 as a lowlight manual focus camera but never had mutch success. I can shoot the 5d at iso 1600/3200 with no issues. I could shoot a D700 at the same iso's and more with no issues as well (I just cant afford one :).
     
  12. Shun, from what I can see in your D300 portfolio, its high ISO performance is no better than that of my D40--if not slightly worse. I was probably going to upgrade to the 300 but this has made me think twice. I always knew that the D700 had a one stop advantage over the D300, but I also thought the D300 had a one-stop advantage over my camera.
     
  13. Just wanted to add another iso 3200 shot that went through neat image noise reduction software.
    00SRAS-109510184.jpg
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have never actually used a D40 although I have handled a few. And I have zero interest in the Canon 5D or 5D Mark II, as I really need good AF capability in my DSLRs, and I can't use my Nikon lenses on them (at least not in my definition of "can use.")
    I also have a D200. I think the D200 is ok up to ISO 800 and it is marginal at 1600. The D300 is a stop better and the D3/D700 is yet another stop to a stop and half better.
    In other words, at least for Nikon DSLRs, the rule of thumb is that you will get fairly good results all the way to one stop below the highest rated ISO (not the extended range). At the top rated ISO, it is acceptable but not that great any more. For example, the D200 is rated from 100 to 1600, and it is pretty good up to 800 and it is acceptable at 1600. The D200 is rated from 200 to 3200, and it is pretty good up to 1600 and acceptable at 3200.
     
  15. Eli... I don't know about a D40 but with my D80 I didn't like the results over ISO 400 and the most I would use it was at ISO 800. With my D300 I use ISO auto with a limit at 1600. I get very good shots at ISO 1600. Some of them I don't like because they have more noise. That is why I asked the question above but most of my shots come out pretty good. I am sure that at ISO 200 both D40 and D300 might be same but I'm almost sure that at 1600 you would get better results with a D300 than with a D40.
     
  16. Thank you, both of you. Dad has a D80 and its high ISO performance doesn't impress me--the D40 is better. But that's really sort of expected because they have the same (CCD) image sensor, but one has more MP.
    Maybe I'll just wait on the D400 and see how it turns out.
     
  17. Tiffany,
    You will find many opinions concerning this ISO being usable and that ISO being unusable.
    Color, overall scene luminosity as already mentioned will play a role in noise generation.
    These sort of discussions often get a little annoying after a while as too many seem to think ISO blah blah blah is some sort of limit. What about when one WANTS to introduce noise/grain? The question will ultimately be "at what ISO is the image unusable to you?"
    Other than scene light dynamics, how large you intend to print will play a role as well.
    I am posting a photo I shot a year and a half ago when I first purchased the D-300. I was shooting anything and everything as the camera was a day old; but with purpose...all photographers should know the strengths and weaknesses of their equipment. This photo was shot at ISO 1,600 with NO post processing whatsoever; it is as it came from the camera in jpeg.
    Hopefully this will silence some critics out there. Can I enlarge this to 16x20 w/o visible noise? Probably not even with NR software. How about a 8x10? Probably.
    Pete
    00SRBX-109515684.jpg
     
  18. Pete, I agree and that photo is consistent with my iso 1600 shots from the D300.
    Dick
     
  19. PS..Here is a portion cropped at 100%
    00SRCV-109517584.jpg
     
  20. I'm shooting a D200 side by side with a D300. The D300's behavior at ISO 1600 is substantially better than the D200. With a little bit of noise reduction, the D300's ISO 3200 images, when well exposed, are - to my eye - more workable than the D200's ISO 800 images. There are other qualitative issues at work there, of course. Pixel peepers may quibble, but in real life, the D300's high ISO performance is remarkable. Yes, the D3/700 is more delicious. But in practical terms, for a lot of shooting, it's academic.

    I just grabbed the D300, and took a quick shot at ISO 3200. I put two props on the table in front of me - something white, and something black, with a textured surface below. Here's the full frame:
    00SRCj-109519584.jpg
     
  21. And here's a 100% crop from near the center. Yes, I applied a routine touch of noise reduction, using Capture NX2.
    00SRCl-109519684.jpg
     
  22. Matt, these are great examples of how the D300 can really shine. But, as you would expect, I've found the noise is really noticable when you are trying to shoot at 3200 in low light. Looks like pretty good light here. Plus, you own the same table and chairs that I have!
    Dick
     
  23. If I'm recalling correctly, Tiffany's primary interest is portraiture. It might be helpful to provide sample photos taken of people at high ISOs using the D300 to illustrate characteristic noise problems and how to solve them.
    Since my only Nikon dSLR is the D2H, a noisy beast, I'll confine my comments to noting that chroma noise can be quite ugly in the shadow areas in photos of people at high ISOs. And this varies with skin tone, blemishes, etc. Even a slight white balance problem can exaggerate the unappealing character of chroma noise. Check under the jaw, the neck, etc., where high ISO chroma noise may be considered more aesthetically unappealing than in photos of inanimate objects, pets, etc.
     
  24. You're right, Lex. I'll try to come up with something. I have a shoot early tomorrow morning, and may have just the opportunity. In the meantime, just for Richard's sake, I've made the table-top light much worse. Here's the D300 again, still at ISO 3200. But now we're dealing with only a dimmed overhead incandescent fixture... requiring a quarter of a second. Crappy light indeed. Of course there's some noise... but it's flippin' ISO 3200! And I've not even attempted to use any fancy-pants NR software. Just a simple pass with the canned Nikon tools. Again... printed at a relatively normal size? The noise would completely insignificant, given the subject matter.

    So, to wit:
    00SRER-109525584.jpg
     
  25. And, straight off of the Pixel Peeper Express, the view you'd get if the print was 30 or so inches across, and you were holding it up to your nose.
    00SRET-109525684.jpg
     
  26. Just to make things clear, Matt's shots at ISO 3200 look pretty good to me. The 100% crop I don't like but that noise won't show in an A4 size print which is the lasgest I print. So unlees I was making a billboard or I was a pixell peeper that kind of noise wouldn't bother me.
     
  27. I don't love it either, at 100%, Rene... but nobody shoots at ISO 3200 and enormously blows up the images for fun! It's more a matter of "can it be workable if it really has to happen?" Sure, it definitely can. But of course I'd rather be down at 400 or below, even with the D300. It just depends on what you're up to, and who's looking at it, and how.

    Lex is right, though: pictures of neutrally toned subjects without familiar fleshtones don't really tell the tale. More on that later. Mostly, with these simple grab-and-shoot examples, I was just trying to show that the D300's behavior (before the use of fancy noise reduction software!) is hardly a train wreck. That's some pretty extreme shooting, 3200 is. I was deliberately stopping the lens down to or past f/5.6 just to make a point. In real life, I'd have opend up more, and lowered the ISO. OK, off to bed - I'll have some people to shoot in the morning... I've got a full-honors military funeral to photograph, and it's going to be challenging. I'll make a point of winding the D300 up to ISO 3200 just for this thread, though! G'night for now.
     
  28. Elliot,
    It seems to me, looking at those links you provided, that the D200 does not produce as bright colors as the other two. I know KR mentioned that as a reason to get the D300 over the D200.
    If I were to say that one type of photography I was interested in was the time of day when the sun has just gone down, the sky is deep blue, and all the lights of a building or street of shops are showing brightly, would you say good results could be gotten with the D200, or would you case that the D300 or even a D90 would be better for that ?
     
  29. So far in all the high resolution samples I've seen from the D300 they all look remarkably good at high ISOs as long as the exposure was good.
    The D300 is clearly a full step ahead in class from anything Nikon fielded before. My D2H is virtually unusable above 1600 unless I'm willing to settle for grayscale conversions and golf ball sized grain reminiscent of Delta 3200. It's acceptable for emergencies, but way outclassed by the D300.
     
  30. I wonder if, in 20 years, like film grain now, people will be waxing eloquently and swooning on and on about the wonderful noise of the D2H compared to the d300 and like film grain today, folks will be buying plug ins to replicate a particular camera's noise. There might be the "traditonalists, purists or artists" that cling to Lex's D2H to be able to capture that long lost noise in-camera. Could even be a cult of D2H shooters. Leica smeica. Might even transfer images from photoshop CS 96 to cellulose and print in a wet darkroom. Their prints could be revered at the club meetings with hushed tones and knowing nods, "Wow, look at that noise. Gorgeous." The pinnacle of artistry. And pnet 2029 will get weekly posts, asking : Im new to photography but is adding noise in photoshop really photography? Whoa, dude. I musta been dreaming, man. It was like... a nightmare. All kidding aside, this post really typifies the passion and expertise on this site for all phases of photography, technical or artistic. I dont know whats happening , but every post I've read tonight is a home run.
     
  31. Gack! I hope not. As a lifetime b&w film photographer I can appreciate the aesthetics of grain within a certain context, but I don't turn it into a religion. It's fine for some photos, not so good for others.
    It's hard to imagine anyone actually wanting digital noise in photos, but no doubt I'll be proven wrong. During the late '90s-early 2000's we saw digital editing being used to artificially create scratches, burns, hairs and jitter on movies. I even used it myself on animated GIFs made from sequences taken with my digital camera, as promotional items for a local theatre group. Seemed kinda hip for awhile. Got to be kinda gimmicky.
    I suppose eventually some artist will want to recreate the blotchy chroma noise and jagged luminance noise of badly underexposed high ISO digital photography. If so, they could do a lot worse than the D2H, which really isn't all that bad even now compared with most P&S digicams, which still are very noisy at high ISOs. For a truly artistic appearance of bad photography a cinematographer will probably try to recreate the camera phone look.
     
  32. Question:
    Shun said: "Keep in mind that underexposure greatly contributes to noise."
    I actually thought that we should underexpose one stop to get better shadowdetails in PP (when shooting raw) in PP ?
    But is that only true for ISO below 1600 (on D300) ?
     
  33. The ETTR mantra says nay. Thou must never underexpose.
    Gotta be reasonable, of course. Don't blow the important highlights. But it's generally better to avoid underexposure.
    Again, I can only speak from experience with the D2H, but beyond ISO 1600 it becomes absolutely unforgiving of underexposure. Not only does noise become a problem but banding appears. The noise, I can fix. The banding, I can't. When shooting above 1600 I usually dial in +1/3 or +2/3 EV compensation if in a hurry and using AE; or, if manual, I'll add another 1/3 or 2/3 stop of exposure either via aperture or shutter speed. Even if I blow the highlights it won't matter, my photos above 1600 from the D2H will never hang in anyone's museum. It's just for emergency available light shooting when there's no other option. I'm only interested in minimizing the banding and getting recognizable faces.
    Folks with better cameras like the D300 can afford to be pickier about getting perfect exposures with high ISO shooting. That camera is capable of better results at 3200 than I can get at ISO 800.
     
  34. Thanks for posting the samples, Matt. Those shots are incredibly clean! I'm picking up more noise than that at 3200. I'm wondering if it's related to the camera settings(active D-lighting, in camera NR, etc.) or that the Nikon software is doing a better job than Aperture?
    Looking forward to more examples,
    Dick
     
  35. I stand corrected on the D300. Though not as good as a full frame it still is a vast improvement from the D200. I should have limited my comments to the D200 alone. But to get good results you really have very minimal margin for error in exposure. And Shun I still have my D2h for when I need to get fast action auto focus images. I won't be parting with that camera anytime soon.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/danparkfiles/LighthouseMarch20th#slideshow
     
  36. Dan, great sequences.
     
  37. Since Tiffany was comparing the D300 to the D700 this won't matter, but it does for those comparing to earlier generation Nikon DSLRs. Not only does the D300 (and D3, D700) have less noise, the type of noise is different . Both types of noise are reduced: luminance noise is lower for sure, but what stands out now is the lack of chroma noise. Practically this means those randomly colored blotches in dark areas are much better controlled, if not eliminated, and the predominant noise is a much more pleasing film-like grain (ducking from film folks, please note I did put a hyphenated "like"). Moreover, this type of noise is far easier to clean up using noise-reduction software.
     
  38. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I think the laptop image sample is quite typical for the D300 at ISO 3200. The mouse close up clearly shows the problems are in the little bit of shadow areas.
    Tiffany, here is a pixel-level crop from the alleyway image: http://www.photo.net/photo/6808216
    I wouldn't say it is great, but I think it is quite acceptable for ISO 3200. Since I now also have a D700, any high ISO work automatically goes to the D700.
    00SRQ7-109569684.jpg
     
  39. This discussion aroused my curiosity about your question, Tiffany. My apologies for my verbosity about noise last night, but I just kind of got going. Anyway, since Lex mentioned portraits and I was curious, I took my D300 to work this morning and shot this of my office manager. I used the 18-200 mm Nikkor VR zoom. The shot is at f8, 1/80 sec, iso 3200, 80 mm, handheld. It was under fluorescent light. It was shot in 14-bit RAW, uncompressed, imported into Aperture 2.1 and converted to JPEG for posting with no other adjustments(no sharpening, no noise reduction). The camera was set to auto white balance, Active D-lighting: Normal, high iso noise reduction: Off
    00SRUZ-109587684.jpg
     
  40. This is a tighter crop to show the background and some facial detail, from the same image...
    00SRUf-109587884.jpg
     
  41. And to finish this up, this is an example of what I was referring to as low light last night. This is the same lens, at f4.5, 1/50 sec, iso 3200, 48 mm, handheld. No post processing.
    00SRV8-109589584.jpg
     
  42. And this is the tighter crop...
    00SRVJ-109589684.jpg
     
  43. Ok I couldn't resist anymore. The attached image is taken at ISO 6400 with the D300. As has been mentioned earlier, nobody enlarges a shot taken at a very high ISO so I'm not going to show a 100% crop, but for the sake of the family album, shots like these should be acceptable. This is grossly under exposed in places due to the situation, but in my opinion it is still ok for an ordinary album shot. I am extremely pleased with the ISO capabilities of the D300. It is true that noise can appear even at ISO 200 if there is too much under exposure (and that is true for virtually any camera), but an experienced photographer will know this and take the appropriate precautions to eliminate it.

    Richard I think your shots are very acceptable to excellent for the settings used and in the available lighting conditions. I don't believe any other 12MP DX sensor can beat that.
    00SRXA-109595584.jpg
     
  44. This was taken @ iso 3200 @ f16, 1/5sec and +1.0 ev. There is some background noise with the 105 f2.8 AiS Micro but the D300 is far more forgiving than the D200 ever was.
    00SRdS-109619684.jpg
     
  45. I think that in all noise comparisons it needs to be kept in mind that the D300 performs excellently when the light and exposure is good. Underexpose and things start to get nasty. Bad light has all the problems that bad light always had.
     
  46. Holy smokes...I can't believe how much has been posted since my last question. I will go through all the information when I have a few hours to absorb everything. I really appreciate the detailed posts. And while I shoot primarily portraiture...I am hoping to grow with a new camera. I want to shoot wildlife and do some fine art and all the stuff I used to do....night shooting etc... So my question was not just targeted at portraits. A million thank yous for all the information.
     
  47. Basically...this is my understanding. If we understand exposure...we can shoot with just about anything and have it work. Shun...I was most interested in the alleyway shot because I used to love shooting nightime (days o'film)...industrial scenes with street light. I was always amazed at how much light the camera could actually see. Awhile ago..I was at the museum of natural history in L.A. There was this big latino celebration going on and there was a band and dancing in front of all those wildlife dioramas. It was surreal and beautiful and my lil' D70 couldn't cope. I am pretty sure that the D300 is what I am getting. I know the D700 is the better animal but for the price difference...I am thinking that another lens or a battery pack for my lights might be a better investment. I just don't want to regret my purchase. It sounds like I won't. Thank you again for all the contributions and examples.
     
  48. >So unlees I was making a billboard or I was a pixell peeper that kind of noise wouldn't bother me.<
    If a photograph looks good at 3200 as an 8x10, then it's entirely possible to enlarge the same photo to the size of a billboard, and look just as good.
    This is true as long as the viewing distance is appropriate for each photograph. In general, billboards sit atop poles far above street level, which is the proper viewing distance for these behemoth images.
    And it won't matter if the camera has six megapixels or a dozen or even two dozen. It won't matter if the camera is DX or FX. If the image looks good at 8x10, it'll probably look good at 80 feet by 10 feet, too, given the appropriate viewing distance.
    00SRlH-109649584.jpg
     
  49. Richard, that photo of your office manager is an excellent example of how much Nikon has progressed with the D300. Under exactly the same conditions my D2H would produce dreadful results, with meaty looking skin (due to quirks with near IR rendering) and horrible noise. It would require lots of tweaking in noise reduction to minimize the blotchy chroma noise, otherwise shadows under the jaw would look like acne. Meanwhile, I'd need to tweak luminance noise very selectively to preserve fine detail. And I'd need to use another program optimized for skin tones to fix the meat-skin look.
    The D300 is really an astonishingly good step up in class over previous Nikon dSLRs, and an incredible value considering its capabilities. And there was never a color film above ISO 800 that could accomplish this kind of quality in casual use. I'm even more amazed by the occasional lukewarm responses I read online from folks who mumble "Eh, it's just okay. The D-whatever-X Next Big Thing will be better."
     
  50. I'm even more amazed by the occasional lukewarm responses I read online from folks​
    I think it's the glass half-empty phenomenon; sure we get better pics than with film, but if one shoots with 3200 in 2500 K hard light and underexposes 0.5 stops then the results are not excellent. The D700 of course does better, but it can't do miracles either. High ISO is never going to be as good as low ISO, but people need to realize what to realistically expect and make the decision based on that. I was looking at some ISO 1600 pics that I took with my D70 a while ago and realized than my D300 is quite obviously better.
     
  51. There's more to it than just shooting at high ISOs, too. The newer beasties (like the D300) give you a lot more to work with than their predecessors at mid/low ISOs, too. On a gig yesterday, I was presented with an in-the-shade (in February!) setting with very, very bright background light. It was truly vexing. It really helped that I could keep the exposure somewhat under control (so that the background at least preserved some sense of place/space), and could tease up some shadow detail in post without having it become an unusable, noisy mess. Just the generational differences between the D2/xx and the D3/xx bodies is enormous in this respect. Man was I glad to have the D300 yesterday, and the D200 knocking me in the ribs as a backup and for wide stuff. The difference between those two bodies when it comes to workable dynamic range in horrid lighting - remarkable. Not all horrid lighting is in dimly lit rooms!
    00SS2o-109725584.jpg
     
  52. Another excellent example, Matt. That kind of contrast would have been a real challenge with most digital cameras and even with a moderate contrast color negative film.
     
  53. Tremendous Matt. Yes Terry...I KNOW what the D700 can do. In fact..I don't think that I have seen an example of anything under IS01000 for the D700.
     
  54. Excellent example, Matt and a truly stunning shot with the D700, Terry. As an aside, with the D300, yesterday a shot a series of ducks in good light at iso 400. But, I had accidently bumped my ev button and the camera was set at -1.0 ev for all of the shots, which I didn't realize until I uploaded them. I was amazed at how much noise was produced by trying to bring up the exposure just one stop at iso 400. It really drove the point home that under exposing is not good when it comes to noise. Even with the D300.
     
  55. Where to begin?
    Noise is just the uncertainty in the data's information content. For a single sensor site, we want to record the real, but unknown, photon count for the light hitting that sensor site. The noise value for a given ISO is similar for all the sensors. But the photon count – the signal – is not. When the photon count is large, the signal is much larger than the noise and the uncertainty is total count is low. The opposite happens when the signal (photon count) is low. Because the noise and signal are measured simultaneously, it is impossible to reduce the noise. The noise is part of the data. The noise observed in digital camera sensors is the sum of several sources. Photographers only have contol over one of these, ISO value.
    Well lit (and properly esposed) scenes contain a lot of signal, the noise is a small part of the photon count, so the photon uncertainty is low . Poorly lit ( and underexposed) scenes and shadow areas in well lit scenes have a much higher uncertainty in the photon count, so they are displayed with more noise.
    When photographers use the phrase noise reduction, they actually mean noise filtering – which is a form of data averaging. The amount noise (uncertainy) is not reduced. Instead, the noisy pixels are averaged with less noisy pixels. The noisy pixels improve, and the less noisy pixels degrade. Noise filtering always degrades the information content of the image. The aesthetic improvement achieved by noise filtering can outweigh the overall reduction of image quality.
     
  56. So, basically, we took the long way to ascertain that no matter what the technology, the basic rules of exposure still apply. :D

    Overall informative thread though. I have Capture NX2 but I did not install it so I will now and process my night shots from Paris and see how they come out. I grew up on film so not seeing grain globules in a color night shot is good for me. But now...
     
  57. I don't mind some luminance noise - it's chroma noise that is disturbing. And I'd rather keep some noise instead of sacraficing detail. But I come from a film background, so even the D300 looks amazing compared to trying to shoot color film at ISO 3200. The D700 is just mind-boggling!
     
  58. Yes exposure needs to be spot on when using high ISO whatever camera you use.
    I shoot weddings in Raw and JPEG, i do this because jpegs are quick to process and they do not show noise as much Raw files, the Raw files (14 bit off my camera) hold that much more colours and detail than a jpeg the noise is more pronounced so sometimes the jpeg can be useful for quick editing.
     
  59. Bump for the previous John Williamson:
    How well would the D90 hold up to the D300 in high ISO shots. I.E. what would I see different in terms of noise?
     
  60. How well would the D90 hold up to the D300 in high ISO shots. I.E. what would I see different in terms of noise?

    They should be quite similar.
     
  61. I shot an event indoors (Christmas party) in fairly marginal lighting with the D300 and the 85 1.4 stopped down to f2 plus some shots with the 70-200 wide open. All these were on auto-iso and all were at 3200. They really preferred not using flash so had to shoot available light. I was really disappointed with almost all of the shots and had to run them through Topaz de-noise to clean them up. Some detail was lost but it salvaged the shots and they were happy with the results.
    Now I can shoot the same light with my D700 and no noise re-finishing is necessary. I wish I had the D700 to shoot that event...
    85mm f2 @ 1/30s (D300)
    [​IMG]
    There was some loss of detail with the de-noise but the shot was salvaged. The D700 would have sailed right through the shoot without even breathing hard...
     

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