D700 @ High ISOs

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by miles_blanco, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. I am not getting the High ISO results that I expected from my D700. I have toyed with the High ISO NR, but 3200
    and above are not all that is advertised. What are the D700 users out there doing to achieve virtually noiseless 3200
    and 6400 ISO photographs? Please Please help me keep the faith.
    Other than this, the D700 is the best camera I have held in my hot little hands, it far outperforms my D200. I am not
    bitching about the upgrade. I love my camera.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Could you post a sample image or two.

    For example, I shot the following image with the D700 at ISO 6400. I wouldn't say it is great, but I think it is quite acceptable:
  3. I just got a D700, and my testing shows it only has a one stop advantage above the D300, which is a surprise to me as well. On top of that, I find the image quality is a step down from the D300 in terms of per-pixel sharpness with out of camera JPG's. I'm also finding some metering weirdness that wasn't present in the D300, such as blowing out highlights, something the D300 very rarely did. I'll be doing more testing this weekend too.

    ISO 6400 is usable, and up to ISO 12800 is as well, so in a sense it does beat the pants off the D300 in that area. I don't plan to shoot above ISO 3200 in any case so I'm still happy.

    The other thing I'm less than happy about, is the much-reduced finder coverage, and the off-center alignment. I'm sure there was a good reason Nikon made it this way, to keep the body compact, but it is indeed a pretty significant drawback if you like to crop in camera and use the whole frame.
  4. You might find this of interest:


    I say this off a link from KR. ( He accidentally had next Tues page posted. )
  5. whoops, Iguess you can only do 1 at a time. here is another
  6. Dave, this is the one I owe you.
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Here is a quick comparison between the D300 at ISO 3200 vs. the D700 at ISO 6400 of a house under street light. Both are 600x400 pixel-level crops. Both images were captured with the same lens: the 28-70mm/f2.8 at f5.6, at 28mm for the D300 image and 45mm for the D700, thus they have a similar angle of view. I still prefer the D700 image at it seems to be a lot smoother than the rough noise in the D300 image. The result from the D300 would have been considered very good until about a year ago. Today, some of us are just spoiled by the D3 and D700.
  8. Shun,
    You have at least vindicated me in going with the 700. Thanks.
  9. Shun, thanks for the example, it really speaks for itself. I am still happy overall with the D700, but I have to do more testing to learn its nuances. The D300 was so clean at ISO 200, adding a little unsharp mask to the image and you could just lick it! The D700 is a little less sharp but still good.
  10. Miles, I find the D700 still produces 'noise' at higher ISO settings but it is without a doubt less than my D200 by a country mile and a still less than my D300. Without direct D300 v D700 comparisons, my gut feeling is that the D700 produces far more aesthetically pleasing noise than the D300 , the noise at high ISO from the D700 lacks the crisp / hard edge that the D300 produced at the same ISO settings. I regularly shoot at ISO 1600 with the D700 and don't think twice now about upping it to ISO 3200 if the light is woeful. The photo below was taken in very dim light, heavy overcast sky. I had my D700 set at ISO 3200, M, exposure compensator at 0.0 EV and quite a long exposure at 1/30th the photo is a resized for upload raw converted to jpeg with no other alteration. My D700 is set to NR 'normal' I avoid the 'high' setting as it creates havock with some of images - some of the time. The crop below is a 493 x 730 pixel take of the frame leg in shadow. I can live with the noise here. This is a typical result in poor light with my D700.
  11. crop of frame leg at 500 x 730 pixels
  12. High ISO images are usually retouched with noise reduction software, that`s the reason of most images that looks
    noise free. This and the performance of the D700 let you to have cleaner images at very high ISO. Also, you must be
    careful with exposure to avoid extra noise. Check the image below, I remember to choose between several bracketed
    images: differences on
    noise were so big
    between them. This one has been taken at 25600ISO, D700 +
    35/1.4 AiS (1/60-f4), at left it is a lighter:<p>
    <img src="http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00Q/00QMcj-61141684.jpg">
  13. The image above is a repost, it is on the PN database. I have already read in my original post that "...don`t trust the EXIF data on NX. The image has been certainly taken at Hi2, but NX shows 1600 ISO +2, don`t know why. NR off, D-light off..." Probably, it was opened in Capture NX.
  14. The camera is but a tool. Getting good high ISO results from the D700 requires shooting RAW and a little bit of work on your computer. I am not sure how the various advanced image processing programs handle HIGH ISO images as I only use DXO and CS3, but I can say DXO's latest release is extremely effective. It has been enhanced to process high ISO images (6400 and above) and actually does an incredible job. I am not suggesting anyone shoot at high ISO if you don't have to. As the ISO increases, dynamic range and color decline. But it is nice to know you can to a degree. I took the attached shot a couple of weeks ago at 2EV over ISO 6400 on the D3, 70-200mm lens at f2.8, 1/1000.
  15. Miles, the two images you posted—esp. the first one—were very extreme situations of the noise issue.

    The second image is actually pretty good. were you expecting a noise-free image at 6400? you could make a clean 8x10
    from that picture. hell i make 1600 raw images on my D2H for clients on occasion.

    High ISO works best if you know how to work it correctly.

    Elliot, I think you're getting horrible results at 6400. 2EV over? That's ridiculous. Your 6400 there looks like 125600. Yikes.
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I assume Elliot was using Hi 2, which apparently was what he meant by ISO 6400, 2 EV over, i.e. 25600.
  17. ah Shun, that makes more sense. I figured he was overexposing EV +2.0
  18. I had no idea the D700 and D3 were that much better at high ISOs than the D300 and D90. At least based on the tests on the link I posted. Of course, I would assume this is really a test of the camera system, as much as the sensor it's self.
  19. Miles, Unfortunately a lot of defending the noise capabilities of these cameras but no-one has as yet answered
    your question.

    I find your second image quite acceptable in terms of noise but to my eye slightly overexposed highlights. There
    is motion blur which hides the details, perhaps intentional, but makes it hard to determine the sharpness of the

    Typically I can get very good (up to A4 printing at home) D300 images at 3200ISO. I don't have a D700, but I get
    incredible images at 6400ISO from my D3. Here's what I've discovered.

    The trick seems to me that exposure has to be bang on. Unlike previous comments, the best performance can be
    acheived in camera, not by post processing.

    I did a lot of testing on this (in fact have a spreadsheet somewhere). I found that underexposure (to obtain
    faster shutter) up to 400ISO then using D Lighting/adjustments of around 1 1/3ev will produce better results than
    increasing ISO. As you start to go over 800ISO then don't underexpose, better to go up in terms of ISO than to
    adjust the shadows. At high ISO (let's say over 1600) anything more than a couple of % levels adjustment will
    result in significantly more noise, especially in the shadows, loss of contrast and colour. If you bracket, then
    take more images in smaller steps for less variance. Fortunately these cameras seem to deliver bang on exposure
    almost everytime. Finally check your RGB histograms to ensure you are not blowing highlights in the red channel,
    particularly from incandesent light sources or when using modes such as vivid.

    As a test, set ISO 6400 and take a picture using the flash or in bright daylight. Check the image for noise.

    Capture NX gives a real nice looking grain on noisy images but my favourite is to use Noise Ninja with the
    downloaded profiles for D3 and D300.

    Hope this helps!
  20. Thank you Paul. Alot of I cans but no here's how. I apprecialte the input. I have noticed that the better the exposure the more reduced the noise is. I wish that I didn't have to be so concerned with the nuances while I am getting shots on the fly though. Again thanks.
    Here's one more example of extreme. This was me and the boys a few nights ago on a gun run.
    Shot is handheld @ 12800 w/ 80-400 VR @400mm
  21. I don't think it loaded
  22. still won't load. Sorry

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