ISO 100 or ISO 200 on Nikon D80

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by willpridham, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. At the photo club I attend. I had a gentleman tell me that ISO 200 is a better setting to
    be using on the D80 than ISO 100. I haven't found any indication of this on the internet,
    with the exception of less highlight clipping at ISO 200 for the Nikon D300, however this
    camera uses a different processor.

    I've checked dpreview, fred mirada and bythom and I still can't find any indication of
    this. It just doesn't make sense to me.

    Can anyone shed light on this?
  2. I use the D200, which is a akin to the D80 in that regard. The extra sensitivity I gain by shooting at 200 helps assure a higher shutter speed and/or tighter aperture. Under many circumstances, the extra stop is well worth the truly miniscule difference in noise on well-exposed images. The perception of the image's quality can have more to do with reduced motion blur or a bit more depth of field. If I can improve that at the expense of going from ISO100 to ISO200, no harm done.
  3. Is it better image quality though? This was the discussion. He claimed that there was less noise.
  4. I've heard this before to, i forget when or where, but i dont buy it. So i tried a test, 2
    second exposure with the lens cap on in both iso 100 and 200. Then in photoshop I
    applied a ridiculously steep curve to exaggerate any noise. ISO 100 had almost zero
    noise, and the ISO 200 shot was speckled throughout the frame. I dont think long
    exposure Noise reduction kicks in at 2 seconds, but i might be wrong.
  5. False claim as far as i can tell, when i did a shoot out a year back they looked EXACTLY the same.
  6. I think it's likely that he's applying advice that's right for other models to the d80 incorrectly. On several newer Nikons, ISO 200 is the base ISO, and 100 is available as a special menu option. On those cameras, ISO 100 can allow a slower shutter for intentional motion blur, but at the expense of some image detail. However, the d80's base ISO _is_ 100, and you'll get the very _cleanest_ image at 100. The differences at ISO 200 are very slight, though, so as Matt said, if there's any benefit at all from increased shutter speed and/or tighter aperture, it's often a very good compromise. I regularly set my d80 on ISO 400 if I've got a telephoto lens attached or don't have access to a tripod.
  7. I own a D80. There is next to nothing in it, full stop really and like the above poster said worth it for the faster shutter speed e.t.c.

    I do though mainly shoot at 100 asa if I can. Old film habit.
  8. Slightly higher ISOs can bring out more detail in shadow areas.

    You should shoot at the correct ISO for the subject and lighting conditions you
    have. Higher is better than lower under many conditions.
  9. How exactly does a higher ISO bring out more detail besides making the sensor more sensitive to light. Couldn't you just leave the camera on a longer exposure on a tripod in order to compensate for the loss of detail in the shadows? I am confused as I have never heard this before for the D70/D80/ or even D200. I am hearing for the D300 though.

    "The base ISO value for any camera is where it gets the most dynamic range, least noise, and highest image quality, period." - Bythom

    By the way, I've contact Nikon in Canada (Mississauga office) and they said that they have heard of this but they can't substantiate it. According to their tests ISO 100 should give a better dynamic range.
  10. Elliot brought out a good point though and one I didn't clarify;

    "You should shoot at the correct ISO for the subject and lighting conditions you have."

    I absolutely agree, however, I should clarify that we were discussing landscape shooting at the meeting when this came up. If the difference in ISO 100 and 200 is so minuscule as everyone says it is, how is the detail in the shadows so much more evident?
  11. When I shot landscape with a D80, I always set ISO to 100. There were a couple reasons for this.

    First, I used a tripod. Therefore, longer exposures weren't a problem.

    Second, I found image quality deteriorated as ISO increased, especially in the shadows.

    My suggestion is do your own test. Set up a landscape shot with a tripod and set ISO to 100, 200, 400. Process the images and then do crops of the shadows. I found ISO 100 is the cleanest but 200 looks good compared to 400.

    However, if you don't use a tripod, I could see where the higher ISO may save a shot.
  12. Will, a while back I did a simple ISO test with one of my cameras. I took a picture of a chair positioned next to a wall. I took shots from ISO 100 up to ISO 1600. In each case, the chair was properly exposed but as the ISO increased, the detail in the shadow area behind the chair became more and more visible. There was a huge difference in detail in the shadow areas from the very low ISO shots to the much higher ISO shots.

    In dealing with landscape shots, there would likely be little difference in image quality shooting at ISO 100 or 200, or even 400 for that matter. I found when I turned the contrast down a bit on my D80 (custom settings), I was able to bring out a lot of the detail in the shadow areas.
  13. Thanks for the comment Elliot. In other words, what you are saying is that for landscape shooting it is a moot point, however, with other types of shooting such as macro or still-life it may be beneficial.

    I also turn down much of my settings on my D80 (saturation, contrast, sharpening, etc...) as I find that I can adjust those later. Its harder to fix than to create in someways.

    Do you have those shots still of the chair? What you are saying makes sense because of the level of close-up detail in a still-life or macro shot, especially with less light.
  14. The reason Elliot was seeing more detail in the shadows is because the image was getting noisier and had less dynamic range. If you're shooting JPG and don't want to post process to bring up the shadows a bit, maybe there would be a point to shooting at a higher ISO than you need to, but if you shoot RAW you can get a much cleaner image with more detail in the shadows by shooting at the correct(lowest) ISO and increasing them in your RAW conversion software.
  15. Another good point. I'll bring all these up at our next meeting. I learn a ton
    more everyday!
  16. Maybe I'm not seeing the difference because I only shoot RAW.
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If the objective is to decrease contrast in an image, raising the ISO sensitivity to achive it seems to be a very costly method since it has a lot of other negative side effects, as Thom Hogan points out.

    I always use the base ISO as much as possible, as long as I can maintain a reasonable shutter speed for the situation. But overall, it depends on the exact situation, camera as well as lens used. For example, if I am using a D2X, I would be reluctant to boost the ISO. On a D3, I don't mind using 1600 all that much.

    Will, you need to get the details and context from that gentleman.
    Otherwise, we can only make wild guesses on what he meant.
    He might have absolutely no idea what he is talking about or he has some very specific situation in mind.
  18. I use ISO 200 with the D80 only because my D50 and D300 start at ISO 200 and I don't
    want to change my thinking to accommodate ISO 100 in manual mode, my preferred
    mode. I read somewhere that ISO 200 was a little better than ISO 100 in the D80 and it
    does seem a little punchier and sharper but I've not done any formal testing. If I can fine
    the review that states this I post it.
  19. If your choice is no detail in a shadow area or a slightly noisy shadow area with detail, the choice seems obvious. The amount of noise in these areas depends on the camera's settings, lighting conditions and of course the camera. A D3 will obviously provide different results compared to the D80.

    When shooting high contrast outdoor shots with my D80, trees in direct sunlight where you would get deep shadows, for example, I found I was able to get very good detail in the shadow areas by adjusting the camera's settings. A camera's sensor is capable of recording the detail in shadow areas without blowing out highlights when the camera's controls are set correctly.

    Again, using the correct ISO for the situation and adjusting the camera's settings can help you get the picture to look the way you want it to.

    Your best way to find out for sure is to take some test shots and evaluate the results.
  20. With the D80, I shoot RAW and 400 almost exclusively. 400 because I feel like I'm being sloppy when shooting an SLR that's not on a tripod, so I give myself a few stops cushion. I have to admit, the D80 shoots steadier than I remember being able to shoot my F3, at say 1/15th. Old habits. Anyway, I haven't noticed any degradation in the image at 400, but I guess I'm going to have to test it now.
  21. LOL... Sorry for causing so much ruckus. Let me know how it goes Peter. I appreciate all the information I've gotten though.
  22. @Peter Mead - Using the ISO400 setting on the D80 introduces a lot of horrible looking electronic noise and reduces the detail. At least, on my sample it does. Are you sure you took a good look at the differences between ISO100 and ISO400? ISO100 produces the cleanest results, but somtimes creativity demands a higher ISO setting. If you have a professional lens, you can also open the aperture to compensate for the low ISO.

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