How far to push the ISO on the D800

Started Nov 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
Doublehelix
Contributing MemberPosts: 683Gear list
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Re: The higher the ISO the more critical is the exposure
In reply to olyflyer, Nov 29, 2012

olyflyer wrote:

Your images seems to be underexposed with bad WB, which is not good for noise and so, your images are noisier than I usually get with higher ISO. OK, I also shoot raw 14 bit, but if noise and IQ is important that's what should be used, not JPEG OOC.

I do actually shoot RAW as well as JPEG. These were the unprocessed JPGs as I mentioned, just so I could get something online quickly for this thread. I didn't even open lightroom, but just grabbed the JPGs in FastStone Image Viewer and resized/cropped. Took me all of about 4 minutes for all of the images. As was also mentioned, the WB was set to Auto, and needs adjustment as well, but I have never heard that this will effect the noise. I should have probably used a custom setting, but I think I have bigger fish to fry here.

My thoughts are that the biggest issue is the underexposure, which of course adds noise of its own, and then combined with the high ISO noise, it is not a good combination. In order to keep the fast shutter speeds of upwards of 1/1000, I have the lens wide open (f/2.8), and the ISO set at 3200, and the shots are *STILL UNDEREXPOSED*. There is not much else to do to get a good exposure other than to raise the ISO (more noise) or slow down the shutter speed (blurry images).

Volleyball is probably one of the most difficult sports to shoot, and if you go over to the "Sports and Action" forum here on DPReview, you will see that these types of results are fairly common. High shutter speeds, even with large apertures mean that must use high ISOs, and even at 3200 with these shots, you are still underexposed. If you are willing to put up with some blurriness, you can get a whole extra stop by going down to 1/500, but then you cannot freeze the action.

Some folks use prime lenses and go down to f/1.8 or f/1.4, but then you have DOF issues to worry about. If you look at the EXIF data on those images, you can see that I am usually out to 200mm (or close) already, so when you use a shorter prime lens (85 or 105 for example), then you will have to use a tight crop in PP which will show more noise than a downsized image.

It is really a tough, no-win situation in most gyms. There are some gyms where you have better light than others. This particular gym was one of the older ones (built in the 70's), and even with lighting upgrades, it is still pretty dark.

Without hi-jacking this thread any more than I already have, I just wanted to show some examples of the high ISO noise with the D800 in low light situations.

Here is a before/after comparisons one of those images after about 5 minutes worth of work in Lightroom, although I notice now that the crop is not so good on the quick edit... the girl in the green shirt has an OOF pole in her face that you can see in the zoomed in crop, but you get the idea. PP can help a lot...

Before:



BEFORE



AFTER

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James

 Doublehelix's gear list:Doublehelix's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G +2 more
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