D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400

Started Apr 1, 2013 | Discussions
RudyPohl
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D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
Apr 1, 2013

In order to test my new D7100 the staff at our local camera store agreed to let me shoot and share their portraits. The lighting was a mixture of overhead florescent and natural light coming in the storefront windows. The images were shot at ISO 1600, 2200, 3200, 6400. I left the WB on auto figuring it could do a better job than I could in the mixed lighting.

Images were shot in RAW, converted to JPEG in View NX2, lightly processed in Photoshop CS5. The lens was the Nikon 70-300 G VR.

Rudy

ISO 1600

ISO 2200

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

Nikon D7100
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Sensei Mike
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

Hi Rudy, these shoots look good to me which makes me happy because this is the set up Ill be using.

How do you feel about the these shots?

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dzajba
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to Sensei Mike, Apr 1, 2013

TBH on 100% view they look abysmal:/

I know it's 24 mpix and these probably should be zoomed in that much, but there is a substantial loss of detail even at ISO 1600.

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RudyPohl
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to Sensei Mike, Apr 1, 2013

Sensei Mike wrote:

Hi Rudy, these shoots look good to me which makes me happy because this is the set up Ill be using.

How do you feel about the these shots?

Hi Mike:

In a nutshell, I feel pretty good about these images, I can definitely live with them for my limited uses.

I returned to photography last September after a many-year absence and have discovered a real liking for wildlife photography, so probably 80-90% of all my shots are or birds and animals. However, I do like shooting people and fast-moving outdoor sports in particular (especially men's rugby).

So, while portraiture is not my thing, I do want this camera to be able to take reasonably good-quality facial close-ups under a variety of lighting conditions, some demanding. I figure that if faces can come out as well as these have at higher ISO levels then under more controlled lighting they would be even better.

Rudy

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FoolyCooly
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

@ 100% everything looks like watercolor. I personally would rather see film-like grain instead of smooth mush. I think you need to scale back your NR in post.

*These are fine for shared 1200 pixel digital files and small print but they will look terrible printed at anything larger than 8x10.

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RudyPohl
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to dzajba, Apr 1, 2013

dzajba wrote:

TBH on 100% view they look abysmal:/

I know it's 24 mpix and these probably should be zoomed in that much, but there is a substantial loss of detail even at ISO 1600.

Hi dzaiba: All I can say is "it is what it is"....

I always post full-size test images so that I and others can evaluate them at 100%. I took several dozen of these images of the staff at the camera store at various ISO settings and chose the best ones to process and post here. There wasn't much involved regarding my technique, I needed to stay out of the way of customers and shoot on the fly from a distance. So this is what this camera and this lens was able to produce under these shooting conditions.

If you and others conclude that the IQ for these conditions is abysmal, well then I guess it is.

Thanks for your forthright opinion.

Rudy

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RudyPohl
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to FoolyCooly, Apr 1, 2013

FoolyCooly wrote:

@ 100% everything looks like watercolor. I personally would rather see film-like grain instead of smooth mush. I think you need to scale back your NR in post.

*These are fine for shared 1200 pixel digital files and small print but they will look terrible printed at anything larger than 8x10.

Hi FoolyCooly:

Agreed, pretty crappy looking at 100%. I'll post a RAW image with no NR shortly.

Rudy

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RudyPohl
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Re: D7100 - Face close-up RAW ISO 6400, zero NR or sharpening
In reply to FoolyCooly, Apr 1, 2013

OK, here's the RAW file at ISO 6400 converted in View NX2 with no PPing except for adjusting the brightness levels.

Rudy

ISO 6400 RAW no PPing

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Brev00
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

Anything shot with a D7100 is of high interest these days.  I guess you are trying to get a real life set of images for all of us to study, but, I think your choice of lens for this setting is pretty obscure.  If you were using a 50/85 prime or a 17-50 type zoom, I could understand the usefulness of the set.  But, shooting at 300mm indoors wide open is just not a common occurrence.  A variable aperture lens is going to struggle so why put that distraction into a series of test shots of a camera?  A frog won't swim well in boiling water.

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Mako2011
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In reply to Brev00, Apr 1, 2013

Brev00 wrote:

Anything shot with a D7100 is of high interest these days.  I guess you are trying to get a real life set of images for all of us to study, but, I think your choice of lens for this setting is pretty obscure.  If you were using a 50/85 prime or a 17-50 type zoom, I could understand the usefulness of the set.  But, shooting at 300mm indoors wide open is just not a common occurrence.

I often shoot wide open with a long lens at events. It helps when your unable to close the distance and still shoot this type of compositions.  I'm thinking this is fine. Might event be the only lens he had so still a valuable contribution to the forum. Perhaps not common but why would we want to only see common examples. In the next few months we will see a thousand D7100 portraits with "traditional" lens...I enjoy an example that pushes the limits a bit. Especially at the worst end of that lens...helps determine if pro glass is really needed.

A variable aperture lens is going to struggle so why put that distraction into a series of test shots of a camera?  A frog won't swim well in boiling water.

When preparing the frog for the table...his ability to swim doesn't always have to enter into it

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scokill
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to FoolyCooly, Apr 1, 2013

Those look pretty bad and poorly processed for whatever reason.

SOOC at 3200 on my quick indoor test and a couple of tests at 10,000 (hi .5)

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Brev00
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Re: Still welcome.
In reply to Mako2011, Apr 1, 2013

Mako2011 wrote:

Brev00 wrote:

Anything shot with a D7100 is of high interest these days.  I guess you are trying to get a real life set of images for all of us to study, but, I think your choice of lens for this setting is pretty obscure.  If you were using a 50/85 prime or a 17-50 type zoom, I could understand the usefulness of the set.  But, shooting at 300mm indoors wide open is just not a common occurrence.

I often shoot wide open with a long lens at events. It helps when your unable to close the distance and still shoot this type of compositions.  I'm thinking this is fine. Might event be the only lens he had so still a valuable contribution to the forum. Perhaps not common but why would we want to only see common examples.

What I attempted to say is that I would like to see a lens selected for these shots that would be able to better bridge the gap between the lighting and the camera.  There is so much noise in these images, I am not even sure they are focused correctly on the subjects.  A slow lens will often miss focus in poor lighting (I should know) creating even more noise in the expanded out of focus area.  So, what I think we are seeing are more the limitations of the lens.

In the next few months we will see a thousand D7100 portraits with "traditional" lens...I enjoy an example that pushes the limits a bit. Especially at the worst end of that lens...helps determine if pro glass is really needed.

If I were determining a lens purchase from these shots, I would be selling all my variable aperture lenses and getting the trinity or primes.  Tomorrow (I think B & H is closed one more day for Passover).

A variable aperture lens is going to struggle so why put that distraction into a series of test shots of a camera?  A frog won't swim well in boiling water.

When preparing the frog for the table...his ability to swim doesn't always have to enter into it

Touche!

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lock
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substantial NR
In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

Way too much for my taste.

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In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

I can see the nr artifacts. Her hair is more like a curtain sticking to her head.

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TylerQ
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

I don't see anything wrong with these images. For crying out loud! 6400 ISO and such nice results? What do you all expect anyway? Try doing this with a Nikon D1 or D1X from 10 years ago. It's amazing what quality you can get from high ISO images with not only the D7100 but the D7000. But then when you came from a film background and used to shoot Tri-X pushed to 1600, grain is no big deal.

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RudyPohl
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

Hi folks:

Thanks for your forthright remarks above..., please say whatever is on your mind, I want real feedback not baby food.

The reason I used this lens - the Nikon 70-300 VR - is because this is the only I own right now, and will be for a while yet, I suspect. I chose to buy ithis particular one because it's many glowing reviews say it is the best consumer-grade lens available.

I wouldn't for a moment think that this lens could even begin to compare with any quality pro lens, however, it is marketed as a good quality lens that can give reasonably good results under most circumstances so I'm try to determine whether that is actually the case.

So, despite the weakness of the lens, can anyone recommend an approach to post processing that would help mitigate the IQ issues seen in the RAW file?

Thanks again,

Rudy

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scokill
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to TylerQ, Apr 1, 2013

TylerQ wrote:

I don't see anything wrong with these images. For crying out loud! 6400 ISO and such nice results? What do you all expect anyway? Try doing this with a Nikon D1 or D1X from 10 years ago. It's amazing what quality you can get from high ISO images with not only the D7100 but the D7000. But then when you came from a film background and used to shoot Tri-X pushed to 1600, grain is no big deal.

I agree, but something is up with these.  But I have been thinking that same way recently.  I have a bunch of photos on my HD that I've thought are either too noisy, or this or that and my daughter is putting together a scrapbook of dance photos and took a bunch and printed them out at CVS.  I had no idea and would have spent time cropping, etc.  While they are small prints, they look great  as they are.

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joeyv
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

Looks horrible because of too much NR. Can evaluate the camera better if the samples are w/o NR.

Thanks.

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mosswings
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

RudyPohl wrote:

Hi folks:

Thanks for your forthright remarks above..., please say whatever is on your mind, I want real feedback not baby food.

The reason I used this lens - the Nikon 70-300 VR - is because this is the only I own right now, and will be for a while yet, I suspect. I chose to buy ithis particular one because it's many glowing reviews say it is the best consumer-grade lens available.

I wouldn't for a moment think that this lens could even begin to compare with any quality pro lens, however, it is marketed as a good quality lens that can give reasonably good results under most circumstances so I'm try to determine whether that is actually the case.

So, despite the weakness of the lens, can anyone recommend an approach to post processing that would help mitigate the IQ issues seen in the RAW file?

Thanks again,

Rudy

Let me reset the discussion a bit.  We are talking about ISO1600-6400 in a DX sensor. And the images are still pretty dang good.  You are attempting to take pictures in a dimly lit environment with a lens that is too slow for the task and as a consequence are not operating it at its peak sharpness point nor at the correct shutterspeed to stop subject motion.  That the 70-300 gets soft beyond 220 is also a factor here.

So overall, the pictures look dim, dingy, and with poor contrast.  A lot of that is just the lighting. Here's a shot I took with this camera in not much better conditions with similar shutterspeed restrictions because I wouldn't go beyond ISO 800 in my D90.  You can see similar qualities in the capture:

On the other hand, zoom in to the water droplets on the flowers and you'll see about as much detail as one can expect from a D90 with an 18-105 lens.  The shutterspeed and ISO all worked really well here.  Yes, I was at low ISO, but there wasn't any room for subject motion, and the light was just bright enough to pop the details.

Your 1st and 4th shots show clear subject or camera motion.  In the eyes of the 3rd shot's subject and in the details of the 2nd shot subject's glasses, a surprising amount of detail and quality.  That they're taken at ISO 1600 and 3200 wide open with not the best lens is pretty amazing.

The main problem with these images that I can see is white balance and lack of spot metering on the subject's face, coupled with too slow of a shutterspeed.  I would not use anything less than 1/(2*FL) for any critical shot.  For your 300mm shots, this means 1/600 second. Only in the 4th shot are you coming close to that.  And only in that shot would I say that the IQ and actutance is becoming substantially worse.  I'm dang impressed with the ISO 3200 performance.  That also happens to be the best lit shot of the series.

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mistermejia
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Re: D7100 - Face close-ups test images, harsh lighting, ISO 1600-6400
In reply to RudyPohl, Apr 1, 2013

RudyPohl wrote:

Hi folks:

Thanks for your forthright remarks above..., please say whatever is on your mind, I want real feedback not baby food.

The reason I used this lens - the Nikon 70-300 VR - is because this is the only I own right now, and will be for a while yet, I suspect. I chose to buy ithis particular one because it's many glowing reviews say it is the best consumer-grade lens available.

I wouldn't for a moment think that this lens could even begin to compare with any quality pro lens, however, it is marketed as a good quality lens that can give reasonably good results under most circumstances so I'm try to determine whether that is actually the case.

So, despite the weakness of the lens, can anyone recommend an approach to post processing that would help mitigate the IQ issues seen in the RAW file?

Thanks again,

Rudy

Yikes!!  Ayayai mama mia!!  Not the nicest looking photos (skin)

I will bet that most likely is not the lens, but that Toshiba sensor, but then again i am not surprised at all being a previous D7000 owner.  I rather see more grain then that way too smooth fake skin look.  I bet is that sensor.  If i am wrong i am buying pizza for everyone here!

Rudy, do you have one or two photos that you might have taken at lower ISO that you can post?

Thanks.

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