ISO Sensitivity / Noise levels (contd.)

In-camera High ISO noise reduction

The D700 has four different levels of high ISO noise reduction (which are only applied at ISO 2000 or higher); Off, Low, Normal and High (with Normal as the default). High ISO noise reduction appears to work in the same way as on the Nikon D3 and Normal setting offers a good balance between keeping visible noise to a minimum and maintaining fine detail. The four settings provide a good range of options from very low to high enough to keep noise under control right up into the highest reaches of the ISO range.

At the highest settings (above ISO 6400) fine luminance detail is taking a more obvious hit due to the strength of the default noise reduction and you may want to switch down to 'Low' or even 'Off'. However, the best way of truly controlling noise reduction yourself is shooting RAW. This gives you the maximum amount of detail and the freedom to apply whatever noise reduction method you think is most up to the job. Note that even in the 'Off' position some NR is still applied to the JPEGs.

Indicated ISO sensitivity is on the horizontal axis of this graph, standard deviation of luminosity on the vertical axis (note that the standard deviation scale here has been extended 3x compared to the graphs on the previous page).

Noise reduction crop comparisons (ISO 3200 - 25,600)

ISO 3200
NR Off
ISO 3200
NR Low
ISO 3200
NR Normal
ISO 3200
NR High
ISO 6400
NR Off
ISO 6400
NR Low
ISO 6400
NR Normal
ISO 6400
NR High
ISO 12,800
NR Off
ISO 12,800
NR Low
ISO 12,800
NR Normal
ISO 12,800
NR High
ISO 25,600
NR Off
ISO 25,600
NR Low
ISO 25,600
NR Normal
ISO 25,600
NR High