D700 help needed. High ISO concern.

Started Jan 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
Luke Kaven Veteran Member • Posts: 5,705
Re: D700 help needed. High ISO concern. *Samples*

I can say that I had the D3 and used it heavily in low light and in the theater and performance situations a lot. I've seen this blue pattern noise before, but I'm not sure I saw it this severe.

The D3/D700 sensor has issues with blooming, as you noted before. This is not a case of blooming as you say. But it also has serious issues with pattern noise. ISO6400 was marginal for me. I could excuse the amount of pattern noise that I saw at ISO6400 just so long as I did not try to boost the gain any further. There's no margin with this camera. Above ISO6400, it's all over.

The issues of pattern noise (and blooming) were entirely fixed with the D3s, a wonderful and compliant camera. I could shoot in the theater at least to ISO12800, and I could boost a bit beyond that. No pattern noise. A little speckling, but that was easy to fix. The D4 is just a bit better, especially in retaining color at those gain levels.

It might be helpful to ask what the exposure-equivalent was used for the first performance image, just to know at what point the (otherwise) expected pattern noise is emerging for you. If this is all at ISO6400 straight through, then you are seeing too much. To my eye, it looks like you are a little closer to ISO12800, due to the small dynamic range. [In a practical sense, if you are only experiencing this at levels over ISO6400 equiv, then Nikon will tell you that this is normal. They do not certify the behavior of the camera over ISO6400.]

If I knew a little more about your settings and raw workflow, I could tell you how to avoid it or suppress it. There are ways I've found. The best solution though was a D3s. The D7k (along with the D600/800) uses a later generation Sony Exmor sensor that does not have problems with pattern noise. (It has problems with thermal noise, but that's another story.)

As much as pattern noise plagued this sensor, it was much better than any other sensor of the day, including the Canon sensor. The D3s was a real breakthrough that set a new standard.

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