D500 - High ISO noise mystery

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RudyPohl Veteran Member • Posts: 5,826
D500 - High ISO noise mystery

I've just gotten my fiirst D500 (better late than never), and I am experimenting with high ISO images and have a mystery I'm hoping someone can solve for me.

I shot two images within seconds of each other of the same target on the same day under the same light conditions, one at ISO 16000 with exposure compensation +2 and the other at ISO6400 with exposure compensation +1. The in-camera High ISO NR setting is set the Normal. Both images here are Raw to Jpeg conversions in Adobe Camera Raw straight out of the camera with no processing done. See images below.

The mystery:
The noise level, quality and grain size is much better and easier to deal with in the higher ISO16000 image than the lower ISO6400 image. It should be the other way around.

1. Does anyone know why this is happening?

2. Do you think the +1 difference in exposure compensation is a factor?

Thanks very much,

ISO16000, 1/2500 sec., exposure compensation +2

ISO6400, 1/2500 sec., exposure compensation +1

Below is the ISO16000 with -1.5 stop exposure adjustment done in Adobe Camera Raw to bring to the same exposure level as the ISO6400 image. I did this to make the two images comparable for evaluating the noise in each.

ISO16000, 1/2500 sec., exposure compensation +2 (-1.5 exposure in Adobe Camera Raw)

Nikon D500
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