Z7 auto ISO seems seriously flawed

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
OP j2scriba New Member • Posts: 6
Re: OP long gone...
1

Hello,

no I'm not gone, just have some work to do from time to time.

Didn't mean to "stir controversy". Haven't really used auto ISO on my D3, D4 etc., so it's interesting to find out this seems to have been the conventional implementation for a long time. I think I explained why I used the settings and why I would expect the camera to respect the limits I set manually with (what I felt was) good reasons.

Thanks to everybody who gave the issue serious thought. If anyone feels the need to make this a controversy or launch into a philosophical discussion about confused OPs or why these settings would even make sense, I'm sorry I won't be available to respond to each of them.

Thanks.

OP j2scriba New Member • Posts: 6
Re: then don't use it

Thanks to you, Peter, in particular for giving the matter some thought rather than assuming I didn't know what I was talking about. You seem to agree that there is no other setting which would achieve what I was trying to achieve but just a couple of work-arounds.

I will probably use M 2/250 with fixed ISO as a an alternative "dark mode" and push the pictures in post. I had hoped I could find some semi-automatic setting that would prevent me from having to fiddle with camera settings while driving a car.

And before someone points it out: Getting out of a car gets you "better" pictures, but in this case I'm pursuing an artist concept that's precisely about bad pictures from a moving car.

giarc
giarc Contributing Member • Posts: 694
Re: Z7 auto ISO seems seriously flawed
2

j2scriba wrote:

giarc wrote:

Cameras are tools, don't blame your tools, make them work for you.

Exactly!

I want the tool to behave the way I set it up to work and not do what it thinks is best for me. I'm not trying to make it do magic. To me, the behaviour I have would have expected seems pretty logical.

Yeah, fair enough. I think in an auto mode they shouldn’t do nothing and get the exposure wrong, so busting the ISO ceiling or minimum shutter speed are the options. Personally, I think they got the decision right; it is after all an ISO setting, with a minimum shutter speed attached. But that’s just my opinion 😁

The important thing is to know how the camera will behave. Agreeing with Nikon’s decision here is beside the point.  Expecting the camera to do what seems obvious and right to me has led to more bad shots than I care to contemplate. I personally find NOT letting the camera make too many decisions about such things suits me best( manual mode, and AUTO ISO with an acceptable max). What works for me doesn’t always work for others.

michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 13,392
Re: then don't use it

j2scriba wrote:

Thanks to you, Peter, in particular for giving the matter some thought rather than assuming I didn't know what I was talking about. You seem to agree that there is no other setting which would achieve what I was trying to achieve but just a couple of work-arounds.

I will probably use M 2/250 with fixed ISO as a an alternative "dark mode" and push the pictures in post. I had hoped I could find some semi-automatic setting that would prevent me from having to fiddle with camera settings while driving a car.

And before someone points it out: Getting out of a car gets you "better" pictures, but in this case I'm pursuing an artist concept that's precisely about bad pictures from a moving car.

Something to think about...

If you're going to go with the option of underexposing and then pushing your photos in post then there is really no reason to not simply set a higher max ISO to begin with.

The sensor is pretty much ISO invariant past ISO 800.  You're going to get roughly the same amount of noise in the image by pushing in post that you would get by shooting at a higher ISO and not pushing in post.

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Mike Dawson

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OP j2scriba New Member • Posts: 6
Re: then don't use it

I would disagree, and that’s precisely why I brought this up:

Indeed, bringing up shadows in post gives you very much the same results as boosting ISO in camera. BUT with uniform high ISO the camera blows out the highlights in a predominantly dark scene. In my experience, that’s unrecoverable in post. But you can boost the shadows in post with no disadvantage over higher ISO in camera.

That’s why I’m unhappy that the auto settings prevents me from accepting seemingly underexposed pictures to recover in post in favor for either blown-out or motion-blurred captures which cannot be fixed.

I tried to explain this motivation in my original post, however most replies seemed eager to to address presumed OP confusion or defend Nikon in some perceived “controversy”. I learned that the auto ISO behavior seems to be a historical relict of giving auto mode users some kind of average proper exposure. Unfortunately, the seemingly advanced settings which non-average users might benefit from are rendered useless by this historic strategy.

olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 3,743
Re: then don't use it
6

j2scriba wrote:

I would disagree, and that’s precisely why I brought this up:

Indeed, bringing up shadows in post gives you very much the same results as boosting ISO in camera. BUT with uniform high ISO the camera blows out the highlights in a predominantly dark scene.

  • If the highlights blow out, you don't meter correctly. In such a scene you should use either highlight priority metering (provided Nikon Z has that) or spot metering (which most cameras has). Alternatively you can use exposure compensating using the histogram as a guide.

In my experience, that’s unrecoverable in post. But you can boost the shadows in post with no disadvantage over higher ISO in camera.

That’s why I’m unhappy that the auto settings prevents me from accepting seemingly underexposed pictures to recover in post in favor for either blown-out or motion-blurred captures which cannot be fixed.

I tried to explain this motivation in my original post, however most replies seemed eager to to address presumed OP confusion or defend Nikon in some perceived “controversy”. I learned that the auto ISO behavior seems to be a historical relict of giving auto mode users some kind of average proper exposure. Unfortunately, the seemingly advanced settings which non-average users might benefit from are rendered useless by this historic strategy.

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briantilley
briantilley Veteran Member • Posts: 4,317
Re: then don't use it
2

olstrup wrote:

j2scriba wrote:

I would disagree, and that’s precisely why I brought this up:

Indeed, bringing up shadows in post gives you very much the same results as boosting ISO in camera. BUT with uniform high ISO the camera blows out the highlights in a predominantly dark scene.

If the highlights blow out, you don't meter correctly. In such a scene you should use either highlight priority metering (provided Nikon Z has that)

Yes, the Z6 and Z7 do offer Highlight-weighted Metering.

or spot metering (which most cameras has). Alternatively you can use exposure compensating using the histogram as a guide.

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FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 7,957
A few points
2

j2scriba wrote:

I would disagree, and that’s precisely why I brought this up:

Indeed, bringing up shadows in post gives you very much the same results as boosting ISO in camera.

Not quite.  Raising ISO from 100 to 800 will give shadows 1 and 1/6 stop less noise than boosting them in post. See this chart . However, if you are already at or above ISO 800, boosting ISO more won't help shadows relative to post-processing.

BUT with uniform high ISO the camera blows out the highlights in a predominantly dark scene.

if you have metered and set EC in such a way that lets it do so. I get it that shooting ahead from a fast-moving vehicle may not let you ETTR.

In my experience, that’s unrecoverable in post. But you can boost the shadows in post with no disadvantage over higher ISO in camera.

That’s why I’m unhappy that the auto settings prevents me from accepting seemingly underexposed pictures to recover in post in favor for either blown-out or motion-blurred captures which cannot be fixed.

Autoexposure modes on all cameras are intended to give you images that are too dark only if you tell them to do so by setting negative EC.

I tried to explain this motivation in my original post, however most replies seemed eager to to address presumed OP confusion or defend Nikon in some perceived “controversy”. I learned that the auto ISO behavior seems to be a historical relict of giving auto mode users some kind of average proper exposure.

That's what they have been intended to do ever since they were introduced half a century ago.

Unfortunately, the seemingly advanced settings which non-average users might benefit from are rendered useless by this historic strategy.

I don't find Nikon's approach useless. It just doesn't do what you want it to do. It would be nice if Nikon and other makers added the option to let teh user designate the the minimum shutter speed as a hard limit. It would not be nice if they switched behaviour so it always was a hard limit. Some people want an autoexposure mode to always be an autoexposure mode.

mcabato Senior Member • Posts: 2,116
Re: then don't use it
4

So, could you explain to me why not use M combined with autoiso plus exposure compensation if necessary?

That‘s my standard combination.

Br gusti

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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,068
Re: then don't use it

j2scriba wrote:

I would disagree, and that’s precisely why I brought this up:

Indeed, bringing up shadows in post gives you very much the same results as boosting ISO in camera. BUT with uniform high ISO the camera blows out the highlights in a predominantly dark scene. In my experience, that’s unrecoverable in post. But you can boost the shadows in post with no disadvantage over higher ISO in camera.

That’s why I’m unhappy that the auto settings prevents me from accepting seemingly underexposed pictures to recover in post in favor for either blown-out or motion-blurred captures which cannot be fixed.

I tried to explain this motivation in my original post, however most replies seemed eager to to address presumed OP confusion or defend Nikon in some perceived “controversy”. I learned that the auto ISO behavior seems to be a historical relict of giving auto mode users some kind of average proper exposure. Unfortunately, the seemingly advanced settings which non-average users might benefit from are rendered useless by this historic strategy.

I think more people are doing what you want to do than maybe it seems from this thread. In my theater work for example, I typically "underexpose" (including consideration of iso) for the same reasons as you describe: it is much safer to lift images in post production than to be struggling to recover blown highlights.

It's the approach that differs from want you want, that is M mode with fixed shutter and aperture, and auto-iso. As for protecting highlights. this is a matter of how the camera metering is applied as much as anything else.

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olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 26,659
Re: then don't use it
6

j2scriba wrote:

I would disagree, and that’s precisely why I brought this up:

Indeed, bringing up shadows in post gives you very much the same results as boosting ISO in camera. BUT with uniform high ISO the camera blows out the highlights in a predominantly dark scene. In my experience, that’s unrecoverable in post. But you can boost the shadows in post with no disadvantage over higher ISO in camera.

That’s why I’m unhappy that the auto settings prevents me from accepting seemingly underexposed pictures to recover in post in favor for either blown-out or motion-blurred captures which cannot be fixed.

I tried to explain this motivation in my original post, however most replies seemed eager to to address presumed OP confusion or defend Nikon in some perceived “controversy”. I learned that the auto ISO behavior seems to be a historical relict of giving auto mode users some kind of average proper exposure. Unfortunately, the seemingly advanced settings which non-average users might benefit from are rendered useless by this historic strategy.

Nobody is "defending" Nikon, but really, the camera offers so many possibilities that if it is not enough for you then it's your skills which must be improved the first place. It is obvious that you misunderstood how Auto ISO is working, I gave you a good description but it seems to have been waste of time to post it.

You have also been given many alternative advices, none of them are good enough for you, you are only looking for support of your own whining.

Anyway, if you think the Nikon auto ISO implementation is faulty then contact Nikon. Maybe they will listen to you, if you can convince them. Here is the link:

https://www.nikonimgsupport.com/eu/BV_ask_support?ctry=GB&lang=en_GB

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olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 3,743
Re: then don't use it
6

olyflyer wrote:

.... but really, the camera offers so many possibilities that if it is not enough for you then it's your skills which must be improved the first place.

+1.

I have owned and used cameras for more than 50 years and I have yet to see a camera which doesn't have quirks necessitating workarounds - as seen from my personal perspective. But cameras are factory products and not custom builds and it's impossible to please everybody 100%.

As Alfred Eisenstaedt said: "Good pictures doesn't come from fancy gear - good pictures are the result of the photographers ability to be ressorceful with whatever gear he has". It has never been easier to be ressourceful than it is with present day cameras.

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Denny Smith 16 Contributing Member • Posts: 638
Re: then don't use it
3

Absolutely, right on... truer words have never been spoken. I have seen great photos taken with what amounts to a box camera, when it is in the right hands.
Cheers

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Peter v.d Werf Contributing Member • Posts: 744
Re: then don't use it

olstrup wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

.... but really, the camera offers so many possibilities that if it is not enough for you then it's your skills which must be improved the first place.

+1.

I have owned and used cameras for more than 50 years and I have yet to see a camera which doesn't have quirks necessitating workarounds - as seen from my personal perspective.

As Alfred Eisenstaedt said: "Good pictures doesn't come from fancy gear - good pictures are the result of the photographers ability to be ressorceful with whatever gear he has". It has never been easier to be ressourceful than it is with present day cameras.

-1

If everyone thought like mr Eisenstaedt, then probably there would not have been any progress in camera gear development in the last 50 years as we'd all be stuck improving on our skills working with camera's as where available in the early 1900's.... Or perhaps in your 50 years or camera experience you indeed have only worked with those, could be of course....

But cameras are factory products and not custom builds and it's impossible to please everybody 100%.

Sounds like something mr. Eisenstaedt could have said;-). But really, I really hope that the fact that something is a mass production or factory product, does not limit or prohibit users from making comments how things work or come up with suggestions on what they think should improve....

Isn't that exactly what (should) drive improvements? Perhaps imagine that other users have other requirements and would prefer to have something changed/improved. The fact that it's not relevant for your usage, should not automatically invalidate another users requirements.
But perhaps mr. Eisenstaedt has another view, quote or experience on that;-)

I've had multiple situations where at first I thought a new feature or function would not apply for me, but once using it, is did improve my workflow or improve quality..

olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 3,743
Re: then don't use it
2

Peter v.d Werf wrote:

olstrup wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

.... but really, the camera offers so many possibilities that if it is not enough for you then it's your skills which must be improved the first place.

+1.

I have owned and used cameras for more than 50 years and I have yet to see a camera which doesn't have quirks necessitating workarounds - as seen from my personal perspective.

As Alfred Eisenstaedt said: "Good pictures doesn't come from fancy gear - good pictures are the result of the photographers ability to be ressorceful with whatever gear he has". It has never been easier to be ressourceful than it is with present day cameras.

-1

If everyone thought like mr Eisenstaedt, then probably there would not have been any progress in camera gear development in the last 50 years as we'd all be stuck improving on our skills working with camera's as where available in the early 1900's.... Or perhaps in your 50 years or camera experience you indeed have only worked with those, could be of course....

But cameras are factory products and not custom builds and it's impossible to please everybody 100%.

Sounds like something mr. Eisenstaedt could have said;-). But really, I really hope that the fact that something is a mass production or factory product, does not limit or prohibit users from making comments how things work or come up with suggestions on what they think should improve....

Isn't that exactly what (should) drive improvements? Perhaps imagine that other users have other requirements and would prefer to have something changed/improved. The fact that it's not relevant for your usage, should not automatically invalidate another users requirements.
But perhaps mr. Eisenstaedt has another view, quote or experience on that;-)

I've had multiple situations where at first I thought a new feature or function would not apply for me, but once using it, is did improve my workflow or improve quality..

I think you have misunderstood my point. In fact, I don't think we disagree much. I am not at all against technical progress and I take advantage of it myself. I have "upgraded" my camera gear regularly through the years. I'm not against a camera having features I don't need - I just don't use them then. I do appreciate people who suggest this or that improvement.

You may notice that I wrote that the modern cameras has made it easier than ever to be resourceful as a photographer. That is not an expression of a luddite view. On the contrary, it's acknowledging the technical progress.

What I react against are blanket statements like "seriously flawed", "bug", "what did they think", "deal breaker" and the like as we see quite often on these fora - and people who gets offended and defensive when somebody expresses a different view. One person wants something, another person think it's a bad idea. Most often we can't get our wishes fulfilled 100% with industrial products so out of necessity we have to adapt a little.

And oh, I do think Alfred Eisenstaedt had a point. I don't know if you know who he was. He was one of the Life photographers. He's the one who shot the famous picture of the marine soldier kissing a nurse during a ticker tape parade at the end of WWII. He didn't oppose technical progress. He embraced the advent of the Leica camera around 1930 and immediately saw its advantage for a travelling photographer. He grabbed the new pictoral opportunities when the first Leica Super Angulon 21mm was introduced. He was one of the first to have a Leica with the Leicavit rapid winder. But he also knew that if he wasn't able to see see the picture opportunities with the gear at hand , no gear - simple or fancy - would shoot good pictures. But of course, good gear made his professional life easier.

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olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 26,659
Re: then don't use it
1

olstrup wrote:

What I react against are blanket statements like "seriously flawed", "bug", "what did they think", "deal breaker" and the like as we see quite often on these fora - and people who gets offended and defensive when somebody expresses a different view.

Exactly. When I hear or read those words I just laugh, because most of the times it's obvious that what's "seriously flawed" is the person making such statements.

One person wants something, another person think it's a bad idea. Most often we can't get our wishes fulfilled 100% with industrial products so out of necessity we have to adapt a little.

Technically it is possible to parametrize almost any individual needs or wishes, but it would make a camera so expensive and so complex that nobody would buy it. It would also require a serious programmer just to get started and configure to your needs.

Yes, industrial products are full of compromises. They must be sellable and good enough but we will always be required to adjust ourselves to some degree if we want to use the products. This is the case for everything we use in life. Nothing is perfect and we can always find something to whine about.

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Peter v.d Werf Contributing Member • Posts: 744
Re: then don't use it

olstrup wrote:

Peter v.d Werf wrote:

olstrup wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

.... but really, the camera offers so many possibilities that if it is not enough for you then it's your skills which must be improved the first place.

+1.

I have owned and used cameras for more than 50 years and I have yet to see a camera which doesn't have quirks necessitating workarounds - as seen from my personal perspective.

As Alfred Eisenstaedt said: "Good pictures doesn't come from fancy gear - good pictures are the result of the photographers ability to be ressorceful with whatever gear he has". It has never been easier to be ressourceful than it is with present day cameras.

-1

If everyone thought like mr Eisenstaedt, then probably there would not have been any progress in camera gear development in the last 50 years as we'd all be stuck improving on our skills working with camera's as where available in the early 1900's.... Or perhaps in your 50 years or camera experience you indeed have only worked with those, could be of course....

But cameras are factory products and not custom builds and it's impossible to please everybody 100%.

Sounds like something mr. Eisenstaedt could have said;-). But really, I really hope that the fact that something is a mass production or factory product, does not limit or prohibit users from making comments how things work or come up with suggestions on what they think should improve....

Isn't that exactly what (should) drive improvements? Perhaps imagine that other users have other requirements and would prefer to have something changed/improved. The fact that it's not relevant for your usage, should not automatically invalidate another users requirements.
But perhaps mr. Eisenstaedt has another view, quote or experience on that;-)

I've had multiple situations where at first I thought a new feature or function would not apply for me, but once using it, is did improve my workflow or improve quality..

I think you have misunderstood my point. In fact, I don't think we disagree much.

Thanks for you additions, I might have jumped to conclusions then, my apologies. And while I share the OP's findings/expectations, choosing indeed wording like seriously flawed etc is not very inviting on a forum for an open discussion and can get heated up more quickly.

Anyway, I'll leave this thread, took some interesting findings and new information from it and moving on;-)

olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 3,743
Re: then don't use it

Peter v.d Werf wrote:

olstrup wrote:

Peter v.d Werf wrote:

olstrup wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

.... but really, the camera offers so many possibilities that if it is not enough for you then it's your skills which must be improved the first place.

+1.

I have owned and used cameras for more than 50 years and I have yet to see a camera which doesn't have quirks necessitating workarounds - as seen from my personal perspective.

As Alfred Eisenstaedt said: "Good pictures doesn't come from fancy gear - good pictures are the result of the photographers ability to be ressorceful with whatever gear he has". It has never been easier to be ressourceful than it is with present day cameras.

-1

If everyone thought like mr Eisenstaedt, then probably there would not have been any progress in camera gear development in the last 50 years as we'd all be stuck improving on our skills working with camera's as where available in the early 1900's.... Or perhaps in your 50 years or camera experience you indeed have only worked with those, could be of course....

But cameras are factory products and not custom builds and it's impossible to please everybody 100%.

Sounds like something mr. Eisenstaedt could have said;-). But really, I really hope that the fact that something is a mass production or factory product, does not limit or prohibit users from making comments how things work or come up with suggestions on what they think should improve....

Isn't that exactly what (should) drive improvements? Perhaps imagine that other users have other requirements and would prefer to have something changed/improved. The fact that it's not relevant for your usage, should not automatically invalidate another users requirements.
But perhaps mr. Eisenstaedt has another view, quote or experience on that;-)

I've had multiple situations where at first I thought a new feature or function would not apply for me, but once using it, is did improve my workflow or improve quality..

I think you have misunderstood my point. In fact, I don't think we disagree much.

Thanks for you additions, I might have jumped to conclusions then, my apologies. And while I share the OP's findings/expectations, choosing indeed wording like seriously flawed etc is not very inviting on a forum for an open discussion and can get heated up more quickly.

Anyway, I'll leave this thread, took some interesting findings and new information from it and moving on;-)

Thanks for your reply. It's OK. All the best.

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