Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
Jerry Fisher Senior Member • Posts: 1,102
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
3

I try to stay away from auto ISO. It always tends to run up .  If you want to stay in a usable range, put in a limit auto ISO will stop at.  Maybe 1600 is your comfort level, maybe 400.  Practice. You'll get it dialed in.

Take some pics and see where you are comfortable as your max auto ISO setting.

The Z6 should tolerate higher iso better than the D300.

Z6 takes a little time to get used to coming from a DSLR.

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David Lumsden
David Lumsden Senior Member • Posts: 1,275
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
10

Your original sin was setting the shutter speed absurdly high. That’s what drove the ISO way up and robbed your photos’ IQ. All of the recommendations above are right on. Here’s one more: learn to read and evaluate the IFX data both in your camera and in computer software (as all of the responders above have done). Is the shutter speed appropriate to the activity of the subject? Is the f stop giving you a decent depth of field? Is your focus point where you thought it was? Simple rule: extreme IFX need to be rethought.

Also, if your son is moving at 1/8000 of a second, you need to cut back on the sugar.

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Bev81 from France
Bev81 from France Contributing Member • Posts: 624
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
1

Frankly when I read the initial post followed by the absurdly high ISO shots, I thought to myself; it's a joke...

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Raymond L
Raymond L Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
4

Bev81 from France wrote:

Frankly when I read the initial post followed by the absurdly high ISO shots, I thought to myself; it's a joke...

I thought it was a sponsored post by Nikon promoting its high iso capabilities 😂

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BSiler Contributing Member • Posts: 544
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
3

You've made a good start along your learning curve now, and I think you are going love that camera.  The only thing I would add to the other comments is this:  After you get a little more experience, revisit Auto-ISO.  It really is a useful feature.

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(unknown member) Senior Member • Posts: 1,466
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
4

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

Whois wrote:

Considering the incredibly high ISO settings that you are using these photos are not bad at all.

I appreciate the comment. Should I just turn the auto ISO off completely or just set a max? I thought that was the issue, but I don't understand why that high of ISO is defaulted as auto? Is that pretty much the issue period you think?

Thank you again for the reply.

Set a max of 6400 to start. Adjust from there as needed, e.g. what's acceptable to you in terms of IQ.

To capture moving children, suggest to set the minimum shutter speed in auto-iso to 1/500 (adjust as needed as well). Set shutter type to auto. Turn on IBIS (I assume your shooting handheld).

Then, shoot in aperture priority (a semi-auto mode), using ~f2.8-f8 for max sharpness and below 2.8 as needed in low light if motion blur occurs due to low shutter speed (at some point you may need to add light or live with high ISO IQ).

Now choose an AF mode that you like, and/or try eye AF. Have fun.

WalterH Senior Member • Posts: 1,125
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

If you take images with more light (like outside, daytime) then auto ISO will automatically reduce ISO.

FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,833
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
11

YetAnotherUnsername wrote:

Turning off auto ISO or setting a limit should help with your immediate problem here.

Why?

It is not the high ISO setting that is causing the problem.

It is the very high shutter speed in the first three images, or the very narrow aperture combined with low interior light in the fourth one that is causing both fuzzy images (due to high noisiness) and a high ISO setting. The first problem to solve here is why is the shutter maxing out in the first three. If OP put the shutter speed up there himself. the solution is dead simple. Reduce the shutter speed for still life shots to something reasonable, like 1/focal length or a stop or two slower with IS enabled.

However, you definitely want to spend some time familiarising yourself with ISO, arpeture and shutter speeds - both individually and their relationship.

Try searching for the "exposure triangle" online but put some time and effort into understanding beyond the basic explanations.

That is a great way to set him wrong, and probably explains why you think limiting the Auto-ISO is the answer here. The many manifestations of the Exposure Triangle seem to teach that high ISO causes high noise. In fact, it is low amounts of light being captured that causes noisy digital photos. When Auto-ISO is enabled, the ISO only goes up in reaction to little light being captured. It doesn't cause little light to be captured. Auto-ISO doesn't drive the aperture and shutter settings, it is driven by them.

FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,833
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
2

Whois wrote:

YetAnotherUnsername wrote:

However, you definitely want to spend some time familiarising yourself with ISO, arpeture and shutter speeds - both individually and their relationship.

Try searching for the "exposure triangle" online but put some time and effort into understanding beyond the basic explanations.

There is a fantastic book about this:

Yes, it is fantastic, in the sense that its treatment of exposure is a fantasy, not reality. The title of the book is unconsciously ironic, since the author offers no evidence that he actually understands what exposure is. "Exposure" has had a precise definition in photography for about 1 and 1/3 centuries. He never mentions this meaning. Instead he seizes on and popularizes a misunderstanding of exposure that seems to have developed with the expanded use of lab-processed roll-film after WWII.

https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-Fourth-Photographs-Camera/dp/1607748509

The first edition of the book wasn't a terrible guide for natural light photography with roll film, but when he tried to adapt the book to digital photography he went terribly wrong, perhaps because he believed some of the inaccurate descriptions widely circulating then of how digital cameras work, what the ISO settings was in a digital context, and the causes and nature of noise in digital images.

The book was the published origin of the so-called "exposure triangle" (at least Peterson had the sense not to call it that himself - he called it by the less misleading name of "photographic triangle"). That badly flawed conceptual model is responsible for widespread misunderstanding of the causes of noisiness in digital images, and leads its followers to suboptimal settings selection in certain shooting situations. It also perpetuates the misidentification of image lightness as "exposure".  Usually the explanations presented with the "exposure triangle" also manage to incorrectly explain the effect of ISO setting changes on the camera. The model not only doesn't model exposure - it models image lightness- but it also manages to ignore one of the three parameters of exposure - one that Peterson also mostly ignored in his book - scene luminance.

The book is easy to read and has some nice images in it. This has led to it becoming the highest selling how-to photography book. If you read it , you may well find it easy to understand what the author is saying. Unfortunately, what you will be understanding well will be an inaccurate and incomplete conception of exposure and associated concepts.

bookz Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
1

Woah, those settings really jump around.  Did you mention what mode you were in P,S,M,A? I'd keep auto ISO on, set it on A mode and pick an intermediate aperture like f8 and take a few photos outdoors. Image quality should be significantly better than the d300.

I like the convenience of auto ISO when shooting hand held.  I used to set an upper limit, but took it off - I'd rather have the camera expose properly if I'm in M mode with a set SS/Aperture.  If the ISO goes wild like in your photos, I know its time to break out a tripod.

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Ernie Misner
Ernie Misner Veteran Member • Posts: 7,536
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
3

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

Also one more of the triangles from earlier. The difference is night and day. Thank you Thank you everyone. I know at least from here I can start to learn the camera and get better from here.

Looks great now, way to go.  Be sure and move the AF point around putting it on a high contrast and well lit subject.  Then do not recompose usually, just fire while holding the AF point on your subject.  If you are hand holding there is usually some movement so use AF-C and hold BBF focus in or half press while firing.  Try AF Small area or AF Wide if eye autofocus is needed and enabled.

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YetAnotherUnsername Regular Member • Posts: 407
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
3

FingerPainter wrote:

YetAnotherUnsername wrote:

Turning off auto ISO or setting a limit should help with your immediate problem here.

Why?

It is not the high ISO setting that is causing the problem.

Because setting an ISO limit will cause the image preview in the viewfinder/evf to be underexposed and prompt a reduction in SS or arpeture. Preventing ISO from climbing will allow the user to get to grips with camera controls faster.

It is the very high shutter speed in the first three images, or the very narrow aperture combined with low interior light in the fourth one that is causing both fuzzy images (due to high noisiness) and a high ISO setting. The first problem to solve here is why is the shutter maxing out in the first three. If OP put the shutter speed up there himself. the solution is dead simple. Reduce the shutter speed for still life shots to something reasonable, like 1/focal length or a stop or two slower with IS enabled.

However, you definitely want to spend some time familiarising yourself with ISO, arpeture and shutter speeds - both individually and their relationship.

Try searching for the "exposure triangle" online but put some time and effort into understanding beyond the basic explanations.

That is a great way to set him wrong, and probably explains why you think limiting the Auto-ISO is the answer here. The many manifestations of the Exposure Triangle seem to teach that high ISO causes high noise. In fact, it is low amounts of light being captured that causes noisy digital photos. When Auto-ISO is enabled, the ISO only goes up in reaction to little light being captured. It doesn't cause little light to be captured. Auto-ISO doesn't drive the aperture and shutter settings, it is driven by them.

Im aware of the flawed explanations of the exposure triangle and how ISO works, which is why I suggested the OP takes the time to learn more than the basics. However, a completely new user has to start somewhere and I think searches for "the exposure triangle" will get them on the right path fastest.

In some cases, progress outweighs pedantics.

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coolguy4747
coolguy4747 Forum Member • Posts: 64
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
1

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

I do know what the A/S/P modes are and I know how to adjust with my old camera and have read about them all a fair amount. I just really was trusting the camera. Mostly because as I mentioned in the start of this whole thing I want my wife to be able to pick it up and use it and she doesn't know what all the settings are/mean/ nor does she want to learn. So that's the hinge pin here. If it was just a matter of fine tuning every photo I would have just stuck with my old D300 that I love, but she doesn't like because she can't use it reliably.

I am going to take a lot more photos tonight and next couple days and hopefully hone in on some basic setting that will allow her to pick it up and run. Hopefully that all makes sense and I once again appreciate the comments here.

You say you were trusting the camera, but you were not. You set it to 1/8000, which is a huge limit to place on the camera, and watched it struggle. You would get better results by setting it to fully automatic mode (aka trusting the camera). Just to be clear that this was not the fault of the camera's judgment.

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J_o_e_l
J_o_e_l Regular Member • Posts: 186
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
3

Unfortunately, the internet is a really tough spot to get help. More people are just out to either sound brash or to find confirmation bias than are actually here to help.

I have a Z6 (and many other Nikons)... what I've found is the Z6 applies a pretty heavy "High ISO Noise Reduction" to photos that are shot above 12,800 ISO.

So two steps to try...

1. Check your "High ISO Noise Reduction" and see if it's on High or Auto... if so, try Low or even off. You'll get a little more visible grain in your photos, but they will be a lot sharper (yes, given that you are in focus of course! :)).

2. As others have suggested, check your Auto ISO settings (menu/photo shooting menu/ISO sensitivity settings)... The top line I set to 100, then below I usually set it to on of course then max somewhere between 12,800-20,000, with a minimum shutter of 1/60th if you have young non-shaky hands, or 1/200 if you have any kind of hand shake when you squeeze or do tedious things.

Forum nitpickers will probably tear this apart with a bunch of nonsense bullschit responses, but give these two steps a try and see if you don't find some immediate improvements.

Hope this is helpful (it helps me on my Z6)!

And bonus tip, ignore the aszholes on here who make you feel bad... They are just aszholes and your art is your's to capture however you want to.

Take care,

Joel

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topg Forum Member • Posts: 75
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
4

YetAnotherUnsername wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

YetAnotherUnsername wrote:

Turning off auto ISO or setting a limit should help with your immediate problem here.

Why?

It is not the high ISO setting that is causing the problem.

Because setting an ISO limit will cause the image preview in the viewfinder/evf to be underexposed and prompt a reduction in SS or arpeture. Preventing ISO from climbing will allow the user to get to grips with camera controls faster.

I think this is a really important point that seems to go over many peoples' heads, perhaps because it's subtle but still completely decisive. This is probably what Northrup meant when he suggested using ISO as a kind of speedometer, encouraging you to recognise that when it gets too high you need to attend more to the real factors of exposure that are actually within your control to increase light captured. But once you grasp that, letting Auto-ISO drift as high as it wants is the best choice once you've done all you can with SS, aperture and lighting. People in this thread saying that they don't like using auto-ISO because it goes higher than they want are really missing this fundamental point, it seems to me.

I'm not sure how camera manufacturers could make this clearer, but the Nikon UI  does seem to encourage this false mental model of high ISO as the source of noise (i.e. needing to be actively constrained) rather than the symptom of not enough light being captured (i.e. a signal that action should be taken elsewhere).

David Lumsden
David Lumsden Senior Member • Posts: 1,275
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
4

Joel,

interesting post. Would you be happier on Twitter?

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bolthead
bolthead Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

FingerPainter wrote:

YetAnotherUnsername wrote:

Turning off auto ISO or setting a limit should help with your immediate problem here.

Why?

It is not the high ISO setting that is causing the problem.

It is the very high shutter speed in the first three images, or the very narrow aperture combined with low interior light in the fourth one that is causing both fuzzy images (due to high noisiness) and a high ISO setting. The first problem to solve here is why is the shutter maxing out in the first three. If OP put the shutter speed up there himself. the solution is dead simple. Reduce the shutter speed for still life shots to something reasonable, like 1/focal length or a stop or two slower with IS enabled.

However, you definitely want to spend some time familiarising yourself with ISO, arpeture and shutter speeds - both individually and their relationship.

Try searching for the "exposure triangle" online but put some time and effort into understanding beyond the basic explanations.

That is a great way to set him wrong, and probably explains why you think limiting the Auto-ISO is the answer here. The many manifestations of the Exposure Triangle seem to teach that high ISO causes high noise. In fact, it is low amounts of light being captured that causes noisy digital photos. When Auto-ISO is enabled, the ISO only goes up in reaction to little light being captured. It doesn't cause little light to be captured. Auto-ISO doesn't drive the aperture and shutter settings, it is driven by them.

This makes total sense, and may explain why some of my shots are noisy on my z50

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1llusive
1llusive Veteran Member • Posts: 3,430
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
3

Whois wrote:

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

I want my wife to be able to pick it up and use it and she doesn't know what all the settings are/mean/ nor does she want to learn.

Look into the use of U1, U2, U3 settings and create a 'wife setting'.

Great advice, but mine are all taken. I think I need a U4...

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1llusive
1llusive Veteran Member • Posts: 3,430
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
1

Jerry Fisher wrote:

I try to stay away from auto ISO. It always tends to run up . If you want to stay in a usable range, put in a limit auto ISO will stop at. Maybe 1600 is your comfort level, maybe 400. Practice. You'll get it dialed in.

Take some pics and see where you are comfortable as your max auto ISO setting.

The Z6 should tolerate higher iso better than the D300.

Z6 takes a little time to get used to coming from a DSLR.

I was a D300 user. Great camera, but not great above ISO 1600, 3200 in a pinch. That is the camera I learned to be adept with in manual mode and changing settings quickly on the fly.

The Z 6 is smaller and is less painful to use (hand/wrist problems made it unlikely I would ever go full frame, until the Z showed up). I use it in Manual with Auto ISO, set to a max of 6400 or 12800. I want to control the shutter speed, as you do, due to moving subjects. I also want to control the aperture for light and creative reasons. The camera can float the ISO.

I do miss some of my D300 and even D7100's physical controls. I agree with others that there is a learning curve due to the different autofocus modes and button customizations. Taking the time to sit down and go through it all will increase confidence and be greatly rewarding.

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1llusive
1llusive Veteran Member • Posts: 3,430
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

Raymond L wrote:

Bev81 from France wrote:

Frankly when I read the initial post followed by the absurdly high ISO shots, I thought to myself; it's a joke...

I thought it was a sponsored post by Nikon promoting its high iso capabilities 😂

No kidding, the lack of noise is remarkable!

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