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

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
1llusive
1llusive Veteran Member • Posts: 3,435
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
1

J_o_e_l wrote:

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.

Do you know if it is activated at 12,800?

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! :)).

Do you know if this is performed on the RAW data or is only apparent in jpegs?

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.

In (M) mode, minimum shutter speed is ignored, as it should be. That is what I suggest. Trying to use Auto ISO in the other modes, especially (A) was very frustrating for me. You will find yourself wanting to change that minimum depending on the scene and getting frustrated that you have to go into the menus constantly. What better way to eliminate that than by setting shutter speed to the rear dial - by using (M) mode and learning what different situations require.

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Nikon Z6 II Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 85mm F1.8 +1 more
J_o_e_l
J_o_e_l Regular Member • Posts: 186
Re: With samples to show
4

J_o_e_l wrote:

I have a Z6... 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.

Take care,

Joel

Hi again,

Instead of just saying this... here's a 4 shot collage showing the noise reduction removing clarity in high ISO scenarios (as shot by me just now). From left to right: setting High ISO Noise Reduction to Off, Low, Normal and High effect. Focus point is on Santa's face. All shot at ISO 12,800 and f/2... Check out how much of his nose detail is lost as the reduction increases. I believe this could be a setting that's causing your Z6 images to not "pop" the way your D300 does.

Off, Low, Normal, High settings of ISO Noise Reduction

A little bit closer now...

Hope this is helpful for someone.

Joel

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OP whatamIdoingwrong New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
2

David Lumsden wrote:

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.

I definitely went back and read and watched some more videos after the comments. I took some decent photos tonight in the house of him. I'll have to work on lighting more or figure something out because he was blurry from movement or I had to let the ISO up to high to have a decent photo. I am 100x better than this morning when I posted, but I wouldn't be there without all the helpful comments

qodeshi Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
1

There is already a lot of great advice in this thread. I just wanted to say "War Eagle!" and encourage you to really learn the camera before giving up on it. The images i get with my Z6 are some of the best I've ever taken.

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OP whatamIdoingwrong New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

SaltyPeanut wrote:

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.

Thank you for the reply. I took some more tonight and did have to run up the ISO to compensate for the low light. I guess I unfortunately need to invest in at least one new lens to help because neither that I have is really a portrait lens with lower than f3.5. Both lens are F mount DX. One is a 55-300mm and other is 18-55mm. I know I can simply compensate with flash or better light but those soft light photos of sweet moments are part of what I want to capture.

OP whatamIdoingwrong New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

This was what was happening for me but to the extreme. I am not ashamed to say that I just went in without any consideration of what the features of this camera were vs my old one. I went and took some photos and they looked decent and then imported to the computer and the detail was being scrubbed to reduce noise. I am glad I asked here before returning and am especially glad I asked now because of the amount of response. I had watched the tutorials and reviews and that is what pushed me to buy the camera for the family. There were not videos that were easily found saying here is you using the camera wrong and here is why,

That is what is so great about the forums is people tell it like it is and I am learning more here from mistakes, which is way better than someone just saying here is the ideal situation for this picture and use a back light and reflector and all for your children. That's just not a reality if I just want some quick fun pics with the family.

OP whatamIdoingwrong New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
4

Also, as I head to hit the hay, this is a couple photos from today. I did cap the ISO and for now that has helped me start to reel things in. I will look at uncapping especially when I do have a lot of light to practice. It does seem with low lamp light it runs up and dims the quality no matter what, but I'll practice more. I don't want to go through changing all settings at once because I will lose track of what does what.

plumberdp69 Regular Member • Posts: 473
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

1llusive wrote:

No kidding, the lack of noise is remarkable!

I certainly hope so.  Ha.

My Z6ii should be here in 1 or 2 days time. I had a look at DP camera image comparison. To me, the noise is rather apparent starting from ISO 3200! Expected and hoped for a much higher ISO for Z6ii wrt noise, say, from 12800! Must be wishful thinking.

Honestly coming down to earth, expect noticeable noise from ISO 6400 for my Z6ii.

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1llusive
1llusive Veteran Member • Posts: 3,435
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

plumberdp69 wrote:

1llusive wrote:

No kidding, the lack of noise is remarkable!

I certainly hope so. Ha.

My Z6ii should be here in 1 or 2 days time. I had a look at DP camera image comparison. To me, the noise is rather apparent starting from ISO 3200! Expected and hoped for a much higher ISO for Z6ii wrt noise, say, from 12800! Must be wishful thinking.

Honestly coming down to earth, expect noticeable noise from ISO 6400 for my Z6ii.

After posting I realized he probably had High ISO noise reduction on. I believe it is on by default.

I think 6400 is a good upper limit for Auto ISO on the Z 6. 12800 is probably workable if using the new DXO noise reduction.

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pidera Contributing Member • Posts: 940
When moving from crop to FF, best to use higher F-numbers
2

Example : if you are an aperture priority mode shooter, you might want to use F/8 instead of F/5.6

(equivalency)

Kr. P.

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ploop1952 New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

I am a novice for sure and as I replied to a few others I thought maybe I just lacked an understanding of this camera and why it was defaulting to such high ISO settings.

The higher shutter speed was my doing because my son moves so much and then I would usually do the proper aperture/ISO adjustments on my old camera to compensate for loss of light. With a new camera I think I must just have felt messing with it would produce worse results and I was trying to trust it knew better than me. I'd rather post and be and be patronized. I appreciate the responses from everyone and I am going out at lunch to get some more photos to test.

Thank you again

It sounds like you might just need a basic small zoom lens. I'm about to move from the Z50 to a Z5, body only to save money. I have a few couple third-party lenses that work with full-frame mirrorless , and  lenses from the Z50 (crop sensor kit lenses which are very good) and lenses from my previous crop-sensor D3300 and D3500 which work with the ATZ adaptor. The 16-50 (NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR) lens that came with the Z50 is a really nice, versatile zoom lens that should work well in most lighting situations and won't destroy your bank account. Of course, you will give away the advantage of the much larger sensor in the Z6 using cropped lenses, so you could go with the 24-70 kit lens that comes with the Z6.

ajdb New Member • Posts: 24
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
6

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

Thank you for the reply. I took some more tonight and did have to run up the ISO to compensate for the low light. I guess I unfortunately need to invest in at least one new lens to help because neither that I have is really a portrait lens with lower than f3.5. Both lens are F mount DX. One is a 55-300mm and other is 18-55mm. I know I can simply compensate with flash or better light but those soft light photos of sweet moments are part of what I want to capture.

Wait what?? why are you running DX lenses on your Z6? You are cutting off a huge part of the sensor? If you are on a budget, I would try and pick up a used 24-70 F4 S or maybe even better a 24-200mm (doubt there will be many used though).

If you want low light on a budget you can pick up a used F mount 50mm 1.8G with an FTZ.

You'll see another leap in performance once you use the correct lenses (not DX!) on your Z6

OP whatamIdoingwrong New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
2

ajdb wrote:

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

Thank you for the reply. I took some more tonight and did have to run up the ISO to compensate for the low light. I guess I unfortunately need to invest in at least one new lens to help because neither that I have is really a portrait lens with lower than f3.5. Both lens are F mount DX. One is a 55-300mm and other is 18-55mm. I know I can simply compensate with flash or better light but those soft light photos of sweet moments are part of what I want to capture.

Wait what?? why are you running DX lenses on your Z6? You are cutting off a huge part of the sensor? If you are on a budget, I would try and pick up a used 24-70 F4 S or maybe even better a 24-200mm (doubt there will be many used though).

If you want low light on a budget you can pick up a used F mount 50mm 1.8G with an FTZ.

You'll see another leap in performance once you use the correct lenses (not DX!) on your Z6

You hit the nail on the head with budget. The FTZ adapter was only $50 with the body only purchase. I had researched and I understood the trade offs with the expectation that I could purchase a Z mount lens maybe after Christmas.  I added a 50mm Z mount to the wish list and I'll probably make the leap early next year.

BSiler Contributing Member • Posts: 546
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
3

You've got a grinning two year old, a handsome kitty, and great camera.  Life is good!

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20thCentury Regular Member • Posts: 144
You're on your way to better pics!
2

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

ajdb wrote:

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

Thank you for the reply. I took some more tonight and did have to run up the ISO to compensate for the low light. I guess I unfortunately need to invest in at least one new lens to help because neither that I have is really a portrait lens with lower than f3.5. Both lens are F mount DX. One is a 55-300mm and other is 18-55mm. I know I can simply compensate with flash or better light but those soft light photos of sweet moments are part of what I want to capture.

Wait what?? why are you running DX lenses on your Z6? You are cutting off a huge part of the sensor? If you are on a budget, I would try and pick up a used 24-70 F4 S or maybe even better a 24-200mm (doubt there will be many used though).

If you want low light on a budget you can pick up a used F mount 50mm 1.8G with an FTZ.

You'll see another leap in performance once you use the correct lenses (not DX!) on your Z6

You hit the nail on the head with budget. The FTZ adapter was only $50 with the body only purchase. I had researched and I understood the trade offs with the expectation that I could purchase a Z mount lens maybe after Christmas. I added a 50mm Z mount to the wish list and I'll probably make the leap early next year.

That's good to hear...I think you're well on your way to getting better images and the last few that you have posted are a marked improvement.

I would highly recommend watching a few YouTube videos on setting up the camera below...I did and it made a world of difference helping me understand settings on my Z cameras.

They are long videos, but well worth it, and if you don't understand a portion you can go back and re-view.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do0Va7wciTs&t=2164s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElkbBPFzjY4

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BrexitDefCom3
BrexitDefCom3 Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

Crazy High ISO man, ignore these experts!

Simply reset your settings by resetting the camera. Then , do NOT set auto ISO ever at all. Run the thing on P setting and set the ISO yourself.

I have years of experience with Nikons and , it is best to set things like high ISO NR in the menu to low, and I have not EVER used higher than 1600 because even though these days you can, dynamic range begins to decline after about ISO 400, even on my D850. It certainly does on a D800 which is possibly comparable to yours due to its smaller pixels, being 36MP and dating from 2012.

Unless there are loads of light tones in your picture area, you can safely set exposure compensation at -0.7 stops up to at least 320 ISO. You will not lose any shadow detail to noise and you will retain pretty well all highlight detail (though -1.0 stop is great for dew-loaded images like raindrops on roses, & whiskers on kittens.

If you get DXO software your noise reduction will be superior, and your fine sharpening to anything Adobe sell, because their NR sliders allow for a mere 0.5 pixel base sharpening, which leads to blocky noisy fine detail. DXO fine sharpening for both luminance and colour noise can be chosen even at 0.10 pixel sharpening, and in addition there are contrast sliders too.

I routinely use 0.13 pixels with 100% detail and 33% contrast even on mobile phone DNGs and certsainly on D800 and D850 images, but you might decide not even to bother with sharpening at all, as you have no low-pass filter on your sensor and so the results are already as sharp as your lens !

It costs but is well worth it. You can install the Elite Edition on up to 3 machines, Windows or Mac, and you can then get upgrades SEPARATELY as other programmes for around 50-60 pounds.

Cheap now I believe on account of Black Friday. Hope this is heeded!

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 21,332
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.
1

whatamIdoingwrong wrote:

I have a very active 2 year old so catching the moments is important=

D300

For shots like this your Z6 with the latest firmware has eye AF.

To use it choose it in menu item A4 in the Customs Setting Menu and then shoot in Auto-Area AF.

A minimum shutter speed of 1/500 will also help.

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Leonard Shepherd
In lots of ways good photography is much more about how equipment is used rather than anything else.

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j_photo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,268
Re: When moving from crop to FF, best to use higher F-numbers
2

pidera wrote:

Example : if you are an aperture priority mode shooter, you might want to use F/8 instead of F/5.6

(equivalency)

Kr. P.

Why would you choose a smaller aperture when already struggling with low light? The OP would benefit from shooting at larger apertures in the scenes he posted.

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OP whatamIdoingwrong New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

I have been practicing this a bit. Won't really be able to test daylight till the weekend with it being dark by the time I leave work.

OP whatamIdoingwrong New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Bought a new Z6 and I am struggling. Please Help.

I think there is probably a right place for all the options. You are right about the smoothing and I have heard the NR setting mentioned a lot elsewhere so this is definitely debated plus/minus setting. I messed with it a bit today, but no glaringly obvious differences as long as its daylight and the ISO gets held down. I tried taking some moody photos in the office basement, but I don't have a tripod and low light photos even with the higher ISO just aren't steady with me limiting the sensor with old DX lenses.

Thank you for the advice on the software also. I will have to do a lot more research before I leap to any one because there are a ton of them. I have photoshop and for now its enough for what I need.

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