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Top ISO for Acceptable Noise Control?


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I've been feeling a bit jaded with always shooting in good light. Even in light that's not so good I've been sticking with a modest high-end ISO of 800. I'm wondering what you guys are doing about an ISO max and noise control? I still have a Nikon D700 and D90, but I've been using mirrorless Sonys for the past few years: NEX-6 and 7, RX10 and RX100/3.

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With the NEX-6, ISO 800 is usually fine. I've also uploaded ISO 1000 to 1600 (after appropriate noise reduction in PP) with no problems. Some images look fine to me at ISO 2400,  but I'm too paranoid to submit them. Downsizing can help, of course.

 

This said, I generally try not to shoot above ISO 400 if I can help it. I recently shelled out for the Sony e-mount 35mm f/1.8, which has OSS and is great for low-light. This one was taken handheld at f/2.2, ISO 400 with the 35mm lens.

 

people-strolling-on-water-street-at-dusk

Edited by John Mitchell
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My D750 is a wonder. I have shots accepted here shot at ISO 10k. I often shoot at 1600 and 3200, such as my nightscapes. I use DxO Optics for RAW conversion which has excellent noise control. Once I have converted to TIFF I don't use any further noise control - I don't like the smoothed look in fine detail.

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6 minutes ago, Colin Woods said:

My D750 is a wonder. I have shots accepted here shot at ISO 10k. I often shoot at 1600 and 3200, such as my nightscapes. I use DxO Optics for RAW conversion which has excellent noise control. Once I have converted to TIFF I don't use any further noise control - I don't like the smoothed look in fine detail.

 

I too use DxO Optics Pro for RAW. The "prime" NR setting does an amazing job. I need to be braver...

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Thanks, fellas. I am not at all being brave, just trying to get myself to trust 1,600 as an Auto-ISO high instead of 800. I've had very good control with 800. I even do my tabletop food at 800 handheld. (No tripod possible in my kitchen.) 

 

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1600 is no problem. 3200  needs care, downsized to the minimum, with appropriate amounts of NR on an import preset, but I can take luminance up to 60 in LR unless underexposed. I still lose a few.

The fancy multi-exposure overlay mode can look OK at 6400, but it's jpeg, and I don't go there anymore. Whether I've ever actually sold anything above 1600 is another question.

Sony A58, 55 before that. It goes to 3200 in Auto but tells you the ISO in the viewfinder.

I tend to downsize everything else to 4500 nowadays.

Edited by spacecadet
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I regularly shoot at 800 with the NEX6 and Canon 5D2. I try not to go over 1600 for anything I might submit to Alamy. During the brief period I used a 5D3 I had several shots accepted at 3200 and the one below at 6400.

 

Alan

 

Carousel reflected in the windows of a building, South Bank, London Stock Photo

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I have a Nikon D7000 and I really don't like pushing it past ISO 800. But I occasionally (like on my recent visit to Shanghai Aquarium where light was in short supply) push it as far as 1600. But when I do this, I accept that I will have some work to do in Lightroom and/or Photoshop.

 

I think a lot depends on how new your camera is. My camera is quite an old model and a newer model is likely to cope much better with noise.

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Thanks for the input.

 

For the purpose of a couple of night-projects I have planned, I'll be carrying my Nikon D700. I had intended to sell this camera, but decided not to with the low prices I was offered for it. The D700 has almost ZERO noise showing at all and any ISO setting I'm likely to need. 

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14 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

Thanks, fellas. I am not at all being brave, just trying to get myself to trust 1,600 as an Auto-ISO high instead of 800. I've had very good control with 800. I even do my tabletop food at 800 handheld. (No tripod possible in my kitchen.) 

 

 

I would think that 1600 would be fine with the NEX-6. Can't speak for your other cameras, though, since I'm not familiar with them.

 

My lack of adventurousness with high ISO shooting is probably a hangover from film days when I used to sometimes push films to higher ISOs and got some awful results.

Edited by John Mitchell
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This is all about the make and model of camera, and can very camera to camera with the same model!

 

I have had Nikon for decades, reaching back into the days of film, the early Nikon digital cameras , the D1 especially had noise noticeable at about 800 ISO, in time I have used the D100 D200 and D300 all have different levels of acceptable noise - the D200 was in my mind poor, but the D300 was good.

 

My D3s are in comparison outstanding, as reported above, and you can comfortably use them at  3200 or higher and I have and regularly shoot at 6400

 

But I bet in ten years time this will be regarded as poor with an unacceptable level of noise - it is called progress!

 

 

 

 

 

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A lot of my concert photos and fashion shows are shot at 800 and 1000 iso with a Canon 1D MK IV, so it really depends on the make and model of our camera.

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Ed, I'm sure 1600 will be fine. Most of my well-exposed 1600s don't need any NR. They get it, because I have a ISO-dependent preset to catch the doubtful ones, but they don't really need it. I think they get 30 or 40 luminance NR in LR. At 800, 20.

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If you are really careful and the subject is worth it, high ISOs can be acceptable.  I have 8 in my portfolio at ISO 25,600, taken with a Canon 1DX Mark II, although most were submitted via Live News.  I have 8 at ISO 8,000 or higher that went through the normal QC process, one of which has been licensed, and a further 40 at ISO 6,400, which again includes at least one which has been licenced.  Whenever I submit high ISO images for QC, it is with some trepidation, but if I think the images are worth it and the noise either has been well enough controlled in post-processing and/or it does not adversely affect the final image, then I will go for it.  I make doubly sure that there is nothing other than noise which might be an issue, and take the view that if whoever examines at QC disagrees with my assessment that the noise is in context not a real issue, then so be it. 

 

Graham

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Wow, Graham -- you're out there on the outer edge of ISO World! I don't do News anymore, so I have no real reason to shoot at extreme ISOs. I've set the high end of my Sony's Auto-ISO at 1,600. I'm comfortable going higher with my Nikons. 

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On 8/17/2017 at 02:18, Ed Rooney said:

I've been feeling a bit jaded with always shooting in good light. Even in light that's not so good I've been sticking with a modest high-end ISO of 800. I'm wondering what you guys are doing about an ISO max and noise control? I still have a Nikon D700 and D90, but I've been using mirrorless Sonys for the past few years: NEX-6 and 7, RX10 and RX100/3.

Hi Ed, not sure what you are planing to shoot, but it sounds to me like you are thinking of back in the day film photography, I still have the same thing half logged in the back of my head, regarding not "pushing" above 800ASA, , because I think that way, that's my high end setting.

 

Although if I need to go more I just do it and as you are experienced enough, I doubt you'd have a problem going higher, especially with the D700.

I've shot a number of gigs with my D2X, that have sold on Alamy, but after 1000 you are asking for trouble, with my D700 however, this image sold last week, although I haven't been notified yet!

 

http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/real-people-band-liam-gallaghers-raving-2124830

 

This was in a tent at night, with no real lighting it is at ISO3200, I've also had newspapers use my Queen Mary 2 shot at the Pier Head, this was a night shot, on a tripod with 1000. So as long as you do a few tests in camera and then are happy with how they look on the screen you'll be fine with the D700

Chris

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6 minutes ago, GS-Images said:

This is an interesting thread for me. Most people disagree with my view on the highest usable ISO, and in fact most people away from Alamy disagree too!  :)   I am a bit of a pixel-peeper so any noise tends to bother me. It is interesting though that some will submit images to Live News when using such huge ISO's. My Live News images are sometimes not very good and noisier than I'd like, but even for them I don't think I've gone over ISO800 before. I will have to do some more experimenting in darker conditions and try the higher ISO's again. Not having a full frame camera doesn't help of course, as I use a cropped frame, but noise is "supposed" to be quite good on my camera (I have little to compare it with myself).

 

Maybe I'm too cautious? I am a perfectionist and can spend a long time perfecting just one image (sometimes to find the next day when I look at it that I've done a terrible job!!!).

 

My eyes aren't what they used to be. I'm finding that I have to sit further and further from my monitor in order to judge sharpness when checking at 100%. Maybe it's time for glasses. I've been putting that off for years now.

 

Geoff.

 

 

I would agree with you and like my pictures tack sharp and would also define myself as a pixel peeper. 

The higher the (ISO) noise the lower the sharpness and this also bothers me.

1600 is also my limit for fotos I submit, but do not have a high ISO capable camera anyways, such as in a 5D or 1D.   

In general and by majority staying in the range 100 to 400. 

 

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Standard lighting ISO 400

High dynamic range lighting with important shadows I will be digging into, ISO 100. It is all about the shadows.

Above settings for a full frame 50 megapixel camera shot, processed at 50 megapixel.

 

However if I am downsizing up to ISO 6400 depending on amount of downsizing. Downsizing can eliminate noise while seeming to retain sharpness.

Here is a situation from hell. ISO 6400 exposed for display area, people so underexposed to be almost black. And I mean really really black. I am talking about the skin of the photographer in the image, and the floor under the photographer being almost black. Dug into very very noisy blackness and then downsized from 50 to 12 megapixels to bring noise and sharpness under control.

 

toronto-zoo-park-giant-panda-exhibit-tra

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