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Anthony L. Mancuso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2008
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ISO Variations


I recently started a photography business and currently own a Nikon D80. I like it for the most part, but I recently photographed an event at night and I am not satisfied with the noise levels at higher ISO ratings. It was my understanding that ISO was a standardized measure, but I have seen images on BP taken with higher-end cameras at high ISO with practically no noise. When I am ready to upgrade, how can I determine that the new model will perform better at higher ISO ratings?


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7/11/2009 9:15:07 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
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  You can read reviews on cameras and see what is said about the performance at high ISO, magazines and forums. Other than that, I don't see any other way of checking it without actually using a camera. And that would take a friend, or renting, or taking a card to a camera store and asking if you could take some high-ISO pictures in the store and then take the card home to see what they look like.
In the meantime, you can make sure your exposures are correct with your current camera. Maybe think about noise reduction software, because that could have been used on the pictures you saw.
ISO is supposed to be standardized, but that's light sensitivity. Noise will depend on you taking the picture, and with digital, the camera and how well it handles it. How well film is with grain depends on the film. Some are better than others.


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7/11/2009 9:45:12 AM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  Anthony, you can also use noise reduction software, like Noise Ninja. I use it on every photo that I work on. And with NJ, you can download the ISO profiles for your specific camera. That way, if the ISO was 1600, you call up the ISO profile at 1600 and NJ applies it to your photo. And you can just apply it to certain parts of your photo. There are other noise reduction programs out there so check around. It's definitely a tool you should look into as it does work quite well!


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7/11/2009 11:21:56 AM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  Also, here's a link to NJ site:
http://www.picturecode.com/download.htm


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7/11/2009 11:23:42 AM

 
Anthony L. Mancuso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2008
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  Thank you Ken and Greg..i will look into all of those suggestions...


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7/11/2009 11:43:10 AM

 
Dan W. Dooley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2005
  Anthony, not all cameras are created equal and noise levels on one camera at a particular ISO speed will not be the same as another camera. I have a small Canon "point and shoot" camera which produces pretty decent pictures. As long as I don't go over ISO 200. At ISO 400, forget it. My Canon 40D SLR, on the other hand is a different story. I shoot probably 75% of my shots at 400. I could not do that with the little camera. With my 40D I can shoot even 800 with reasonable results. I've not had occassion to shoot the higher numbers, but I expect I will sooner or later.

A good friend of mine moved from the Nikon D70 to the D300. I've seen some work of his at 1600 and higher and it's great. Not all shots will benefit from using high ISO numbers. It really depends on the light conditions. If you're looking to stay with Nikon and want to move into the more pro level branch of that product line, the Dxxx series might be worth considering.

ISO noise is dependant upon the design of the sensor more than anything else. It is not dependant upon megapixels though a quieter sensor may also happen to be a higher density (higher mp) one.

I have no experience working with noise reduction software. Probably has its place but my gut feeling is to try to solve the noise problem earlier in the photo process. Start with a quieter sensor as the first step.


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7/16/2009 4:37:49 PM

 
Anthony L. Mancuso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2008
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  Thanks for the taking the time to give such a detailed answer Dan...I plan on upgrading my camera body at some point to a more advanced Nikon model and I'm sure that will help me a great deal..thanks again..


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7/16/2009 5:34:35 PM

 
Dan W. Dooley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2005
  Be sure to check out the D300. I'm a Canon user so I can only relate from the experience of my friend who is a trained and highly skilled photographer. It really looks to be a quite sensor based on what I have heard and from the work that he has produced with it.


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7/16/2009 5:37:20 PM

 
Anthony L. Mancuso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2008
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  That is probably the one I am gonna go with, don't have the funds in the budget yet for one of the big guns...


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7/16/2009 5:40:31 PM

 
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