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Do you have a favorite ISO?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scott Sherman, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. I happened on this question in the DPR forum and as usual it went astray.

    As everyone here knows, there has been an ongoing discussion of noise at high ISO and which camera is better at high ISO's or how to get around the noise when you use high ISO.

    So I was wondering if the noise at high ISO is really a problem or is it just a forum issue that is raised for debat and comparison discussions? After deciding on speed and aperture and then focus on a subject, I think the ISO setting has the greatest impact on your final image.

    It seems to me that the D2x which seems to get more than it's fair share of critisizm for high ISO noise works great under 800 ISO and I very rarely shoot at an ISO higher than 400, usually not even that high. I have several fast lenses which I try to use outdoors if I am shooting early or late in the day or in shade or inside w/o flash but they are heavy to carry around.

    I have begun to take my travel tripod or monopod with me more often when I intend to shoot in these conditions (and have the time to set it up) and then adjust in PS if it needs to be lightened slightly. I have Noise Ninja which works pretty well usually but does give a bit of a painted or plastic look when used extensively.

    I find that ISO 200 is my most common setting and this works out pretty well. Do you trade off high ISO to avoid using a tripod or flash or carrying heavy fast lenses or do you adjust your ISO up and then try to fix it later in computer?
  2. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    I shoot at ISO 200 whenever I can (with the D2H), but don't mind shooting up to 320. I still get acceptable results at 400, but the noise is very noticeable.

    As far as which cams have better noise characteristics, I believe that the worst is the D2H (which I have 2 of), followed by the D70. I haven't seen comparative results from the D70s so I can't comment on it, but the D2Hs and D2X both seem to be significantly better. It looks like the D200 may be the best of the Nikon cams in this area. The Canon shots that I've seen (and I've looked at a bunch) appear to be significantly better than any Nikon, but this doesn't mean that you can't get excellent results from Nikon cams; you just have to push the shutter and aperture a little more, to minimize shooting at the higher ISO settings.
  3. I will use ISO 100 whenever possible. Anything more is a sacrifice in quality in my eyes.
  4. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Scott :

    Pretty simple answer for me on this one - I shoot with whatever ISO fits the shooting conditions. If it's sunny, bright and sharp, I'll work with ISO200. If it's dark and shadowy, I'll run out to ISO800 or ISO1600 as needs must. Tripods, fast glass, all that stuff offers some advantage, but at some point, higher ISO is often the best alternative for a non-static shot.

    My favourite ISO is the one that lets me land the shot I want.

    John P.
  5. Definitely ISO 200 for me. I very rarely bump the ISO up since I don't find myself shooting in low light situations very often.
  6. Anything to get the exposure right.
  7. D2X, I try for 100, will shoot up to 800 or higher, but don't get many great shots up there. But sometimes getting the shot is what counts, so be it. Though there is more noise, it is usually manageable if edges aren't too bubbled.

    D50, I will shoot at whatever ISO is fast enough. I get keepers even at 1600.

    D70, I was happy enough up to and including 400. Above that, I wasn't happy with the noise.

    5D, I can get good stuff up to 3200, though it is just as susceptable to noise problems as any camera. If the light isn't quite good enough, skin tones come out very chunky at around 1000 and up.

    The trouble with ISO as I see it is it isn't an absolute. Most cameras behave quite well at their slowest ISO, but above that I find it quite difficult to predict exactly what I will get. I have seen amazing images from the D2X at HI-1, and awful wasted shots at 640. I find I have to second guess the metering and push using exposure compensation to +2/3 or even +1 to prevent the worst noise.
  8. My normal ISO is 200 but every so often I have to push that up to get the shot. This weekend I covered a football game and the lights were not all that great so I shot at ISO800. It seems that every time I have done that with the D2H it has not produced the greatest results and I feel certain that this will be the same. I haven't processed them yet so we shall see.
  9. lowest ISO possible...

    I always shoot the lowest ISO possible. For me and my D100 that's 200. When I pick up a D200 (not until well into next year... gotta get my 70-200VR first) I'm sure I'll shoot 100 alot, although from what I'm seeing the images are pretty clean all the way up through 800.

  10. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    whatever's the base ISO of the camera for minimum noise. if the light conditions require higher ISO, then i'll bump it up as high as needed.

  11. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    If i had 100 or 50 would use that.
  12. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  13. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    D2X: usually 100 "ISO", but I have no problems with going the entire way up to 1600 if needed. For handheld shooting I've found the range 250-320 to be very workable and whatever noise there might be left , is of no importance.

    D70: 800 "ISO" standard for all UV work, 400 for IR (on my IR-modified D70, 200 always)

    D1X: 125 "ISO" only

    D1H: 800 "ISO" for UV work, else 200

    D1(IR modified): 200 "ISO" always

    For film: 50 or 100 ISO
  14. Very rarely do I go above 200 on my D100. If it had iso 50 I would probably use that alot when at all possible, I hate noise that much. I came directly from the slow, ponderous world of medium format film cameras like the Hassleblad and Mamiya RB-67 with their incredible sharpness and very low 'grain' to the digital world, so using high(er) iso isn't paramount for me.
    One day, I guess, the DSLR will have virtually 0 noise, super high resolution and a dynamic range that would allow shooting a lump of coal nestled in a snow bank and get detail in both. On the first shot.
    Hmmmmm..... that may be a while yet...
  15. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    That day is here already. I did exactly this subject (lump of coal lodged in snow) in March, 2005, while on my first long field trip with D2X. And got all the detail in the coal and snow concurrently :biggrin:
  16. I mostly use ISO 100, with the 35mm i mostly used Kodachrome 25 exclusively and maybe it's why i like to boost a little bit my pictures to have the colors and contrast of that film.
  17. D70 is my weapon of choice
    I have 3 favorite ISOs
    200- daylight or flash...
    320- for when I need a little boost
    640- for lower light.
  18. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I prefer as low a number as can be used, but usually let the camera decide what it needs to get the shot.
  19. Dave,

    I was about to say the same thing you did but in different words. I prefer 100 all the time and feel it gives practically no noise. I don't like iso 200 either. It has to be 100.
  20. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I try to shoot at ISO 200 as much as possible...but I shoot at ISO 400 or higher to maintain fast shutter speeds (for sports).
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