1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

My D80 at iso1600 sucks, why?

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by ptchan5, May 11, 2007.

  1. ptchan5


    Apr 21, 2007
    California, USA
    I've been lurking around here with my new D80 and I'm amazed at how nice a lot of high iso pictures that are posted look. Actually, let me take that back, I'm jealous. I always try to look at the signature to see which camera they were using and what settings because every time I use my D80 indoors or in low light with the camera set to auto ISO my pictures come out horribly grainy and totally unusable...very much like a cheapo point and shoot camera.

    It doesn't matter whether I use pro glass or kit glass, when my camera is indoors without flash and my camera goes to iso 1600 my pictures suck. Grainy Grainy Grainy and mushy detail.

    I've looked at excellent pictures from another poster "randy" who takes a lot of gymnastics pictures at iso 1600 and some outdoor dusk photos from others at iso's as high as 3200 and they look great! What am I missing? Is it my camera? Do I need to get a D200 or D2H to get low light high iso pictures that look that good?

    Love to hear other's experience with high iso on the D80. I read how great it is, but everytime my camera goes to that level the pictures are terrible. Maybe I've missed a setting somewhere.

  2. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I don't have any experience with the D80, but if it is anything like the other Nikon dSLRs you really need to nail the exposure at high ISO. If you underexpose and then try to correct in PP, the noise becomes very obvious.
  3. mikeyd86

    mikeyd86 Guest

    It really is about exposing correctly. For example, here's ISO 1600 on my D80:


    It was taken with a 50mm 1.8 in natural light though, so underexposure wasn't a problem. Even in low light, though, I haven't found it to be so bad:


    There might have been some slight noise reduction on that one, but even then, not much.
  4. JohnK


    Aug 6, 2006
    Pacific NW
    I think you need to look at all of the other details, not just the ISO. If the light is low, the pictures are going to be grainy - there's not a lot more you can do about it. Sometimes the light may be just Ok and someone uses ISO 1600 because they also need a high shutter speed. Take mikeyd86 guitar photo for example. It's ISO 1600, but it's also at 1/1000th and F/9 so the light really wan't all that bad and the photo is nice and clear. If the light had been so poor he was at ISO 1600, 1/50th and F/4 I'm sure it would have been a much grainer picture.

    I may be off base, but that's what I've seen with my D80.
  5. mikeyd86

    mikeyd86 Guest

    The first one, as can be seen in the EXIF, was taken with more than enough light available. It was taken specifically as a test of ISO 1600 on the D80. The second, one, however, is taken at f/1.8, 1/125 and ISO 1600, which presents more difficult lighting. Even still, I'm pretty happy with how it came out, noise wise. Much beyond this, though, and you start having to deal with considerable noise reduction to get a clean image.
  6. mugman


    Dec 2, 2006
    Would it be possible for you to post some of your photographs? Might make it easier to figure out what you are doing wrong.
  7. HAC_X

    HAC_X Guest

    Well.. I just took a quick shot at 1600...18-70 lens, Here it is full res, unedited.. Don't think its too bad... This was at 1/50 sec, f4.5 centre weighted.


  8. Larty


    Apr 12, 2007
    Can you post an example?

    I had a D80, and ISO 1600 pics were pretty awesome!
  9. BTW I am pretty sure Randy uses a Canon for low light. He feels that he gets better high ISO performance.
  10. Try converting them to BW. You may be surprised at what a nice film look they have.
    Probably not the answer you're looking for, but still - give it a try.

  11. ptchan5


    Apr 21, 2007
    California, USA
    Wouldn't you know it, I can't find a single picture

    I guess they were so bad I deleted them, but I will shoot another tonight and see if I can't post one.

    Ok, maybe I'm being overly critical, but would it be safe to say that at iso1600 you really can't crop the picture because that would just exaggerate the graininess of the image? I crop my photos all the time at lower iso's to compose what I want, but maybe I need to do that composition in the viewfinder when I'm shooting iso 1600.
  12. mugman


    Dec 2, 2006
    Yes, try to crop as little as necessary. Perhaps take one shot wide then zoom in and take a backup shot if you're not sure about how you want to crop it at the time.
  13. laawaaris

    laawaaris Guest

    in my experience, its all in the lighting available to your camera

    i have two photos below to illustrate what i've experienced


    the first photo is a ballet photo taken with light coming from absolutely everywhere - sunlight coming from the outside coming through glass doors and of course the bright, enormous ceiling lights, which also reflect like nobody's business off of the wood floor

    the second photo is from a party taken during the dance when all lights are turned off at night with the only light coming from my SB-600 flash

    the exposure is slightly different in the two -
    the ballet photo is shot at f/4 and 1/90 but at ISO 1600
    the couple caught in the dance is taken at f/3.5 and 1/60 but at ISO 1600

    i think its a difference of about 1 stop of light, but when i look, i cannot see any grain really in the ballet photo
    in the couple's dance photo i can see grain everywhere - especially where it is dark ... if i look hard enough i can even see grain in his nostrils are and where his "5 o'clock" shadow should be growing ...

    i shoot a Nikon D50 - but i don't think its really that much different than the other Nikon bodies ...
    if you're shooting exteremely low light at ISO 1600 there will be grain
    if you're shooting an image that has moderate to brighter light, i think you will see much less grain
  14. noise ninja

    I usually run my high-ISO/ noisy photos through noise ninja,
    (http://www.picturecode.com/). It does a great job eliminating noise and adding unsharp mask. You can do it automatically based on your camera's ISO setting or manually.

    I bet a lot of the photos you've been looking at have had some type of noise reduction applied. Try noise ninja, i think you'll like it.
  15. mugman


    Dec 2, 2006

    Yeah, that doesn't look half bad. I think you could even crop in a little with no worries of degrading the picture. The important thing is to get the exposure correct.
  16. ptchan5


    Apr 21, 2007
    California, USA
    I will try noise ninja...good suggestion. I use Capture NX, but I heard Bibble has noise ninja built-in..any experience with that? or do you use noise ninja as a standalone app?

  17. Yep! Exactly.

    The "proper exposure" thing makes no sense to me whatsoever. If there ain't enough light, how do you "properly expose?"

    Now, it is always best to use as slow a shutter speed as is practical, etc. But noise happens in some light and it can be impossible to get around.

    Low light wise, I use a 5D or D200 or ISO 3200 film. The same limits more or less seem to apply to all. The extra shazam I get with the 5D doesn't amount to all that much. I've shot plenty at 1600 with the D200 and been happy.

    Also had a D50 at one time, which likes low light as well.
  18. jcovert

    jcovert Guest

    Care to elaborate on this topic elsewhere?? "Pixel defects" as you call them have been my primary enemy in dSLR photography. But sometimes wonder if other people even notice them because they don't say anything about it. I grew to hate my 18-70DX, and the switch to nicer glass solved the problems I was having. But I'm still interested in "why" the DX lens behaved that way as far as the "pixel defects" from a technical point of view.

    (sorry, didn't meant to hijack the thread, my apologies)
  19. Brian-S


    Feb 10, 2007
    Bay Area, CA
    Rardon the slightly amateur question, but for those of us that aren't sure, can someone explain what "nailing the exposure" means? Or is there a good tutorial online? For example, let's say I use aperture priority mode at f/2.8 and 1/125s at ISO800 indoors. I take a picture and check the histogram, looks ok. How do I know if I've "nailed" the expsoure??

  20. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Simply that you got it right. Then your histogram would show a good spread of values with no little or no clipping at either end.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.