Top Nikon High ISO performers for DX and FX.

heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
edited March 2013 in General Discussions
Just curious what the current real world opinion for High ISO performance between the various Nikon DSLRs are..

I think it is clear that almost all the FX cameras would out perform the DX versions but I read that the latest batch of 24MP DX cameras out perform the D700 and D3 is this true ?

With the current FX cameras. I think I saw some where that the D3S is still the champ with the D4 second is this correct ?

Also comparing D800 with the d600 I understand that the D600 beats it by about 1 stop. Really ? so in terms of Bang for buck for High ISO the D600 seems the best value!

Which DX is currently the high ISO champ?
Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

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Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    edited March 2013
    I think pretty much always the newest of any format/range is the best unless the sensor is the same as a previous model i.e. 5200/7100 then they are the same as regards ISO performance.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited March 2013
    While the discussion should get lots of opinions, my experience suggests there are multiple factors in how much noise a sensor has. And, with more pixels, when ISO is pushed to the limit there seems to be a tendency for more noise.

    I think the exposure and control of dynamic range may be more important than the actual differences in sensors. And, how much noise reduction in the camera will affect the final out put.

    I have found my D4 works very well for me and shoot at up to 10,000 ISO with no worry.

    Here is ISO 10,000
    Motor

    Full size:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fantinesfotos/7091167431/sizes/o/in/set-72157630044833773/

    From my perspective, this is quite acceptable noise. And, this was shot with an old 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 Nikkor

    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited April 2013
    High ISO values affect both noise and dynamic range

    So deciding what is and what is not, acceptable or better , is a very personal thing

    IMHO there is a very big difference between the D700 and the D800 at low ISO values
    but the difference become less noticeable at high ISO levels

    If want to see the difference, use a wedding group, as a test subject
    you cannot easily "fix" a small "noisy" face in a wedding group, in post production
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    edited March 2013
    Wow how things have changed. A very short while back I used to gawp at those pics from your D4 taken at telephone number ISO's and be completely blown away. Now we are looking at not too different from the DX D7100. By the time I change my D7K it will be a D400 so who knows - ISO 12800 as good as your shot Tommie?

    Edit: Did you do any noise reduction PP on that shot?
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    When comparing sensors of different pixel count, we should be comparing 'perceptual' noise when printed or displayed at the same image size, rather than per pixel noise.

    In these comparisons, higher pixel count sensors of the same generation do reasonably well.

    When a clean ISO 400 was a challenge, this aspect of performance was more generally important, but there are still applications where being able to go higher matters, such as in theater work.

    ... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    My digital cameras have gone from D100 to D200, to D700 and now D800. The jump in capability at high ISOs was massive from D100 to D700, less so between the D700 and D800, but still an improvement. Most extraordinary for me though is the progression from film. Much of my work at one time was theatre photography and oh boy, was that a technical struggle! This was especially so if, like me, you always used the theatre lighting rather than going in and blitzing all the atmosphere away with flash. It was very difficult and so the capability of the current crop of digital cameras still astonishes me. Wish I had had them when I was working!
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    When comparing sensors of different pixel count, we should be comparing 'perceptual' noise when printed or displayed at the same image size, rather than per pixel noise.
    Agreed.
    Always learning.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    My digital cameras have gone from D100 to D200, to D700 and now D800. The jump in capability at high ISOs was massive from D100 to D700, less so between the D700 and D800, but still an improvement. Most extraordinary for me though is the progression from film. Much of my work at one time was theatre photography and oh boy, was that a technical struggle! This was especially so if, like me, you always used the theatre lighting rather than going in and blitzing all the atmosphere away with flash. It was very difficult and so the capability of the current crop of digital cameras still astonishes me. Wish I had had them when I was working!
    I agree completely.

    It is easy to forget how awful ISO 800 color film was.

    The D800 being better than the 700 at high ISO at 3 times the pixel count is an achievement for the industry.

    Because I am doing more theater work, usually with stage lights (I have been told that my 6 foot umbrellas are intrusive), I am considering a D4.

    The real challenge in theater work is now white balance, everyone wants stage light ambience but correct skin tones.

    For all my other applications, my D700, 800e, and 3x have been more than satisfactory.

    Regards .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited March 2013
    I'm not sure that I am completely sold on the "perceptual" noise argument, which in reality is an argument for more resolution. We all crop, and that is where the noise rears it's ugly head quickly. At that point the arguments fall apart.

    One thing I don't like about any of the reviewers out there is they take raw files unprocessed - that is a joke. We all process files and apply NR to them, sharpen them, push saturation, clarity, etc. All of that adds and reduces noise to a very large amount. Some camera's sensors can be pushed more, others can not. My X100 can be pushed a great deal, my D300, not as much and the D800 needs to be done with a bit more care as (another thread post's about halos) high resolution sensors have newer issues arise.

    Noise is different on every sensor. I think the real question is, "Can you process with little effort a D7100 (DX) file that matches a D700/D3 file that is processed." Hard part about that is, who has those sitting around? One thing's for sure, a DX sensor will match/beat the D700/D3 soon in the noise department.
    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @spraynpray

    No noise reduction applied.....
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    I thought there was none - so that would clean up even better at 10,000 ISO - wow!
    Always learning.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    I'm not sure that I am completely sold on the "perceptual" noise argument, which in reality is an argument for more resolution. We all crop, and that is where the noise rears it's ugly head quickly. At that point the arguments fall apart.
    The issue is comparable image size, not perception.

    A D800 image cropped to DX is app. 15 mpx
    A D700,D3,D3s image cropped to DX is app. 5 mpx

    The comparisons are still valid, for them not to be one would have to assume that a D700 user will gert closer or use longer glass to fill the frame. If this is possible and available, a competent D800 user will do the same.

    Regards .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    That didn't really line up with what I was talking about but that is valid as well. I never assume someone is taking the same photo/scene. Great for philosophical discussions but not practical. I wish someone I knew had a D700 yet so I could test the D800 cropped against the D700. Actually I would just like a whole camera store of bodies to test against each other! I'd be a pig in mud for sure.

    Overall the new camera's hold the dynamic range better, contrast, color, detail better than previous generations for sure at higher ISOs. One thing I have noticed that even with noise in my D800 files, the noise appears less noticeable since it doesn't get in the way of the detail showing though. Many shots I can flip to B&W and they still look really good. When the noise turns "blotchy" then the image is lost. That is where the Higher MP in some eyes can be "better" at higher isos.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    The D4's high ISO is outstanding. :)>-
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    edited March 2013
    I wish someone I knew had a D700 yet so I could test the D800 cropped against the D700.
    My experience is that the files out of the D800 cropped are a bit better than the D7000 and leagues better than the D300. However, I don't see why I would compare that to a D700.
    Post edited by SquamishPhoto on
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    The D4's high ISO is outstanding. :)>-
    so do we have consensus that the D4 is the ISO champ now ? or is it still the D3S ?

    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • Fred_BFred_B Posts: 24Member
    I'm finding myself more interested in dynamic range than high ISO performance. I can get good pictures at ISO 6400 on my D800 provided there is enough light available. If it's dark, I've seen noise issues at ISO 1200.

    Often, High ISO noise is more of a dynamic range issue than an ISO issue. You can get noise at ISO 800 at night with a long enough exposure (and hot pixels).
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @heartyfisher: When it comes to taking a shot for me that requires a very high level of ISO usage, I have to say it is a very fine margin of ISO performance deference between the D3s and D4. Have the D4 is the only "hands on" experience I have to go with. I have however used the D800 and that to is fantastic. The D4 has other features and advantage that the D3s does not have, which is why I believe adds to its over all "value" when buyer is consider one vs the other.

    In closing, I like to say that taking a shot that has require me in using a high level of ISO, I have found that the right technique, proper equipment and lens choice has yielded far better results than me just cranking up the ISO and firing away. Having a good tripod and a nice 1.4-1.8 prime is the way to go...and yes a D4 will come in handy as well.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    I agree with some of what Golf007 said, but I don't have noise issues in real life with my D7000. I shoot at ISO 800 MAX and that is reluctantly because I know that the image isn't going to be good enough after PP if I go much above that. Thing is, I never seem to have a problem with keeping to that rule. 99% of my shots are at 100-200.

    Perhaps that expensive body would mean more keepers due to my shakes, but I think Nikon need to change the way they do Auto ISO first.
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited April 2013
    , but I think Nikon need to change the way they do Auto ISO first.
    The auto ISO on my D800 works very well
    I have it set two clicks high
    It takes into account focal length and is my default setting for most shoots, particularly in the evening , when the light is fading

    I do not know if the D4 , D7000 or D7100 have the same setting

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    It isn't a question of the effectiveness of the system as it stands now seven, I think they should couple it to the VR system so it ups the ISO if you have the shakes. Easier said than done with the current lens connection system perhaps but it would be unique if they could do it.
    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    @spraynpray

    No noise reduction applied.....
    You're sure about that? I don't know Lightroom in this aspect, but importing RAW files into any available converter does happen with default presets set by the programmers. I do believe, you're not adding additional NR and also do believe D4’s outstanding ISO Performance but at the moment I don't believe "NO NR at all".

    Also, shooting short shutter speeds at bright light is another case than shooting at very low light with lots of shadows and the need to underexpose because otherwise the highlights will be blanked out.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    There is no point in talking about things we have no control over JJ, even if what you say is correct. Obviously Msmoto's intention there is to convey that she added no noise reduction in post.
    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Of course, spnp, but then we should as well consider that different RAW converters will lead to different results even if no additional NR is added. So, it's always the combination of RAW converter with cam.

    And even when we add NR in post - different RAW converters use different ways of NR. So, +15 in AA could lead to similiar results as +4 in LR (just picked up numbers wild guessing)
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    In LR 4.3 the Noise reduction slider was set at zero for my ISO 10,000 shot.
    Msmoto, mod
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