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Old 12-10-2012, 07:15 AM   #1
RampantAndroid
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Default D7000 too much noise

So, I'm hoping you guys can give me a second opinion on my photos. These were taken with a D7000, on a snowy day with not ideal lighting. These photos are taken in ISO 1100, 1/500 shutter speed, f/6.3. The graininess I see shows up in the darker areas - like the faces and on the trees in shadow.

To me, this looks too grainy for ISO 1100. Is this fine, or not? The photos have the EXIF data intact, so feel free to look at my settings.

http://regex.info/exif.cgi?imgurl=ht...w/DSC_4335.JPG



http://regex.info/exif.cgi?imgurl=ht...w/DSC_4336.JPG
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:56 AM   #2
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Relatively speaking...looks about right...

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond7000/12
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:06 AM   #3
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You're going to get more noise trying to brighten shadows vs. recovering blown highlights. Next time overexpose the snowy portion a tad more, and you'll get less shadow noise.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:41 AM   #4
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jpeyton is right about exposure. Spot metering on your subject would help some. This is a shot that begs for fill flash. An SB-400 is small and works great in exactly this situation. The built-in flash would be better than not using any flash.

Here is a shot on my S95 using the built-in flash set to -2/3. The girls would have been very dark without the fill flash.


Last edited by JohnnyRebel; 12-10-2012 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpeyton View Post
You're going to get more noise trying to brighten shadows vs. recovering blown highlights. Next time overexpose the snowy portion a tad more, and you'll get less shadow noise.
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Originally Posted by JohnnyRebel View Post
jpeyton is right about exposure. Spot metering on your subject would help some. This is a shot that begs for fill flash. An SB-400 is small and works great in exactly this situation. The built-in flash would be better than not using any flash.
I agree that a fill flash may be an easier way out and help preserve highlights better. Even the built-in flash on the D7k is enough, so long as you aren't too far away from the effective range of the flash.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:11 AM   #6
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I could be wrong, but I don't think fill flash would have been necessary to correct the exposure, although it would have made for a better photo overall. The OP is doing something I did quite a bit with my D7K early on, which is not understand the modes.

First, the ISO was set too high in camera which is why there is a shutter speed of 1/500. Auto ISO won't lower it below whatever the manual setting is, so the OP got a lot of needless noise. The shutter speed could have been reduced considerably to allow lower ISO and still avoided camera shake.

Second, point metering on the face would have helped with the exposure. Matrix metering is good most of the time but for shots like this it isn't very useful. The snow really skews middle gray with matrix. Also, using single point focusing here would have also been useful

The ISO setting is the biggest cause for the noise and was easily avoidable. Don't worry about it OP because it's part of learning. If you are using aperture priority mode, monitor the shutter speed because it gives you clues. Shutter speeds as low as 1/focal length is a general rule of thumb for what you need to avoid camera shake, so in this case you shot at 12mm which with 1.6X crop is 19.2mm which means a shutter of anything faster than 1/20 or 1/25 would have been fast enough. Chances are you could have brought the ISO down to 200 or even 100 and still been in the clear.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:16 AM   #7
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Was this shot taken with Active D-Lighting used?

That will make the noise worse as the camera pushes shadows to try and fit more Dynamic Range into the image.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:19 AM   #8
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Not going to reply/quote everyone in one post, but here goes. First, thanks for the replies. I know full well I messed up the exposures, and I'm way too new to my D7k to be good with it.

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Originally Posted by twistedlogic View Post
Was this shot taken with Active D-Lighting used?

That will make the noise worse as the camera pushes shadows to try and fit more Dynamic Range into the image.
Nope, these were NEF/RAW shots with no JPEG counterparts. These photos are from ViewNX2 with no changes made (used that instead of Lightroom which autosharpens.)

I recovered a bit from the photo in lightroom, but at the cost of sharpness on the faces.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anteaus View Post
I could be wrong, but I don't think fill flash would have been necessary to correct the exposure, although it would have made for a better photo overall. The OP is doing something I did quite a bit with my D7K early on, which is not understand the modes.

First, the ISO was set too high in camera which is why there is a shutter speed of 1/500. Auto ISO won't lower it below whatever the manual setting is, so the OP got a lot of needless noise. The shutter speed could have been reduced considerably to allow lower ISO and still avoided camera shake.
Well, there was no shake. The camera was on a log in timer mode

I believe auto ISO was on, and hell if it has EVER worked for me. It will regularly go below my minimum shutter speed (which is always above 1/30) and for WHATEVER REASON prefers high ISO, when a lower ISO with slower shutter would be sufficient. I hate auto iso with a firey passion inside, and have finally decided to give up on it, unless someone can explain it's hair brained logic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anteaus View Post
Second, point metering on the face would have helped with the exposure. Matrix metering is good most of the time but for shots like this it isn't very useful. The snow really skews middle gray with matrix. Also, using single point focusing here would have also been useful

The ISO setting is the biggest cause for the noise and was easily avoidable. Don't worry about it OP because it's part of learning. If you are using aperture priority mode, monitor the shutter speed because it gives you clues. Shutter speeds as low as 1/focal length is a general rule of thumb for what you need to avoid camera shake, so in this case you shot at 12mm which with 1.6X crop is 19.2mm which means a shutter of anything faster than 1/20 or 1/25 would have been fast enough. Chances are you could have brought the ISO down to 200 or even 100 and still been in the clear.
Yeah, I've read the rule before, and just totally forgot to pay attention to the speed on this photo. I should have put it in manual mode.

Also, no flash was used because this is a Tokina 11-16mm wide angle lens, which with the built in flash throws a shadow on the ground. I don't yet own anything like an SB600 or 700...though I should probably finally just invest in one.

How would I have used the spot metering in this instance? Would that have just brightened the photo to wash the background out?

Thanks again, everyone. Nice to know this is just operator error and not anything wonky with the camera. If someone can explain how best to use auto ISO (or confirm that the correct way to use it is turning it off) that'd be great.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RampantAndroid View Post
How would I have used the spot metering in this instance? Would that have just brightened the photo to wash the background out?

Thanks again, everyone. Nice to know this is just operator error and not anything wonky with the camera. If someone can explain how best to use auto ISO (or confirm that the correct way to use it is turning it off) that'd be great.
There wouldn't have been shake with a shutter of 1/500. That's a shutter speed for action!

As for spot metering, yes it would have blown out the sky but at least you would have been properly exposed. Sometimes you have to make a compromise, because you have a finite number of f-stops to play with. Since you used a timer it's a little trickier, but basically I would make sure your partner is where you want them and use single point focus on their face and make sure you are set to spot metering. Assuming they don't move, the camera will meter off of their face and give you a correct exposure. At that point you might be able to save some highlights in post processing.

As for auto ISO it works like this. You set the minimum ISO manually, and then specify a max ISO and the minimum shutter speed that it should use before it actually raises the ISO above the minimum setting. If you inadvertantly or purposefully raise the ISO whether its in manual or auto, that setting becomes the new minimum. In your case that meant 1100. With that setting, all of your photos would use that ISO. Auto ISO only raises ISO when necessary, but it will never lower it below your manual setting because it assumes that's what you want. Sometimes going full manual is very usefull but Auto-ISO works very well when you set your limits correctly. For that lens and daylight usage, I would set it to 100 with max of 500-800 and a min shutter somewhere between 1/30 and 1/50 to cover the range of the lens. Also you can set the camera to display ISO in the viewfinder so if you want to stay below a certain ISO you can just widen the aperture a bit to compensate.

Myself, I tend to not use Auto-ISO but not because it doesn't work properly. For day shots, I will choose an ISO between 100-200 and then use aperture to tune the exposure. In other words, I tend to stay somewhere between f/5.6 and f/10 and when the camera tells me I'm underexposing (watch the needle gauge in the viewfinder), I just widen the aperture a bit to compensate. So basically I'm giving up some DOF for lower noise. With your lens DOF is vastly more manageable than with my 35mm 1.8G so you have more maneouvering room.

A bit wordy but I hope you find it useful. Feel free to ask whatever you want. I'm not a pro so there is much I probably can't answer but I have a pretty good working knowledge of the basics.

Last edited by Anteaus; 12-10-2012 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RampantAndroid View Post
I believe auto ISO was on, and hell if it has EVER worked for me.
Auto-ISO has been the source of numerous discussions on the dpreview Nikon forums. There are two camps, the camp who believes it works reasonable and the rest of us.
Supposedly, the new D5200 is supposed to do have all new auto-iso that works like you'd expect it to.

To beat the dead horse: Spot-metering would have helped ( but your wife would have had to sit still while you metered off of her / kept the spot on her ).
Fill flash would have been better... depending on your distance.


I will say this: In general, that photo looks worse than I'd expect ... if it was ISO 6400 maybe ...
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:32 PM   #11
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Auto-ISO has been the source of numerous discussions on the dpreview Nikon forums. There are two camps, the camp who believes it works reasonable and the rest of us.
Assuming you don't think it works reasonably, how do you think it should work? You set a minimun ISO, maximim ISO, and shutter threshold It's pretty straight forward. I do believe that the book does a terrible job of describing how it actually works and confuses people by saying the base ISO defaults at 100 but forgets to mention that ISO adjustments also affect that base. It didn't take me long to figure out but it could have been much easier.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:12 PM   #12
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From Ken Rockwell's D7000 User's Guide:

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I use Auto ISO, which lets the D7000 set itself perfectly in any light.

ISO, pronounced "eye ess oh," sets the D7000's sensitivity to light. 100 is normal, and 6,400 is much more sensitive for very low light.

Unlike film, the D7000 can be set to adjust itself to the light conditions all by itself.

Auto ISO increases the ISO automatically as it gets darker so I don't have to stop and set it myself. It shoots at ISO 100 in good light, and at 1/15 of a second (or any speed you choose) it starts ramping up the ISO to a maximum of 6,400 (or any ISO you choose) as it gets darker. Only if it gets much darker will it let the shutter speed go below 1/15 at ISO 6,400, exactly as I'd do manually.

To set this, press:

MENU > SHOOTING (camera icon) > ISO sensitivity settings > ISO sensitivity > 100 (This also can be set from the ISO button and rear dial while looking at the top LCD.)

and

MENU > CAMERA icon > ISO sensitivity settings > Auto ISO sensitivity control > ON

In this same place, set Maximum sensitivity and Minimum shutter speed to taste. I set ISO 6,400 as the maximum because the D7000 still looks great at ISO 6,400. If you set a lower speed, the D7000 will start shooting at slower speeds when it could have kept the speed up at a higher (and still clean) ISO.

I set the Minimum shutter speed depending on my lens and subject.

For family, people, action and kids, I set 1/125. For sports you might want to set 1/250 or 1/500. This is the speed the D7000 will try to hold by increasing the ISO, and below which the D7000 will shoot at the highest ISO you set above.

For shots of still subjects, I set this to the slowest speed at which I can hand-hold sharply. For me, that's 1/8 with VR wide-angle lenses, and 1/30 for VR telephotos.
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:23 PM   #13
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Thon Hogan has a great book on the D7000 you can download.
This is his review of the D7000 but the book give a much better review. (alot more positive) Check out his site. . . The book will give you a great understanding of this camera and give a good insite on how to work around some of it's weaknesses.

http://bythom.com/nikond7000review.htm
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:56 PM   #14
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I have a D700 and use auto ISO exclusively and it has NEVER been an issue. I shoot in A mode and dial in +.3 - +.7 EC (it just the way my camera meters).

You (the subjects) in the photo are way underexposed. Severe underexposure will cause noise even at low ISOs.

The camera can only do so much, bright white background and foreground, you're dressed in all black and in shadow. Can't get much worse than that for any camera's AE.

Spot metering may have resulted in overexposure due to your all black outfit unless the meter sensor is small enough just to cover a face (which it isn't).

Best option for this would be CW with a stop or so of +EC (just guessing) maybe even more.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:09 PM   #15
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It's definitely an exposure issue. Underexposed areas will have noise at that ISO.

Also when taking self shots like this what you should do is have someone go to the position you'll be taking the shot, autofocus on them, then turn autofocus off. Cause the camera focused on the background there which is why your subjects are blurry.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Spot metering may have resulted in overexposure due to your all black outfit unless the meter sensor is small enough just to cover a face (which it isn't).
I disagree. That may be the case with your D700 but not so with the D7000. The sensor would have been the same size or slightly smaller than the face. Also, center weighted is always an option to try. In any case you are absolutely right about EC. Just another tool to help you get the shot.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:09 PM   #17
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Auto ISO works great if you understand it. The best example I can give for it's use would be if you were at a park taking pictures of kids running around. You know you need a high shutter speed and you know that you want a certain aperture. You would set it to manual, dial in your S and A, and let it raise and lower the ISO as needed depending on the light conditions at the time. It can work well on aperture priority as well as long as you set the minimum shutter speed correctly. The shot you took above didn't need a 1/500 shutter speed let alone 1100 ISO but that has been addressed above.
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