Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

December 6, 2011

Ernie at ISO 1600

Filed under: Cats, digital benefits, light — richditch @ 11:17 am


Today’s post is a quickie resulting from a simple test out of curiosity.

I was a bit slow in switching from film to digital, waiting until 2004 and giving up my Nikon N90S cameras for an “entry level” Nikon D70 bundled with a “kit” 18-70mm lens. The D70 is only a 6MP camera – way behind the current standard where 18MP is now common. I’ve upgraded twice now from the D70, to a 10MP Nikon D200 in 2007 and a 12MP D300 earlier this year. Unlike in the days of film, when camera features were added slowly and the overall look and quality of an image was determined by the brand and speed of the film used, digital has brought rapid obsolescence to camera bodies as the sensors improve. Before the days of digital a good camera held value and selling one when upgrading was a reasonable strategy. Digital bodies, on the other hand, lose value quickly when a new model is released, so I’ve hung on to the D70 for more “point and shoot” duties around the house.

In my film days I started out in the world of Kodachrome with an ISO 0f 64, and eventually switched to Fujichrome with an ISO of 100 when processing quality of K64 took a dive. But I still hung on to Kodachrome 200 as my “High speed” option.

Digital changed that completely. The native ISO of the D70 is 200, and it performs well at ISO 400. I had used it a couple times at ISO 800 when working in limited morning light. That setting saved my bacon but I felt the iamges needed some careful noise reduction applied to deal with the noise generated by the ISO setting.

Since then I’ve learned to be more careful with my exposures and I now am comfortable shooting at ISO 800 with my D300 when needed even without the need to apply any noise reduction.

With all that background out of the way I can now turn to today’s image: “multipurpose” Ernie on the couch. I decided to see what sort of quality I could get with the 7+ year old technology of the D70 at ISO 1600 which I had never tried. The natural light was nice (I always prefer it over flash whenever I can get away with it). The almost ancient AF 50/1.8 (bought used in 1994) was on the D70 and makes a nice “portrait” lens on the smaller sensor of my digital bodies. At ISO 1600 I could shoot at 1/80th second at f/2.8 so I could even skip setting up the tripod.

This image is cropped to 71% of the frame and has no noise reduction applied. I find the results quite usable and expect I’ll find more opportunities for it in the future.


1 Comment »

  1. That is really pretty good IQ for a D70 at 1600 ISO. That is one of the reasons I sold my D300 (kept my D300s) to get the D7000 just so I use higher ISO in low light situations. So far the D7000 gives some very acceptable images (hand held and tripod) under the right conditions at ISO 1600 and 2000 but I have found the metering system in the D300s much better than the D7000. A started out with a Nikon D70 so this is a very interesting experiment and I am surprised how well this image looks without applying any noise reduction.

    Comment by Jim H — December 8, 2011 @ 9:45 am

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