Going Lo with D90 (and similar cameras)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by kdabbagh, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. kdabbagh

    kdabbagh TPF Noob!

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    Hey all,

    At a recent photo outing I met a photographer who scolded me for using 'Lo1' setting on my D90. He said I should never go lower than ISO 200. He tried to explain something about dynamic range and Image Quality (IQ) being compromised if using the 'Lo' settings.

    My understanding is that Lo1 is equivalent to ISO 100, which should produce the most noise-free exposures. I tried doing some research on dynamic range and IQ, but I admit, I am not so great at understanding all the technical details I found. All I understood that at the 'Lo' settings, the camera is conducting some sort of 'electronic trickery'.

    I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this, and if in fact the Lo (and HI, according to that same photographer) settings are not favorable for shooting, what is your rationale behind it. Sorry if this question seems redundant or is too amateur

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. --ares--

    --ares-- TPF Noob!

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    I don't see why you wouldn't use Lo1 if you could afford it. ISO 100 is always (at least in the rational world) supposed to be more noise free than ISO 200.
     
  3. mdtusz

    mdtusz TPF Noob!

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    I have been told this before as well. The d90 has 'native' ISO from 200 to 3200 and the lo and hi settings are exactly what you said, 'electronic trickery' that is done by the cameras computer. I don't know for sure how much IQ degradation comes with using it, but I haven't seen any noticeable results ever (using the lo setting) but I only ever use it when it is super bright out and I don't have a ND filter. There won't really be a difference in noise from 200 to lo... at least I wouldn't think so on the d90. I'd be curious to see what the dxo tests show though...
     
  4. photographybyguillau

    photographybyguillau TPF Noob!

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    I am always using my d90 at 200,

    sometimes using me 1.8 in alot of light, i use the lo1 to get a couple stop up to get less light.
     
  5. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    Whoever told you that is correct. ISO 200 is the base iso...there is no lower on the D90. Lo modes for ISO just uses electronics to emulate ISO100....it does this at the expense of Dynamic Range and nosie. For the absolute cleanest and best image quality possible on your D90, you should be at ISO 200. I've never shot less than ISO 200 and wish I could disable the Lo/Hi settings alltogether so I don't accidentally use them.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The only time you should really need to use that setting, is when you want a slower shutter speed.
     
  7. cfusionpm

    cfusionpm TPF Noob!

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    I always wondered why one of my friends who shoots Nikon always suggests to start at 200 ISO and not 100...

    Is there a reason Nikon doesn't use 100 as their base?
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    They are just weird :greenpbl:
     
  9. Newcastle Shooter

    Newcastle Shooter TPF Noob!

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    I love my D90 and the noise free images its cabable of producing - but i never drop below that natural 200 for 2 reasons / dont feel the need / people have advised me against it and the images feel slightly different (like electronic trickery has been involved)

    Good question though.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The base ISO is a function of the type of image sensor.

    Nikon makes cameras that have a base ISO of 100, and those cameras have a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) image sensor. Charge-coupled device - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Cameras having a ISO 200 base have CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) image senors. CMOS - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    CMOS image sensor have better noise immunity and lower static power consumption than CCD's.

    By the way.....Image sensors, CCD or CMOS, are not digital devices.
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yes, there is a reason, and it is the result of the sensor and electronics design used in different cameras. Every sensor is set up for a Base ISO value; in the Nikon D3x, the base value is 100. In the Nikon D2x, the value was also ISO 100 base, with a top official range of 800 ISO. Those cameras, the D3x and D2x, were really designed as high-resolution cameras, and so they were designed for use at 100 ISO, and not the 200 ISO base level of other cameras designed as more general-use cameras.

    If a camera is designed (sensor and electronics) to have a base ISO of 200, it makes it easier to get better performance at more-elevated ISO values like 400,800,and 1600. Noise gets worse and worse as ISO goes up, so if a camera is designed for "studio" use, Nikon will set the base ISO at 100, since it's very useful to have some flexibility at fractional ISO values like 125,160,and 200 when shooting under studio flash, where bracketing is done with ISO value and not lens aperture or the flash power. For generalist cameras, beginning at ISO 200 means better performance at 200 and at all ISO values higher than 200, all things otherwise being equal; if the sensor and read-out electronics are all optimized for a base ISO of 200, that means
    lower noise at 400 and 800 ISO settings, and since those settings are very often used by people who shoot available light and/or speedlight flash stuff, Nikon develops those cameras with a base ISO value of 200, not 100.

    If you happen to own professional studio flash equipment which has 2,400 watt-second power capacity, and distributes flash power in big chunks like 400,800,and 1200 w-s , the lower ISO of the "studio Nikon's" like the D2x and the D3x is really welcome.
     
  12. jeff000

    jeff000 TPF Noob!

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    As someone said about the sensors already.
    But really the biggest thing is there is no standard between companies.

    ISO200 in Nikon and ISO100 in canon are more or less the same.
     

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