What is a reasonable ISO expectation for a partly cloudy day? Is my D610 not working correctly?

alphabyts

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 15, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
I am trying to understand if my Nikon D610 is not working as it could. Yesterday I took a ton of photos of my grandson's 4th birthday party in a yard with thin shade (pretty good amount of light), from a tripod at 1600-2000 sec F5.6 to 7.1, for a decent amount of 'action' going on. I set ISO to 200, with auto ISO enabled but failed to reset the limit to 1600 from a previous attempt in poor light of 2500, and it popped nearly every photo to 2500. Even 1600 is too high for good photos, but rather than lose the shot...I used a Sigma 24-105 art lens for the backyard party. I use a single focus point and auto focus and shoot raw, converting to DNG for processing. I manually set everything except lately I have been trying auto ISO with upper limit of 1600. This time I goofed and it was 2500. Almost all of the photos went to ISO 2500 and are poor quality, producing very soft noisy images. The only photos I've EVER taken that came out sharp were in such bright sunlight (beach or cloudless yard) or extremely close and still in bright light. This camera has almost never used 100-200 ISO for auto unless I'm shooting directly into a cloudless sky. In the past, I never enabled the Auto feature for that reason. However I missed a lot of shots due to dark grainy photos. Is this 'normal' -- do other shooters experience this? I just want to understand if I have the wrong expectations of this camera. Images (faces) are bumpy edged and grainy to a point where I cannot even correct them--so I ended up with just snapshots. So many good opportunities lost there - kids coming down the slide, playing in water and sand.
 

SquarePeg

hear me roar
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
13,953
Reaction score
12,170
Location
Boston
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
A couple of points.

Photos at ISO 2500 should not be completely unusable. Are you sure it’s not a focus issue? Maybe share an example.

At f7.1 ss 1/2000 in shade I wouldn’t expect ISO 200 to be enough. ISO 2500 seems about right to me for shade at that relatively high shutter speed. How close were you to the subjects? Maybe try a wider aperture.

It all depends on your metering mode. What is that set to? Are you sure exposure compensation was set to 0?

If you’re using a tripod did you turn off VR?
 

Strodav

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Nov 25, 2018
Messages
571
Reaction score
287
Location
Houston, Tx
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I agree with SquarePeg, it's probably not the camera. Let's back into your settings using the sunny 16 rule. Remember, in bright sunlight with an aperture at f/16 use a shutter speed of 1/ISO. Shade is generally 2 stops less than bright sunlight, so let's adjust the rule to f/8 (2 stops less than f/16 and close to what you were using). If you were using 1/2000 sec, it would suggest a good ISO would be about 2000. For 1/1600 a good ISO would be 1600. Seems that's not too far off from where you were. This is just a loose rule, your camera's system is much more accurate.

When shooting people I generally start at 1/250 sec, maybe 1/500 if they are moving a bit. I don't go to 1/1000 or shorter until I'm shooting competitive sports or birds in flight. Camera shake shouldn't have been an issue using a tripod. When shooting people, I generally open up the aperture to isolate my subject as much as possible. If I were shooting individual faces, I would use f/4 with that lens and focus on the eye. So, going from 1/2000 to 1/500 and going from f/7.1 to f/4 would have given you close to 4 stops. That would have taken ISO 2500 to somewhere between ISO 200 and 400.

I generally shoot raw, matrix metering, continuous focus (spot or 9 point), auto ISO between 64 and 800. I am constantly watching the meter in the viewfinder to make sure the exposure is correct. If my meter is showing I'm underexposed, then I know I max'd out ISO. You can also check for blinkies when viewing your images.

The 610 is an excellent camera and the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 art is a stellar lens, both very good choices and they should give you great results.
 
OP
alphabyts

alphabyts

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 15, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
SquarePeg: Thanks for good tips and oh my, I neglected to turn VR off. I avoided a larger than f/5.6 aperture for fear of an exact miss with single point focus on my active subjects. I did use the zoom for most and was set up about 20 ft away from the slide action in a mix of sun and shade. Admittedly, I did not set exposure compensation to 0 and in fact, don't even know what it is set to. It may be +/-2. I need to study. I did not realize how that would impact ISO. Thanks for the validation of ISO 2500 in shade at 2000 as being expected. I'm awful about doing people pics so I set my camera up too far away to stay unobtrusive. I probably should have hand-held but that party lasted a long time LOL. That's a heavy lens.

Strodav: f/1.4 was just too narrow of dof to catch these busy kids. I've struggled with this lens for so long thinking I was losing sharpness due to movement, thus the high speed choice. Also thanks for validation on my expectations for ISO. I really thought it would do better in daylight, especially light shade. It bears to reason that the best of the shots were actually at somewhat slower speeds. Thanks for sharing how you shoot generally. It is also very helpful. Perhaps I should just do a reset on the camera and start over. I don't have saved settings, I did try that once, which I liked, but things started to get wonky and I reset.

I have a Nikkor 70-300 and get sharper pictures under similar conditions and I try to get closer to my subjects, but I didn't think I could use it for this small backyard situation. I will check on the metering and I sure do wish I could shoot between 64 and 800--that would make me a happy camper!! Rarely with this lens.

In reviewing my past usage with this lens, I have taken a lot of good photos with it, but only in bright sunlight for the most part. I have done some external flash indoors for family events in the winter, but generally I don't even attempt anything indoors or shade anymore. I have attached 100% views (embarrassed though I am) to demonstrate the level of bad that brought me to this forum ;)
 

Attachments

  • PrettyBrightout_butsmaller Aperture.png
    PrettyBrightout_butsmaller Aperture.png
    1.6 MB · Views: 22
  • CloseupRaw_noshade.png
    CloseupRaw_noshade.png
    444.5 KB · Views: 19
  • Best i could do to improve in processing.png
    Best i could do to improve in processing.png
    358.8 KB · Views: 20
  • A distance of about 20-30ft.png
    A distance of about 20-30ft.png
    466 KB · Views: 22

SquarePeg

hear me roar
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
13,953
Reaction score
12,170
Location
Boston
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
If you’re far away a shallow depth of field is not usually an issue. You can look at a dof calculator or app to see. I’m not familiar with that lens but if it’s a continuous f4 regardless of zoom then I wouldn’t be shooting at f7 unless I could do so with a manually set low ISO.


Looking at your example photos, did you shoot in raw and have you applied sharpening and noise reduction? Also shooting at the extreme end of a zoom is typically never it’s sharpest….
 

mrca

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
872
Reaction score
277
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
On thing I always try to do when I get a new lens is to "learn it" ie, I check my usual shooting distances and get an idea what minimum aperture I need to get the appropriate dof for one, two or multiple subjects. For example, one of my favorite lenses is bashed by folks who are collectors or measurbators, not photographers. I know that for a head shot, although it is a 2.0, I can't get both eyes sharp on a head shot if the head is turned off camera axis unless stopped down to at least 3.2. The collectors will say, it has chromatic aberration wide open. In realville, I stop down nearly 2 stops and the CA is non existent or gone in 2 clicks in photoshop. Not only do I determine the dof I need and get, I also test to find how far behind the subject I need other subjects or bg to get the oof I want. Then when I'm shooting it isn't the blind squirrel occasionally finding the acorn, I KNOW what I need to get subject(s) in focus and the distance from the bg for bokeh/oof. You don't say what aperture you were shooting at and that plays into your dof and bokeh. Shooting at 24 and you will get lots in focus from a particular distance compared to zooming to the long end. Also, at 24 you tend to get less oof bg than the long end. What aperture were you shooting at and at what distance? I like dofmaster.com as a dof calculator. Also, are you using auto focus? With multiple spots used? A camera doesn't know if you want the eyes in focus or the slide next to them. It is a mistake folks tend to make when they get their first fast lens. I use one spot to meter and focus. The skin on caucasian kids is 2/3 to 1 stop brighter than middle gray that your meter thinks it is so the camera under exposes that amount making it middle gray so you must add it in. Spot just below the eye and back button focus while at the same time move the meter reading 1 stop brighter than dead center. Now you have eyes sharp and have nailed exposure. Funny you are trying to minimize noise/grain. I shoot 3200 speed film FOR chunky grain. You are capturing some great expressions from what I could see in your shots. Bambi Cantrell said, expression trumps perfection. I don't think you needed a shutter speed over 1/500 for kids no matter how fast they are moving. And if they are running consider panning with them to blur the bg to give the illusion of speed and movement.
 

RAZKY

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
304
Reaction score
82
Location
So. Cal.
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I am trying to understand if my Nikon D610 is not working as it could. Yesterday I took a ton of photos of my grandson's 4th birthday party in a yard with thin shade (pretty good amount of light), from a tripod at 1600-2000 sec F5.6 to 7.1, for a decent amount of 'action' going on. I set ISO to 200, with auto ISO enabled but failed to reset the limit to 1600 from a previous attempt in poor light of 2500, and it popped nearly every photo to 2500. Even 1600 is too high for good photos, but rather than lose the shot...I used a Sigma 24-105 art lens for the backyard party. I use a single focus point and auto focus and shoot raw, converting to DNG for processing. I manually set everything except lately I have been trying auto ISO with upper limit of 1600. This time I goofed and it was 2500. Almost all of the photos went to ISO 2500 and are poor quality, producing very soft noisy images. The only photos I've EVER taken that came out sharp were in such bright sunlight (beach or cloudless yard) or extremely close and still in bright light. This camera has almost never used 100-200 ISO for auto unless I'm shooting directly into a cloudless sky. In the past, I never enabled the Auto feature for that reason. However I missed a lot of shots due to dark grainy photos. Is this 'normal' -- do other shooters experience this? I just want to understand if I have the wrong expectations of this camera. Images (faces) are bumpy edged and grainy to a point where I cannot even correct them--so I ended up with just snapshots. So many good opportunities lost there - kids coming down the slide, playing in water and sand.
If I read correctly what you wrote, the camera is doing what you told it, so it's working properly.
 

cdd29

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jun 16, 2016
Messages
68
Reaction score
83
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
2500 shouldn't produce a ton of noise and reviews I've read said images up to 6400 should be pretty clean. Having said that, I've seen unwanted noise introduced as low as 1600 om my Pentax K-1 (which is a high ISO performer) and some Canon point & shoots, so it's not out of the realm of possibility. One thing you an try to salvage what you have is something like Topaz DeNoise and see if that will clean images up. Want to be careful to not overdo it but I've had pretty good luck cleaning up noisy/grainy images.
 

Strodav

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Nov 25, 2018
Messages
571
Reaction score
287
Location
Houston, Tx
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
2500 shouldn't produce a ton of noise and reviews I've read said images up to 6400 should be pretty clean. Having said that, I've seen unwanted noise introduced as low as 1600 om my Pentax K-1 (which is a high ISO performer) and some Canon point & shoots, so it's not out of the realm of possibility. One thing you an try to salvage what you have is something like Topaz DeNoise and see if that will clean images up. Want to be careful to not overdo it but I've had pretty good luck cleaning up noisy/grainy images.
Here's a plot of the SNR of Nikon's D850, the highest rated sensor of both it's dslr and milc cameras in terms of IQ, and the D610. Note, there's very little difference in SNR over the D610's sentire ISO range, it's just that the D850 has a more extended range. The bar to the right shows what DxOMark thinks is acceptable noise. Green is good, yellow, not so good, orange, ughh, red, throw it away. ISO 1600 is dipping into the yellow and D2500 is dipping into the orange.

D610 SNR RatioJPG.JPG
 

ac12

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
2,477
Reaction score
820
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Important (lesson learned) ALWAYS reset exposure compensation to 0 after a shoot.
And when you take the camera out for a new shoot, check that EC = 0.

Your exposure sounds about right.
Using the sunny 16 rule, ISO = 200, SS = 1/250, ap = f/16
Open shade 1 stop more, ISO = 200, SS = 1/250, ap = f/11
Equivalent exposure = ISO = 1600, SS = 1/1000, ap = f/5.6

If your EC was other than 0, that could explain the difference.

To use a lower ISO, you have to either use a larger aperture, or a slower shutter speed.
That puts more light on the sensor, so the ISO does not have to be so high.

Go into your back yard, and experiment.
 
OP
alphabyts

alphabyts

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 15, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Important (lesson learned) ALWAYS reset exposure compensation to 0 after a shoot.
And when you take the camera out for a new shoot, check that EC = 0.

Your exposure sounds about right.
Using the sunny 16 rule, ISO = 200, SS = 1/250, ap = f/16
Open shade 1 stop more, ISO = 200, SS = 1/250, ap = f/11
Equivalent exposure = ISO = 1600, SS = 1/1000, ap = f/5.6

If your EC was other than 0, that could explain the difference.

To use a lower ISO, you have to either use a larger aperture, or a slower shutter speed.
That puts more light on the sensor, so the ISO does not have to be so high.

Go into your back yard, and experiment.
I was definitely using shutter speeds too high for what I was trying to accomplish. Plus distance. I got used to trying to catch birds in flight, and that's a very different ballgame. I saw these kids as 'BIF' LOL. It is entirely possible that I inadvertently changed EC, and to be honest, I never check it, so THANKS for that info specifically! Also thanks for the exposure approximations and setting my expectations in general. I've slowed the shutter speed in a recent trip dramatically and also used crop frame for shots where I could to get another boost in zoom length from the 300 mm. They came out more to my satisfaction. I've always been nervous about the slower SS with hand-held, but the results were acceptable. I now allow it to use Auto ISO but limit it at between 400 and 800 or whatever I feel like I can tolerate depending on conditions--I'm glad that is an option! I have noticed that it errs on the side of higher ISO when using Auto. There have been some shots where I've had to set it lower just to keep it from blowing out highlights...I really don't trust it a lot, but if I set the upper limit reasonably low, I can get crisp shots. I had much higher expectations for a camera advertised for it's ability to handle high ISOs. Not so much...Again thank you for your kind response.
 

RAZKY

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
304
Reaction score
82
Location
So. Cal.
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I am trying to understand if my Nikon D610 is not working as it could. Yesterday I took a ton of photos of my grandson's 4th birthday party in a yard with thin shade (pretty good amount of light), from a tripod at 1600-2000 sec F5.6 to 7.1, for a decent amount of 'action' going on. I set ISO to 200, with auto ISO enabled but failed to reset the limit to 1600 from a previous attempt in poor light of 2500, and it popped nearly every photo to 2500. Even 1600 is too high for good photos, but rather than lose the shot...I used a Sigma 24-105 art lens for the backyard party. I use a single focus point and auto focus and shoot raw, converting to DNG for processing. I manually set everything except lately I have been trying auto ISO with upper limit of 1600. This time I goofed and it was 2500. Almost all of the photos went to ISO 2500 and are poor quality, producing very soft noisy images. The only photos I've EVER taken that came out sharp were in such bright sunlight (beach or cloudless yard) or extremely close and still in bright light. This camera has almost never used 100-200 ISO for auto unless I'm shooting directly into a cloudless sky. In the past, I never enabled the Auto feature for that reason. However I missed a lot of shots due to dark grainy photos. Is this 'normal' -- do other shooters experience this? I just want to understand if I have the wrong expectations of this camera. Images (faces) are bumpy edged and grainy to a point where I cannot even correct them--so I ended up with just snapshots. So many good opportunities lost there - kids coming down the slide, playing in water and sand.
If you've had the camera more than a day or two, you ought to have already tested and know the highest ISO you are satisfied with.
 
OP
alphabyts

alphabyts

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 15, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
If you've had the camera more than a day or two, you ought to have already tested and know the highest ISO you are satisfied with.
Yes I've had it a 'day or two' and I know the highest ISO I am satisfied with. Probably should read the whole thread. That was a bit salty. One of the reasons I don't often resort to forums. My expectations are reset and I've made changes in my shooting.
 

Most reactions

ClickASnap

New Topics

Top