Nikon's ISO 200

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Brianm, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Brianm

    Brianm Guest

    I searched hi & low if this ? was asked, but haven't found it. Since
    Nikon's lowest ISO setting has (until recently) been 200, I have always
    thought Canons (or any camera with a "native" 100 ISO) had a noise
    advantage (at 100). We all know 100 has less noise than 200 on a
    camera. However, after having learned about "native" ISO's, Nikon's
    "native" ISO continues to be 200. So, was I WRONG in my thinking?

    Does this mean that Nikon's ISO 200 will have basically the SAME amount
    of noise (or rather, lack of) as ISO 100 in a Canon? Are they
    functionally equivalent? Up until now I had resisted buying a Nikon,
    thinking Nikon's 200 was equivalent to Canon's 200, but maybe I have to
    reformulate my entire way of thinking about Nikons.

    Thanks in advance!
    Brianm, Nov 23, 2009
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  2. Brianm

    Guest Guest

    nikon and canon use different sensor technology and the native iso is
    different. also, nikon had iso 100 since the d2x and d200, which aren't
    all that recent.
    sometimes it's better, sometimes it's not. it depends which particular
    nikon and canon cameras your talking about. not that you will easily be
    able to tell the difference, even at 400.
    Guest, Nov 23, 2009
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  3. Brianm

    Ray Fischer Guest

    Nope. Different cameras, different technology. If you want a
    comparison of noise then look up the camera reviews at

    (Short version: They're very similar)
    Ray Fischer, Nov 23, 2009
  4. Brianm

    Me Guest

    Note that some of those comparison charts plot ISO 200 "native" cameras
    alongside ISO 100. It might have been better to run a standard test at
    ISO 200, but that's also not perfect, and neither is using "lo-1.0"
    setting on a Nikon and plotting it tagged as real ISO 100.
    FWIW, raw data analysis I've seen for Nikon's newer 12 and 24mp aps-c
    and 35mm sensors shows native ISO at about 150, so closer to ISO 200
    than ISO 100.
    Doesn't matter much. You can sometimes see shot noise in skies if
    sharpness, contrast and saturation is up and you've got "active
    D-Lighting" on, but shadow detail is excellent and pattern noise
    effectively absent. As usual, exposing correctly is very important.
    Me, Nov 23, 2009
  5. Brianm

    OldBoy Guest

    OldBoy, Nov 23, 2009
  6. Brianm

    Me Guest

    There's a slight reduction in contrast. Tests seem to show some models
    have a slight reduction in DR, and others show a slight increase when
    set at "Lo 1.0" (ISO 100), but the difference is only a fraction of a
    stop either way, not IMO worth worrying about, probably just related to
    ratio between read and shot noise. If you want to use a Nikon (and
    probably Sony with similar sensor) at "forced" ISO 100, and you adjust
    contrast etc in PP as a matter of course anyway, just use it and don't
    Me, Nov 24, 2009
  7. Brianm

    Paul Furman Guest

    They do some kind of calculation to indicate the 'true' ISO of various
    cameras. I don't recall the details but the basic test would be to put
    the same lens at the same aperture on different cameras and measure the
    exposure time to achieve identical brightness from the raw files. But
    there are other little fiddles that each manufacturer makes so it's
    probably not that simple. DXO's calculations are probably not perfect
    either but no doubt there is some similar variability in various cameras.

    Paul Furman

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
    Paul Furman, Nov 24, 2009
  8. Brianm

    Paul Furman Guest

    The difference is probably trivial for noise as other replies suggest.
    100, 200, whatever is already stunningly clean & good for most purposes
    (excluding astrophotography or scientific measurement uses).

    Dynamic range is what concerns me more and I don't know how much impact
    there is on that. The only times I've been tempted to set pushed Lo -1.0
    compensation is where I want to have the lens wide but there is too much
    light and in those cases, too much light usually means bright highlights
    in full sun prone to blowing out so I usually back off that idea unless
    it's crucial for my aims.

    So, for me, it's very rare that I need or care about ISO 100, in the
    real world. High ISOs are much more valuable.

    Paul Furman

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    Paul Furman, Nov 24, 2009
  9. Brianm

    Me Guest

    The data I've seen suggests that with a D300, dynamic range (measured at
    a standard signal to noise ratio) is very slightly better at "Lo 1.0"
    than ISO 200, and it's very slightly worse with a D3. That's probably
    due to the fact that at ISO 200, "shot" noise with APS-c is slightly
    over 2x that with 35mm, read noise more or less the same, but shot noise
    decreases slightly as ISO reduces a further half stop to "native" ISO.
    Despite "common knowledge" to the contrary, there's actually very little
    difference in usable dynamic range between current APS-c and 35mm Nikons
    at base ISO (200), except for the D3x, which has extremely low read
    noise reducing down to ISO 100. I haven't seen any data for the D3s yet.
    Me, Nov 24, 2009
  10. Brianm

    OldBoy Guest

    It's all here:)
    OldBoy, Nov 24, 2009
  11. Brianm

    Me Guest

    Lo 1.0 is one stop below ISO200.
    (increments can also be set)
    Me, Nov 24, 2009
  12. Brianm

    Me Guest

    No, just set the dial down another stop - it's not an extra setting.
    "ISO 100" could be displayed, but Nikon chose to display it as "lo"
    (plus increment of stop) below true ISO, as well as "Hi" (plus increment
    of a stop) at above true high ISO.
    For all practical purposes it is ISO 100. For pixel-peepers, perhaps
    not. Perhaps Nikon just chose to pre-empt whining from pedants.
    Me, Nov 24, 2009
  13. Brianm

    Paul Furman Guest

    What do you mean by 'measured at a standard signal to noise ratio'? Is
    that accomplished by underexposing the Lo 1 shot?

    Presumably they wouldn't give it a special name if there wasn't some
    trade-off. It's effectively like overexposing so there ought to be more
    blown highlights & less noise.

    Paul Furman

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
    Paul Furman, Nov 25, 2009
  14. Brianm

    Me Guest

    If you expose a frame so that highlights aren't lost, then you can
    recover detail from the shadows to more than is visible in a print,
    either selectively by area, or selectively by "levels" etc to the whole
    frame, or both.
    The more photographic stops you raise the shadows, the closer you come
    to the point where detail in the darkest areas is lost to noise.
    So assume a standard print size, then measure how many stops adjustment
    can be applied to shadows until a standard s/n ratio applies. Then
    you've got some basis for comparison of dynamic range between raw files.
    It's not perfect though, as it doesn't tell you how the noise looks at
    the limit. Random fine noise might be perfectly acceptable, but blotchy
    or pattern noise, banding etc may not be.
    Me, Nov 25, 2009
  15. Except that I understand that what should just fill a pixel
    well at ISO 100 might well overfill it at lo +1.0. Hence
    'lo' and not ISO 100.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Nov 25, 2009
  16. is it?

    After all, you are throwing away rather large parts of your
    digital numbers coming from the sensor: your sensor clips before
    they can reach the maximum value.
    And hence 'lo' and not ISO 100.
    Waiting for the dark hours of the night works just as well. :)

    And of course you can shoot long series and blend them into one
    long exposure --- ask the astrophotographers, they do it all
    the time.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Nov 28, 2009
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