[Pics] Real World High ISO Images From The Nikon D4

[Pics] Real World High ISO Images From The Nikon D4

Yesterday I shot a full wedding with the new Nikon D4 that LensProToGo was kind enough to send me since mine isn't here yet. I was extremely pleased with the way that the camera performed and although I haven't gone through the images yet, I picked out 6 random shots that were taken at high ISO so that you guys can see the noise in real world situations.

Both of my shots taken at 12,800 ISO are still under-lit and they have motion blur meaning that these are very poor examples of the cameras quality at this setting. In my opinion ISO 12,800 is totally usable and I will go even higher the next chance that I get.

We should have a full review of this camera compared to the rest of Nikon's fleet in the next few days.

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Gordon Charles Burns's picture

It truly is a wonderful camera.... and I heard it takes amazing photos of the inside of your lens cap too.

I've been a professional photographer for 7 years now but this is actually my first true "professional" camera. As a wedding photographer I don't want a $6k sports camera but since Nikon made the D800 a studio camera, I don't have much choice. Most of the design features about this camera I love and some I absolutely hate. I guess it's all what you get used to. 

Which parts do you hate?

For one thing the ergonomics of actually shooting video are very bad. The live view button forces you to take one hand off of the camera to flip the switch. The video "zoom" feature that I was so excited about requires you to to into 1 menu for 1 zoom and then a completely different menu for another zoom (I will create a video explaining this). Also, this camera doesn't have a flash (which I was prepared for) but it also does not have a AF assist light. At many receptions I will shoot with a pocketwizard on the top of my camera and use the AF assist light on the camera to focus. You can't do this on the D4, you MUST have an SB-800 on top of the camera in dark situations. Nothing is a deal breaker, its just annoying once you get used to a system, you spend 5 times more money, and they remove simple features. 

The AF assist combined with radio triggers is a real pain, especially for Canon shooters (cause AF sucks to begin with...). 
If you don't mind the silly look, you can attach the PW to the flash with a velcro strap. Then you keep the flash in Manual at 1/128 in order to get the AF assist, and you plug the PW to your sync port.

Nikon flashes allow you to just use the AF assist light on the speedlight unit without the flash going off on the unit at all, should you choose (so no need to even set the power at 1/128).

Velcro works wonderfully though :)
(although if you're using the PW TT5/TT1, you wouldn't need any velcro as it's got an additional hotshoe mount)

Yes I always dangle the pocket wizard from the flash unit just so that I have the AF assist. It's just nice to have the option of the built in AF assist on the camera too IMO. I never ended up buying the TT5s but I may need to just for this situation. 

You should give a try to the TT5+SB800 configuration before buying it. I've never tried it, but I used to have a Sigma flash with a high AF assist lamp. Less than 5ft away, the light wasn't hitting the center AF point. Real pain in the boot. I suspect you could have the same issue by putting the flash high up on a TT5.

 Lee, i use the TT1+SB-800 on my D3 for weddings. TT1 does not really like the SB-800 on top.
Without it almost right on all the times. But when i also attach the SB-800 on top weird things happen with synching

luisfaustino's picture

I use D3 + SB800 and I have a PWII on the side held on  a DYI bracket. 
Then I use the SB800 signal-out port to the PWII and it all works ok.

What is this calibration shoot for? Is it only necessary when using TT1? What is the issue with VR?

@RLMorrisPhoto:disqus Lee, I am coming from a D3 to a D800 and still getting used to the AF assist light, I think it is a bit annoying. Haven't pictured out all use-cases from using it, but to what distance is it efective? Any lens combinastion it doesnt like?

 That's what i used to do before the TT1. PWii on the side of the SB-800 on a synch cable.

the calibration shot is for the times that TT1 does not synch the curtain correct, leaving a black bottom line in the frame.

David Arthur's picture

so what do you hate about it?

I'm curious as well, which do you hate?

nice one.....can't wait to see the rest of your shots

Great ! thanks for sharing ...

Lee, please elaborate on the love/hate issues. Looks like hi-iso performance is great.

As a new photographer, I have a question: when I see the ISO changing for various indoor shots that seem to all be at the reception... are you changing it manually each time? In a 'live event' like that, how do you make these decisions quickly? Thanks!

perhaps I can answer this as I'm sure Lee is a busy man and I am sitting on my couch eating pringles for breakfast. When shooting wedding receptions it is usually pretty low light and when taking a shot I usually know which aperture I want to use and what the lowest shutter speed I can use without getting undesired motion blur. I then adjust ISO on the fly to compensate. I'm sure most do the same.

Lee has been shooting for 7 years and sometimes it is second nature especially on the job, your hands and brain move in sync and you can change your iso rather quick as you know what will work in what situations. I have only been shooting for 3 years and i find myself doing it rather quickly.

When shooting low light, I usually set my cam to the largest aperture, then set the shutter to the slowest I can go without motion blurr, then those are locked in.. the only thing left to adjust is the iso.  I set the iso to Auto and let the camera take over like it was in Shutter or Aperture priority.

Yes I do constantly change my ISO. I shoot 95% of my weddings at an aperture of 2.8 so that usually remains a constant. I set the ISO a little high for my shooting condition and then I play with shutter speed as I change my shooting direction in a given location. If I am bouncing flash then I will also play with the exposure compensation to change the flash output. Last night I was shooting in a barn and TTL was not working well so I shot the entire night with my flash also in manual mode. This was the first wedding of the season for me so I was fairly slow at this but after I have done this week after week for a few months I can usually tell you what my ISO should be in any situation just from looking at it. 

Nobody is good at this at the beginning but the only way to learn is to always shoot in manual. Sometimes P mode is called for but I only use it 1% of the time. 

I’ve always wondered: what are the reasons pros seem to avoid Auto ISO?

I use auto-ISO on 3 of my shooting menu banks.  The D3, D3S, and D4, have 4 menu banks available, and I set one of them to the settings I need for flash (no auto-ISO, manual aperture and shutter speed, TTL flash).  The other 3 are set up as auto ISO for action (geared towards higher shutter speeds), auto-ISO for static subjects (slower shutter speeds), and auto-ISO for tungsten (manual Kelvin).  So, whether or not other pros use auto-iso, this pro does :-)

Old dogs new tricks mostly.  I use it now and find it extremely painless and far quicker used in conjunction with the +/- exposure dial for speedy changes in light/dark situations.

@facebook-670836252:disqus & @CrustyJuggler66:disqus : Thanks for your insight on this. It’s reassuring to know, that by using Auto ISO I’m not doing something wrong. I simply don’t see myself with the finger on the ISO button all the time ;)

gimme the D4 with the mp's of the D800 ... then we'll talk ...

Is face detection with metering work? Thank you~!! :)

I was actually really excited about face detection but from what I can tell this feature only works in live view mode which makes it worthless to me... I'm still not 100% sure about this though. 

 It does work in the viewfinder. you just have to set the af-dynamic-field (sry, don't know what's that called in english exactly) to auto. So that it's neither  9/21/or 51 points but auto. than it will focus for the nearest face, which i find works well. it even focuses on eyes... hope you understood what im saying.

It is working for me.  It only works in live view mode, but when you're shooting stills, and you review the iamage in your monitor, a little white square surrounds each face in the image.  the 3D tracking works great.  Shot a wedding and a bike race this weekend, and both in low and bright light, the tracking worked very well.

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