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February 28, 2007


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Cheers for bringing that to my attention Seb. I'll give that a try.

I shoot a lot of fast-action stuff under difficult low-light conditions, where I need a shutter speed faster than 1/350s, and ideally 1/500 so I shoot RAW and then have to spend ages post-processing. Anything that will help get the JPEG settings right is a boon.

Of course I really should buy a lens that will open up to f2.8 or wider ;-)

Seb Rogers

Hi Nick,

Faster lenses definitely help :) I'm currently eyeing up an f/2 200mm...

The key with low light / high ISO stuff is to make sure you're not underexposing. Noise tends to be at its worst in the most-amplified parts of the image, so it'll show up worst in the shadows. If you underexpose and then try to rescue the midtones in post-processing, you'll simply end up lightening all the noisy bits too :)

So... golden rule with high ISO: don't clip the blacks (left hand end of the histogram). If necessary you can even (gasp!) blow a highlight or two. That way you'll minimise your post-processing and the noise all at the same time (the jpeg example above is straight-out-of-camera, just resized for the web).

Graham Stewart

I've seen similar recommendations for Nikon kit on the Nikonians forum. For my D70s the recommended settings for punchy out-of-camera JPGs were:

Sharpening +2
Tone comp auto
Color mode IIIa for landscapes, Ia for people
Saturation enhanced
Hue adjustment 0
White balance to auto -3
Set your exposure comp to + 0.3

Lots of good discussion about it here:

I still shoot RAW, but I use these settings to get a good starting point in Capture NX (which can read the in-camera settings).

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