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High ISO Settings

This page is about higher Digital camera ISO settings, specifically ISO 10000 and 16000, using the Nikon Z 7II and post-production software designed to reduce associated digital noise. I receive no compensation for referencing any retail product. Here we employ DxO PhotoLab 6 Elite, which provides three functions that aid us in addressing noise during post-production. First, DxO’s superb lens evaluations and Raw file processing algorithms glean abundant detail from our Raw files. Second, DxO achieved a major milestone in post-production color management with its recently introduced “DxO Wide Gamut” color space. This color space is evolutionary in that it provides a “working color space” that exceeds the color gamut of the popular Adobe RGB color space and embraces all of that which is useful in the very large ProPhoto RGB color space. Third, under “Detail > DxO Denoising Technologies” DxO PhotoLab 6 Elite provides “DeepPRIME XD.” I have discovered that this denoising tool is extremely effective in reducing noise associated with lower “signal to noise” images such as we obtain when using a high ISO setting in a subdued lighting photography environment. Further software application in the form of Topaz Sharpen AI completed the ISO 16000 images at the bottom of this page.

Few photographers go home disappointed and announced, “I couldn’t shoot today, there was just too much light.” The more light we have in our scene, the less dependency we have on higher ISO settings (although a higher ISO may aid us in using a smaller aperture or faster shutter speed). A camera’s sensor is like a solar panel, more light equals more signal, less light equals more noise. Here “signal” is voltage for both solar panel and camera sensor. Higher is better!

My post-production workflow after shooting in low light may avoid increasing overall contrast as typically we have quite a lot of contrast at night anyway. But having said this, DxO’s Fine contrast and Microcontrast will emphasize detail when thought necessary. I use Photoshop’s Curves adjustment quite frequently when finishing-up low light photographs to increase brightness, overall or selectively. I also “play” with the Curves “eyedroppers” to good effect. Consequently, I may have three Curves Adjustment layers in use for an image. Photoshop’s Dodge and Sharpen brushes are also quite useful for low light photography post-production. Below I have placed a number of photographs taken with the Nikon Z 7II and Z 14-30mm S or Z 50mm S lens. Shooting settings are beneath each image.

Granted, much better results could have been achieved using a tripod. But these images reflect a photographic environment where being highly mobile increases a street photographer’s options. A link to the unprocessed Raw images is Here!

Nikon Z 7II & Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S, 25mm, 1/160s, f/4, ISO 10000.

Nikon Z 7II & Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S, 26mm, 1/80s, f/4, ISO 10000.

Nikon Z 7II & Nikon Z 50 f/1.8 S, 1/20s, f/1.8, ISO 16000. Garden lighting is a porch light some twenty feet distant.

Above, really technical explanation of how sensor photosites function in low light.

Closeup, Nikon Z 7II & Nikon Z 50 f/1.8 S, 1/20s, f/1.8, ISO 16000.

Nikon Z 7II & Nikon Z 50 f/1.8 S, 1/40s, f/4.5, ISO 16000.

Closeup of above. Nikon Z 7II & Nikon Z 50 f/1.8 S, 1/20s, f/1.8, ISO 16000.

As above but with use of Dodge and Burn tools, tool Hardness 14%.

Photography can be fun, profitable, creative, and technically superior at the same time. Contact me for a custom one-to-one camera class in Bakersfield, California. Please text me at: 661-303-9210 (preferred) or email me using: for an appointment.

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