Saturday, August 1, 2015

Nikon D7200 and incredibly high ISO photos: 51,200 and 102,400

One feature that intrigued me about the D7200 over older models was the two black & white high ISO modes.

The difficult part of photographing sports is getting enough light to capture the action.  Anyone who has attempted to photograph night games, such as American football, knows that it is extremely difficult, even with a Nikon D4.

Photographing in Florida in early spring outdoors was even difficult.  I was photographing a lacrosse game from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and it went from bright and warm enough (75 degrees F) to dark and cold by the end.  Having had frostbite, I had another obstacle in working the controls as my fingers seemed less flexible.  In 2006, I had a choice of using ISO 400 sensitivity and a GN50 flash.

This March, I was photographing a competition at an indoor skate park, which meant ISO 3200 and some hope.  Since I was taking still photos and video, it wasn't possible to use artificial light and make it work.  The image quality was sufficient.

The Nikon D7200 is supposed to be so much more in low light and HI1 (ISO 51,200) and HI2 (ISO 102,400).  These black and white modes could give someone an edge in getting clear sports photos.  The Nikon D4 featured ISO sensitivity up to 102,400.  That is a huge deal.  Since the D7200 has an Expeed 4-class processor, it should be able to increase the image quality over the D7100.

ISO 102,400

ISO 51,200

ISO 25,600

ISO 51,200

ISO 25,600

There is a great deal of banding in the ISO 51,200 and 102,400 photos.  It can't be seen so well with these 25% sized photos.  These were taken July 31, 2015 around the time of the blue moon.

Still, if it means getting the shot over not getting the shot, should there be a question?

Update 2015.08.03:  The D7200 seems to be easily provoked into using ISO 25,600, more than the Panasonic GH4 or Olympus E-M1 that I use regularly.  I know that the ISO sensitivity numbers seem off for the GH4 and E-M1 but from ISO 3200 on those to 25,600 on the D7200?  I hope that there will be a number of firmware fixes because the image quality does not seem superior from this new Nikon body and the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens.

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