ISO Performance

Nikon D600

So the Nikon D600 is in stores and one or the other photographer has already picked up their won body. But I have been getting many requests from people out there to talk a bit more about my experience with the camera. So let me give you a bit of an insight to what I have found:

What I very much like about the way Nikon has handled noise. Noise in the files looks more like film grain that those of us know from the old days of shooting film. The way noise shows up in images really depends also on the overall lighting conditions. If you shoot a scene during regular daylight noise will show up less or it is easier to remove. To shoot these wolves in the middle of the light with a slight light source was a real eyeopener for me. Photography today makes things possible that simply were not in the age of film. Keep in mind this, too that this is a 24mp file. You can put a bit of noise reduction over this and the image will look even more stunning. Shot with 1/6 sec and a 600mm VR-II lens.

Wolves at night in Yellowstone National Park. IMAGE INFO: NIKON D600 and the Nikon 600mm VR-II lens @ f4; 1/6 sec and ISO 6400
REVIEW OF IMAGE BEFORE @ 100% – without adjustments and NO noise reduction. Shot with ISO 6400

Now I want to present you another shot of a snowy owl at dusk. This image was also shot with ISO 6400 and I am really fascinated how well it turns out even at such high ISO settings. ALSO – Lightroom shows the noise a lot stronger as the Nikon Capture software, but again it has the look and feel of film grain. I chose to use LR 4.2 as I assume most people will be using this software for their archive.

Wolves at night in Yellowstone National Park. IMAGE INFO: NIKON D600 and the Nikon 600mm VR-II lens @ f4; 1/6 sec and ISO 6400
REVIEW OF IMAGE AT 100% completely raw, as seen in the beta Lightroom 4.2 For comparison a shot I took of the owl during warm morning light at ISO 400
Snowy owl photographed with the Nikon D600 and the Nikon 600mm VR-II with 1.4 telconverter bringing it to 850mm at ISO 400
IMAGE REVIEW AT 100% of shot above at 400 ISO

No the other questions is the shooting of night skies with the stars. For timelaps we have often used the in-camera timelaps function. But of course the images get downsized to an HD Video, which is smaller then a 24mp file. When shooting stills at night I often used the 24mm f1.4 and the 14-24mm f 2.8 lens wide open. I very much liked the results I got, especially how the camera still rendered color as well.

Nikon D600 with 14-24mm f2.8 lens shot at ISO 3200 with an exposure of 15 sec. at f2.8
Same image above rendered with the NEW Lightroom 4.2 Nikon D600 support. I see how we are missing a lot of the shades of yellow in the tent area, that the Nikon software was able to show.

When you compare the two images you realize that the Lightroom 4.2 software still needs to be updated a bit on how LR renders the Nikon D600 raw files.

With the family of the new Nikon DSLRs Nikon has pushed the bar yet again so much higher. All us out there can shoot images of a quality that is unprecedented. For today the Nikon D600 is up there with all the high end cameras and in my opinion sticks out in its versatility and the incredible golden mean between high resolution, ISO performance and frame rate. Like I have said over and over again: a great all-round camera for any nature photographer.

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Über Florian

Als professioneller Naturfotograf widmet sich Florian Schulz dem Schaffen von einzigartigen Naturaufnahmen. Seine Bilder werden in Magazinen wie National Geographic, BBC Wildlife und GEO veröffentlicht. Schulz stammt aus Süddeutschland und verbringt im Jahr durchschnittlich acht bis zehn Monate im Feld, um mit seinen Fotografieprojekten gesamte Ökosysteme zu dokumentieren.

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