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Nikon D500, picture question

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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 17:08   #1
Kalgat
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Nikon D500, picture question

Good morning BirdForum!

I have a little question regarding my pictures.
Maybe I am too picky or I am doing something wrong somewhere.

My material:
- Nikon D500
- 300mm F/4 PF Nikon Lens
- TC-20E III (x2 teleconverter)

I posted 2 pictures with this setting, both zoomed in to see some details of the bird.
They were both taken handheld.

The Hawk:
- ISO 400
- F/8
- 1/2500 sec.

The Humming Bird:
- ISO 3200
- F/8
- 1/2000 sec.

It is all grainy.

I guess for the humming bird the ISO was a bit high which could explain the grain?
Is there a test in bright light I could do to see if I can get a better result?

Thank you for your advices!
Julien
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 18:34   #2
njlarsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalgat View Post
Good morning BirdForum!

I have a little question regarding my pictures.
Maybe I am too picky or I am doing something wrong somewhere.

My material:
- Nikon D500
- 300mm F/4 PF Nikon Lens
- TC-20E III (x2 teleconverter)

I posted 2 pictures with this setting, both zoomed in to see some details of the bird.
They were both taken handheld.

The Hawk:
- ISO 400
- F/8
- 1/2500 sec.

The Humming Bird:
- ISO 3200
- F/8
- 1/2000 sec.

It is all grainy.

I guess for the humming bird the ISO was a bit high which could explain the grain?
Is there a test in bright light I could do to see if I can get a better result?

Thank you for your advices!
Julien
It would help to know two items:
did you develop without applying any noise reduction?
how much did you zoom in/crop these images?

Niels
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 20:39   #3
seaspirit
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Both look like extreme crops to me.
What % of the whole images are we seeing here?

Ulli
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 22:25   #4
Kalgat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
It would help to know two items:
did you develop without applying any noise reduction?
how much did you zoom in/crop these images?

Niels
Hi Niels,

I just added the original images. (resized to fit the forum requirement)
For the Hawk, yes it might be a big crop but not sure for the humming bird.

Thanks for your time,
Julien
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 00:04   #5
andreadawn
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I think you are expecting a little too much from your equipment.

The hawk picture is a really extreme crop. It is slightly underexposed which will accentuate any noise, particularly in the plain sky. Although the humming bird crop is less extreme it is still a significant crop at 3200 iso and there is a limit as to what you can realistically expect at that speed.

I use the D500 with the 300mm PF and the 1.4tc. I have the 2.0tc as well but seldom use it as it is not as sharp as I would like. I do crop a lot with the 1.4tc but seldom get good results with very large crops at high iso.

This Spotted Flycatcher was taken at 4000 iso in very dark woodland. It is a crop from about 1/6th of the original file. It's not too bad but I wouldn't really want to crop any further in order to try to see more detail. No doubt someone with better post processing skills than me could produce a better result but there are limits as to what is technically possible.

If you are going to crop a lot it is best to try to keep the iso as low as possible and to ensure that you are not underexposing at all.

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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 08:35   #6
nikonmike
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I think you are expecting too much if ime honest, when i had my D500 cropping was good but not as good as i needed, every thing else was the best.
I reworked your images but still too noisy, as said lowest iso as possible and correct exposure.
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Old Monday 25th May 2020, 19:04   #7
pnwyankee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonmike View Post
I think you are expecting too much if ime honest, when i had my D500 cropping was good but not as good as i needed, every thing else was the best.
I reworked your images but still too noisy, as said lowest iso as possible and correct exposure.
Agree that there is just so much you can expect with this setup
While the D500 is an excellent camera for this type of photography, it is already a cropped sensor.
300mm is a good compromise lens for handheld ( no tripod ) but it would be nice to have the longer reach of at least a 500mm or 600mm - thus eliminating the need for extreme cropping.
Sure is fun to spend $8,000 of somebody else's money
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Old Monday 25th May 2020, 20:35   #8
fugl
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Originally Posted by pnwyankee View Post
Agree that there is just so much you can expect with this setup
While the D500 is an excellent camera for this type of photography, it is already a cropped sensor.
300mm is a good compromise lens for handheld ( no tripod ) but it would be nice to have the longer reach of at least a 500mm or 600mm - thus eliminating the need for extreme cropping.
Sure is fun to spend $8,000 of somebody else's money
Or he could substitute the 1.4 for the 2.0 TC and take much less of a hit to IQ. I use this combo regularly—D500 with TC14EIII, always handheld—and have been quite happy with it.
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Old Tuesday 26th May 2020, 14:07   #9
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Yeah, the extreme cropping of the hawk image would pretty much render any image of it grainy.

The hummingbird image is slightly different. You'll get way, WAY more grain/noise at ISO 3200 than lower settings. The ISO doesn't really make the camera more sensitive to light; it just amps up the gain on the sensor.

And unless you're dealing with a low-light beast like a Sony a7s, high ISO in the the 3200 range just kills your dynamic range when processing images.

--Phil
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Old Wednesday 27th May 2020, 06:34   #10
marcsantacurz
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Did you shoot them in jpeg? If you're going to crop a lot or do much post processing, 12-bit or 14-bit lossless raw is the way to go. You have much more flexibility in post. You also do not have to fight the jpeg artifacts that can cause issues when cropping. Steve Perry has a good video about raw vs jpeg in post production, though he's mostly concerned about color, exposure, and loss of details.

I agree with the previous too that 300 PF + 2x TC is pretty extreme. It will be hard to get super sharp results with that and the autofocus will only work well in the center AF point (f/8 equivalent lens).

The 500 f/5.6 PF would be the way to go, though it's a fair chunk of $.

Of you could consider the Tamron 150-600 g2 (or sigma 150-600C). It's a lot heavier than your 300 PF, but you'll get very good results at 550 - 600mm, especially stopped down to 7.1 or 8.

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Old Monday 13th July 2020, 17:13   #11
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I agree that shooting in 14 bit lossless raw is the best option - unless perhaps every image you capture is perfectly exposed and doesn't need any cropping or processing...

Lens recommendation: I have found that the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 works brilliantly with my D500. It's a lot more affordable than the 500 and more flexible as well. The only downside is that it's a bit of a beast to lug around all day.

Anthony
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