Nikon Technology: ISO

Alright, it is time for some complaining (actually just one complaint).  I usually don't bitch and moan about cameras but there is one gripe I have with Nikon pro bodies (with the exception of the D3x).  The base ISO on the D3, D3s, D700, D300 and D300s is 200iso.  Now there might be some other bodies I am missing here but I mentioned these bodies because I know all of their base ISO's are 200,  this is creates a problem for me because I use the D700 and D300.

So what is there to pissed of about?
If you are familiar with these bodies then you also know that they have 3 ISO settings below 200 called LO 1, LO.5 and one other setting that I am forgetting right now.  These "LO" settings are equivalent on paper to ISO 100 and such.  HERE IS THE ISSUE, if you set one of these bodies to LO.... then the loss of noise will not matter in comparison to the compression of highlights.

Why this happens can get quite technical and in this post I am not going to go into the WHY highlights get compressed (they just do).  This problem goes beyond RAW even, recovery of highlight loss becomes something you have no control over (not even when you set up the shot).  So why is this really bothering me?

Nikon's digital files usually have more visible noise on screen then similar competitors, they key phrase to remember here is 'on screen'.  When you take an image from a Nikon camera and print the digital file the noise becomes non existent.  On screen however, this noise can put-off clients for lack of a better word.  This becomes especially apparent when submitting to high tier stock agencies or high end clients.

Giving Nikon users the choice of 'LO' ISO settings is a gimmick,  all that the manufacture is doing is giving you a small amount of decrease in on-screen noise with an added lack of highlight control.  This is why I am pissed and this is why I am bitching.  When it all comes down to it I don't believe that cameras and gear make you a better photographer nor do I believe they are essential in producing amazing images.  I do however believe that there are certain criteria that professionals are expected to meet in which you must use different tools for the job (i.e. cameras and lens etc.).  You must you these tools because they give the photographer different tools for desired results.   


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