Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nikon D90 Low light test

I just did a simple test to see how Nikon D90 does in low light. The following are links to 100% crops from the scene on the left.

The Camera: Nikon D90
The lens: Nikkor 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 VR
Tripod: Yes
Lighting: Two fluoroscent bulbs behind the camera, low light, at night.

The objectives were two fold:

[1] See how worse it is to use in-camera JPEGs versus NEFs for low light

[2] See how well does the in-camera noise removal work.

As labeled, the first image in each row is from raw (NEF), second one is JPEG from the camera without any noise removal, and third one is with in-camera normal noise removal enabled. (You will have to click on the individual image sections below to goto to the full 100% crop images to see the differences. The blog editor downsizes them to fit in the limited space here).

ISO 400 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

ISO 800 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

ISO 1600 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

ISO 3200 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

ISO HI1.0 (NEF, JPG, JPG-NoiseRemoval-Normal)

If you would like to see some real life examples, please follow this link.


  1. Thanks for doing these tests. My main priority is low light on the d90 and you've got some great shots! Thanks for being you! Cheers! :)

  2. What is the best ISO setting for taking zoomed photos in the night in D90 ? Only the 70-200 VR is the quality high speed zoom lens available, but that's too expensive for me

  3. I am having major problems with indoor studio shots in low light on a black background. Getting all kinds of banding/pixelation with my d90--making me very upset! It's worse in nef mode but also happens with jpg fine. Any suggestions to uba3@yahoo.com? Thanks.