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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife

    hope someone can help.

    D500 with the 200-500 f5.6 VR lens

    when shooting wildlife in low light (dawn or dusk) and you have a moving subject and you want to shoot Shutter speeds at 1/800 or 1/1000, or maybe even quicker where do you guys set you ISO to still get good images?

    at the moment im on AUTO ISO which is set to a MAX of 3200 (YES i know its far to low for shooting low light), but where should i be at for what i require?

    i also know i need to shoot wide open at 5.6 (currently set on 6.3)

    thanks in advance


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  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Re: LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife

    If I have a moving subject and a bird in particular if I'm at 1/800 or 1/1000 I can guarantee you that 9 of 10 images will be crap, particularly if it's a bird.

    I set a max ISO of 4000 and use a shutter speed that will stop the motion I need stopped. Sometimes that makes for an insufficiently bright image and requires a lot of work in post, but I've gotten used to it. I've found that raising ISO or just brightening the image in camera raw provides about the same level of noise. There's an example of an image I shot at ISO 4000 and 1/1000s of a fox here: https://nikonites.com/wild-life/4427...tml#post729553 I use Topaz Denoise AI and it's as critical a piece of software to my wildlife shooting as anything else. I denoise first (before any light adjustments) and then shoot it through camera raw.
    Jake
    (formerly backdoorhippie)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Woodyg3's Avatar

    Re: LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife

    There is no correct answer. You need enough shutter speed to prevent blur, and you just need to let the ISO go where it needs to go to get the shot. Very low light and a moving subject just means use the slowest shutter you can get away with. I think I have auto ISO set to 12800 max, which results in a lot of noise, obviously. The alternative is to not get the shot, though, so it is what it is. I often try to take a bunch of shots with a slower shutter speed, waiting for a pause in motion, and hope for the best. Bird in flight means at the very slowest 1/1000 IME, and that's if you pan perfectly.
    Last edited by Woodyg3; 06-04-2020 at 08:22 PM.
    Woody Green

    Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose

    D500, D7200, D7100, D70

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Woodyg3's Avatar

    Re: LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife

    LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife
    Also, low light can be an opportunity, as well. Silhouettes, for instan


    ce.LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife-silexample-500.jpg
    Thanks/Like Dawg Pics Thanks/liked this post
     
    Woody Green

    Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose

    D500, D7200, D7100, D70

  5. #5
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife

    A week or so ago, I took some photos of a sparrow up in our tree (using a D7200). My ISO was set to a max of 5000 which I hit. My shutter speed was either 1/800" or 1/1000". The images were still rather dark. The sun was out that morning, but the sparrow was covered in the shadowed areas of the leaves. So ISO 3200 definitely won't be enough for low light situations.

    The problem is juggling the noise vs. the exposure as Jake mentioned. Although I only have a D7200, ISO 5000 does create quite a bit of noise especially when the exposure still needs to be increased. A couple people here alluded to or posted a video (possibly by Steve Perry) who suggested capping the ISO at 4000. You definitely need a decent noise reduction program. I use the Nik Collection with Dfine. It works well, but what I've seen of Jake's images with Topaz, that software definitely seems to handle noise much better.
    Cindy
    Flickr
    and My 2020 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci



  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Re: LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife

    last night i had a play, used a mixture of ISO (manual) 5000/6400/8000/10000 with SS of 800/1000/1250/1600/2000 and with exp comp between 0 and +1

    took 50 images, just uploading them now. im armed with topaz denoise and PS, so going to see if ive nailed it

    ill keep you posted

  7. #7
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveNewman View Post
    last night i had a play, used a mixture of ISO (manual) 5000/6400/8000/10000 with SS of 800/1000/1250/1600/2000 and with exp comp between 0 and +1

    took 50 images, just uploading them now. im armed with topaz denoise and PS, so going to see if ive nailed it

    ill keep you posted
    If you hit your ceiling (meaning the camera cannot create an accurate exposure based on the settings dialed in), then your images will be underexposed even when using exposure compensation of +1 or whatever is set. Glad to hear you are giving various high ISO's a try. It will be interesting to see how the noise is handled by Topaz.
    Cindy
    Flickr
    and My 2020 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci



  8. #8
    Senior Member

    Re: LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife

    Thanks for this, as a new birder and someone who use to always shoot on auto I'm trying to figure out what ways I want to shoot. Appature or Shutter priority. Im still reading up alot
    Nikon D-610 , Sigma DG 150-500 f5-6.3 APO HSM

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Dawg Pics's Avatar

    Re: LOW LIGHT settings for wildlife

    You just have to try different things until you find what works for your shooting technique and environment. I can't pan worth a darn, but I don't practice it much either.
    "Remember to gaze up at the night sky because there is a little bit of the cosmos in each of us."


    Um yeahhhh, I shoot a lot of pics of my dogs.
    D500 (DOB 05/26/17), D300, D80, SB-800. RIP-D100
    Sigma 150-600mm DG Contemporary, Sigma 50-150mm f2.8, Tamron 28-75mm f2.8,
    Nikkor Nifty-Fifty.





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