#8 – ARCHIVE MARCH 2009: Nikon D700 and Low Light Steam Railway Photography

If you’ve read my write up of my visit to the East Lancs Railway night photoshoot, you probably already know about my exploits, if not, read on!

One of the prime reasons I bought the D700 was it’s incredible high ISO / low light ability,
matched only by the D3, with which it shares the sensor. At low ISO it’s extremely good, with pretty much no noise visible, and my first shots fo the night were at low ISO’s with pretty long exposures. However, I found that long exposures were becoming a pain with people walking into shot and all that nonsense, so I upped the ISO up to 640 and 800 so as to shorten the exposure times, something which worked well.


3 seconds @ F7.1 – ISO250

So after muddling around with my tripod for an hour, I decided to go handheld. This wasn’t easy as it was dark, so I had to be careful, as the camera isn’t good enough to work in very low light (although the ISO does go up to 25600, it is pretty noisy).
The results are extremely good, even without any noise reduction. And as I’m using shorter exposure times than I would normally for night steam photography, it’s actually capturing the steam as I saw it, rather than a mist like in the image above.
This abilty to produce usable low light / high shutter speed images now enables some images to be taken that were simply impossible or unusable before. When this ability is eventually passed down to mainstream cameras, I wonder whether we’ll see a reduction in the amount of flash photography? Just a thought………..
All images handheld:

1/50 @ F3.5 – ISO4000

1/100 @F2.2 – ISO6400
1/250@ F1.8 – ISO6400
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