[Update] I had a long convoluted explanation about how well the D90 performs against Canon’s flagship 1Ds MkIII, their current best low-light performer in the DxOMarks, but @dwterry correctly pointed out that the higher resolution of the MkIII gives it a 3dB (1 stop) edge when you downsample to the same size as the D90 images. I also used the wrong formula to convert ISO differences to stops. The correct formula is d = log(h/l), where d is the difference in stops, h is the high ISO value, and L is the low ISO value.
For this shoot, I used the new Nikon D90, the versatile and lightweight DX format Nikkor 18-135, and a single SB-600, which I hand-held, or set down on a table. I frequently take a tripod for larger gigs, but this was an intimate club setting, so I didn’t want to carry a lot of gear with me.
I’m absolutely loving the new D90. I shot a lot of these photos at ISO 320. It handles noise as well as ISO 160 on the D80. I demand awesome IQ from my camera. For me, I set the upper ISO limit at around 32db signal-to-noise ratio. The D90 hits that mark at roughly ISO 400. The D80 hit the mark just under ISO 250. So the D90 is 3/4 stops brighter for my shooting style. 1 stop brighter = half as much noise.
Here’s a comparison, for reference. At 100% zoom, the D90 beats the $7100 Canon 1Ds MkIII, with a notable advantage in dynamic range and shadow details, but the Canon also delivers twice as many pixels, which gives it a ~3dB (1 stop) advantage when you scale images down to the same size for printing or monitor viewing. What’s perhaps more interesting is that the D90 clobbers the more expensive Canon 50D, by about the same margin as the D80.
ISO @ 32dB:
Bigger numbers are better, double = 1 stop, 3dB gain = half as much noise.
|Nikon D80, Canon EOS 50D||~250|
|Nikon D90, Canon 1Ds MkIII||~400|
More D90 Samples:
Thumpin’ Thursdays is the weekly club night run by the original Saints and Sinners team, Ms NiCi and Tink Fu. These girls have been running a solid club night consistently for several years, and the nights are always attended by some of the core people who make Salt Lake City’s electronic music scene happen. The organizers also happen to be the co-founders of PrissCo – an all female DJ crew which emphasizes skill over sex appeal (but happens to embody both quite well).
The W Lounge is an intimate space on 4th South and West Temple in Salt Lake City, and has played host to some of the hottest names in House music including like Kaskade and Masters at Work.