Nikon D90 High res ~ High and low ISO pictures

Jan 24, 2009 | News, Studio | 9 comments

I am in the privileged position of being commissioned to write a product review of the Nikon D90 for Warehouse Express. As part of my testing of this new camera, I shot a studio session under arduous conditions to put the camera through it’s paces. My full review will be available on the Warehouse Express site soon but for now here are some pictures for you to enjoy. Click on the pictures to link to the full resolution jpegs if you wish.

A Calumet Storm Grey background roll and three hard lights did all the work here.

A Calumet 'Storm Grey' background roll and three hard lights did all the work here. Nikon D90, ISO 200, f/14, 1/125th, 62mm lens setting.

This above picture is my favourite of the the day. It’s like an oil painting. I lit Rada with two Broncolor Pulso heads fitted with medium honeycomb grids. One light was above and to the left of camera and the other was above and behind the background roll looking back towards the camera. I used a third Pulso with a tight honeycomb grid to light the background. The Nikon D90 was easy to use. I’m fairly well acquainted with almost all DSLR’s but this was a first use of this camera for me. All the buttons were in the right places and I found switching between extreme settings easy to do.

Rada is beautiful, cheekbones like these deserve hard light. Ive kept the picture cool in tone to match Radas expression.

Rada is beautiful. Cheekbones like these deserve hard light. I've kept the picture cool in tone to match her expression. Nikon D90, ISO 200, f/16, 1/125th, 70 - 200 mm f/2.8 VR lens at 70mm

I was not alone at this session. I was giving a studio lighting masterclass to 8 delegates. They all wanted to be able to produce studio images that departed from the usual high key set ups. I provided two fabulous models, a make up and hair artist and we worked in two groups throughout the session.

My next set up for the class was a full length shot. I brought the backlight that was behind the background roll over to the right of camera to provide a kick. The key light went further left and all three lights in the set remained hard. Not a soft box in sight!

The grey background can be used to create fabulous blacks when it's unlit.

The grey background can be used to create fabulous blacks when it's unlit. Nikon D90, ISO 200, f/16, 1/125th, 48mm lens setting.

The Broncolor packs provide a fast pulse of light that freezes the action. Useful for pictures like these. Same settings as the shot above.

The Broncolor packs provide a fast pulse of light that freezes the action. Useful for pictures like these. Same settings as the shot above.

Now the camera testing really got underway. I set the ISO to 1600 and the shutter speed down to 1/8th to create some movement pictures with soul. The noise in the files will be evident no matter what the shutter speed is and with such a high amount of low light detail present in these images this was a make or break moment for the D90 sensor. – It passed with flying colours.

I just used the modeling lights for this exposure while my delegates used the flash set up.

I just used the modeling lights for this exposure while my delegates used the flash set up. Nikon D90, ISO 1600, 1/8th, f/5.3, 80mm lens setting.

Still at ISO 1600 and 1/8th of a second I captured this seemingly thoughtful moment.

The same settings as the previous shot.

The same settings as the previous shot.

Now it’s time for Cassie to star on the second set. I use a big studio for the sessions so that we can have two identical set ups running simultaneously. Broncolor have been a great support to me and provided two highly experienced photographers to help rig and change the set ups as required. We used four Verso packs, six heads, a strip light and two of the fabulous Mobil kits.

Still no softlight and just about the limit for unfilled shadows. A soft fill light from the right or a Lastolite reflector would be an ideal

Still no soft light and this is just about the limit for unfilled shadows in my opinion. A soft fill light from the right or a Lastolite reflector would be an ideal next move to subtly improve this image without loosing it's character. Nikon D90 ISO 200, f/16, 1/125th, 42mm lens setting.

Next it was time to add some colour in the form of coloured gels. I lit the background of this next image with two Pulso heads fitted with gels, one from each side.

Ive left this picture more or les as shot so that the pixel peepers can see for themselves the clarity and resolution this camera is capable of producing. Click on the image to see it full size.

I've left this picture more or less as shot so that pixel peepers can see for themselves the clarity and resolution this camera is capable of producing. Click on the image to see it full size. Nikon D90, ISO 200, f/18, 1/125th, 80mm lens setting.

By now, we had a soft box rigged so I showed the group how to shoot directly into the light to create silhouette pictures. The picture below was taken without flash. The whole set of pictures with extensive exif data will be made available to my delegates when Luke has finished editing them.

Nikon D90, ISO 800, f/3.5, 1/80th shot using just the modeling light with a tungsen white balance set on camera.

Nikon D90, ISO 800, f/3.5, 1/80th shot using just the modeling light with a tungsten white balance set on camera.

If you like these images and you want to have the lighting techniques used to create them as part of your repertoire then book yourself a place on my next Studio Lighting Workshop. You will be liberated, inspired and you will have an instantly refreshed portfolio.

Damien.

9 Comments

  1. Jonathan Farias Rios

    Que show!

    Reply
  2. kuldip panara

    nice

    Reply
  3. usman

    very nice pic very nic disining

    Reply
  4. damien

    Hi Alan,

    It’s not the camera. It has no control over how hard or soft the light is. All the top 4 pictures were lit with just hard light hence the hard clearly defined shadows. The bottom 2 pictures were lit with soft light. It sounds like your exposure may well be wrong.

    Kindest regards,

    Damien.

    Reply
  5. alan barr

    I have just recently switched from medium format to digital format. I purchased a Nikon D90 with a Bowens 200 lighting system but seem to have problems getting the right setting on my camera to produce soft enough light. Even when I reduce the power on my lights I seem to get too much light on the subject. I feel it has something to do with the camera settings rather than the light settings or meter reading.
    Can you help me?

    Reply
  6. Stuart

    I have read that post before but I will take a look again thanks.

    I think it does help yeah, just gives me a different perspective on things I guess.

    The problem I find is I’m always conscious of time and feel like I can’t keep the person waiting for too long so end up rushing and ultimately compromising the shot :(

    Reply
  7. damien

    Hi Stuart,

    On the sharpness front, take a look at this post for more examples and strategies for movement images.

    Poses are a product of the moment and are 50% model or client and 50% me. Basically if it looks good it is good. If the model looks uncomfortable then the pose needs to change. Once the pose is set it is time to establish the mood or expression and if that involves eye contact then it’s 100% rapport or chemistry between model and photographer.

    So, in summary I come with no set poses, only lighting direction. I do however have a wealth of experience knowing what will work so I can usually direct a model to relax a shoulder or dip her chin etc in order to make the picture.

    I hope this helps.

    Damien.

    Reply
  8. Stuart

    I really like these images and the sense of movement is great as I feel I am always looking for pin sharp results. May be a rethink is needed.

    Do you have a system for remembering poses etc? The reason I ask that on the few times I have shot people I always come away going “Bloody hell I forgot that one again” :( Also when you shoot models like this do you come to set with poses in mind, or do you allow the model to display her ideas and personality? Or in most cases is it very much a collaborative effort?

    Reply

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