As usual, I annoyed the extended family by taking photos of them all night during our Thanksgiving gathering. It gave me a good chance to put the 10-day-old D700 through its low-light paces along with the rented 28-300mm zoom and my trusty 70-200mm. To get a little light in our rather dark living room, I set up one SB-900 and one SB-600 bounced off the white walls in remote TTL mode and used the built-in flash as the commander and -2EV fill. I shot everything wide open (f/5.6 and f/2.8 respectively).
I’ve been meaning to retract my statement of last week that “ISO 3200 is very usable.” After doing some post-processing on some of those images, ISO 3200 on the D7000 is just too noisy for typical work. I’d also retract “ISO 6400 will even do in a pinch” You’d have to be pinched really hard. So last night I decided to shoot everything at ISO 800, and after post-processing in Lightroom 3 and looking at the images 1:1, I can say that ISO 800 is clean enough for closeup people shots. (I wouldn’t call my candid photos “portraits”.) My sense now is that in terms of noise, the D7000 is somewhere between one and two stops cleaner than the D90. I look forward to another evening of tests at ISO 1600.