For the longest time, I never used high ISO for fear of noise in my photos. But there are certain situations where you need high ISO, like in astrophotography. So I asked myself the question “What’s the highest amount of ISO on a Nikon D3400 without any noise?” I did some research and I found the answer.
In general, the highest ISO without noticeable noise on a Nikon D3400 is 3200 ISO. If you want to play it safe then 1600 ISO is a better option.
How does ISO affect noise?
The higher amount of ISO sensitivity you choose, the more noise will be in your photo. After doing some research on google it became clear that 1600-3200 ISO was the limit when it came to acceptable noise for most cameras. But there were no resources directed towards the Nikon D3400. I wanted to make sure that this ISO noise rule was true for the D3400 specifically. So I decided to do some research of my own.
I decided to take the same photograph over and over with different ISO levels, and see how much noise is in each photo. Please note every photo was taken with the Noise Reduction option disabled.
This photo was taken with 100 ISO. There is virtually no noise whatsoever. I decided to skip 200 ISO because it’s almost identical to the photo with 100 ISO.
This photo was taken with 400 ISO. I still don’t see any noise the photo looks fine. The photo is still similar to the 100 ISO photo. I also decided to skip 800 ISO because of repetition.
If you zoom into the photo you will be able to see small amounts of noise. Nothing noticeable unless you zoom in. The photo has a completely acceptable amount of noise.
This photo was taken with 3200 ISO the highest ISO with low noise. We would see a bit more noise if we had zoomed in or if the photo was darker. Overall the photo is still fine, but if the environment isn’t dark enough to require 3200 ISO and you would do better choosing a lower amount of ISO sensitivity. This is the most ISO I would ever really use.
This photo was taken with 6400 ISO. We are starting to see small amounts of noise but because its bright outside the camera has a better time rendering the image with low noise amounts. The darker areas of the image have some noticeable noise especially when you zoom in.
This photo was taken with 12800 ISO. This photo is starting to look pretty noisy. Even without zooming in you can see the colors of the noise around the shadows and dark parts of this image. You can even see the color of some noise on the pillow cushions if you look closely. I do not recommend taking photos with 12800 ISO unless its night time and there is extremely low light pollution like in a rural area.
This photo was taken with 25600 ISO. This photo looks extremely noisy. You can see noise all over the pillows even in the brighter parts of the photo without zooming in. This is too much noise and you need to set a lower ISO. Zooming into the photo you can really see how much noise there is.
The image above is zoomed in on one of the pillows. You can see colors and lots of noise in the image. Lets compare this with the 100 ISO photo zoomed in.
This is the same pillow zoomed in but with 100 ISO. See how much better the image with the lower ISO is.
These photos were bright, and noise is amplified in dark environments. For example in the photo below was taken with 12800 ISO and there are EXTREME amounts of noise on the trees. Far more noise than the photo in the bright environment taken with 25600 ISO even though this image has less ISO sensitivity.
Notice the extreme amounts of noise and multi colors in the trees below. Here is a close up.
So we turned out to be correct in the beginning stick with 1600-3200 at most and you won’t have any issues with noise. I wouldn’t ever go above 3200 ISO even at night or you might end up with photos like the one above. If you want your photo to be brighter increase the aperture is your best bet.
How do I change my ISO?
The first thing you need to do is to make sure auto sensitivity is turned off. Click the menu button, select the shooting menu, and find the ISO sensitivity settings. From there you can turn Auto ISO sensitivity control off and change your ISO level. Once you’ve disabled auto ISO you can change ISO directly from the photo settings page by clicking the i button, and selecting the ISO sensitivity option and changing it to your desired ISO level.
Nikon D3400 ISO range
The Nikon D3400 has an ISO range of 100 to 25600, anything below 3200 should have minimal noise. At 3200 you start to notice small amounts of noise but it’s still acceptable. Anything above 3200 with cause noticeable noise in your photos and I suggest you increase your aperture and shutter speed instead of your ISO. While using an ISO like 100, 200, or 400 you don’t even need to worry about noise at all.
If you really need to set your ISO to a higher amount then 3200, I suggest you turn on Noise Reduction. Noise reduction will reduce noise in your image but also it may remove fine details in your photograph. So use it only as needed. You can turn noise reduction on and off in the shooting menu in settings. It’s usually enabled by default so I would recommend turning it off while using low ISO, but it’s your choice.
I hope you got over your fear of high ISO. In conclusion, the most ISO you’ll ever want is 3200. Hopefully, this article helped you. Feedback in the comments would be greatly appreciated!