Nikon D7000 High ISO Comparison

My friend Alex was asking me the other day about how well the Nikon D7000 performed in low light when recording video. But rather than try to describe the noise levels at high ISOs, I decided to put together a short video that showed the differences. This post is a bit of a departure from my normal fare, but I thought some other photographers/videographers might find it useful.

Test details

As with still photography, digital image noise from high ISOs is most noticeable in underexposed areas, so I deliberately didn’t light the scene well — everything was lit by a single floor lamp with a standard CFL. The point, after all, is to see how the Nikon D7000 performs in low light.

Camera settings

Except for a small adjustment for white balance, I didn’t do any color correction or sharpening — everything is straight out of the camera.

  • 1080p24 at 1/50s
  • I used Nikon’s default “Neutral” picture profile. You can get even more detail out of the shadows, and latitude for post processing, by using a custom flat profile like the one from Alvaro Yus.
  • The “High ISO Noise Reduction” setting was left at “Normal,” so there is a small amount of noise reduction going on in-camera.
  • Lens: Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G


I think performance is pretty decent up to ISO 2000, and there’s no doubt you could get even more mileage using noise reduction software during post processing. And let’s face it: sometimes you simply can’t add extra lights to a scene, and you have no choice but to push your camera to its limits. But if the story is strong enough, the audience will forgive noisy video.

What do you think? Do you have an ISO on your camera you won’t go above, or does it depend on the project?

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