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As you increase ISO, you also increase the noise in your image. Your D800 can process your images internally to reduce noise, and it can do a very good job of it. To activate Noise Reduction, go to your Shooting menu. You have a High ISO Noise Reduction item here, and it defaults to Normal. You've always got Noise Reduction turned on. If you want, you can turn it up higher, you can turn it down lower, or you can turn it off altogether. Why would you not want Noise Reduction on, and why would you not want it at high all the time? The trade-off for noise reduction is softness in your image.
Noise reduction works by blurring select parts of your images in a very particular ways. So there is a possibility you are going to lose a little bit of sharpness and detail. That's why you're always trying to balance with noise reduction. That's why they've taken kind of a middling approach to their default noise reduction. If you turn it off altogether, you will still get noise reduction at ISOs of 1600 or higher. So this isn't actually a total deactivation. The best way to understand how these different levels work is to simply experiment with them.
Shoot the same image in low light at a high ISO, like an ISO 1600, with each of these settings and see what you like more. Try to be sure that you've got something with some detail in your image, so you can track that trade-off between noise reduction and detail.
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