Looking at life through the lens

High ISO Photography

Recently I have been having a discussion about high ISO photography. We all know that as ISO increases, so does the noise that shows up in the final image. We know that we should try to shoot using the lowest ISO possible under the prevailing conditions. But often a low ISO setting just won’t work, so where do we draw the line as far as how high to go? My general rule of thumb is that I push it to the lowest ISO that will still give me the proper exposure in combination with a small enough aperture and a fast enough shutter speed. Happily, today’s dSLR’s are capable of some amazing results at ISO levels almost unheard of not too long ago.

This week I attended my grandsons’ pre-school moving up ceremony, and had to make some decisions. I didn’t want to use my off camera flash for a number of reasons – one of which was that if I were to shoot in a rapid fire mode, the flash would not be able to keep up with me. So I cranked the ISO up to allow an aperture of f/8 and a shutter speed fast enough to accomodate a long focal length as well as the high energy level of 3 1/2 year olds. There was also an issue with mixed lighting, as the location had large windows which let the sunlight in as well as being lit by mercury vapor lamps – two very different colored light sources.

The follow photos are some of the results. These were processed from the RAW files using Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop CS6. Aside from the usual tweaking, color balance was adjusted and noise was minimized as much as possible.

What do you think of the results?

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/160 sec
ISO: 3200
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 18 mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture priority
Nikon D7100
© Mark L. Fendrick

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
ISO: 3200
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 62 mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture priority
Nikon D7100
© Mark L. Fendrick

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/250 sec
ISO: 5000
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 102 mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture priority
Nikon D7100
© Mark L. Fendrick

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/250 sec
ISO: 5000
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 250 mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture priority
Nikon D7100
© Mark L. Fendrick

Aperture: f/8
Shutter speed: 1/160 sec
ISO: 5000
Lens: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM
Focal length: 26 mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture priority
Nikon D7100
© Mark L. Fendrick

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Comments on: "High ISO Photography" (3)

  1. Most people look for noise at 100% resolution in their photo editing software and don’t take how the photos will be viewed into account. When posting on the web, the lower resolutions generally take the noise down to acceptable levels (or as in many of these photos, disappear). Even when printed, high ISO photos can have acceptable noise levels.

    That said, I use Nik/Google’s DFine software to reduce noise, when needed. It has settings for viewing method so that it uses different algorithms depending on whether it is being used for a web posting (at a specific resolution) or printing (at a specific size and viewing distance).

    Like

  2. Carrie Joyce said:

    Looks to me like you made the right decision, Mark…. nice clarity, etc. It is not always easy when photographing kids as they are easily distracted… great pics. You are inspiring.

    Like

  3. You can hardly see det isonoise.

    Like

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