Monday, 13 December 2010

How high is too high?

How high can your camera’s ISO stretch? OK, wrong question. How far would you be happy to push your cameras ISO and still be confident you could get a decent, usable image? Back in the days of my Canon 20D, the listed maximum was 1600 ISO, but the results were always horrible, so in reality 400 ISO was as high as I would go. My newer Canon 40D could also shoot at 1600 ISO in theory, but once again 800 ISO was as high as I liked to go to keep the image clean and usable.

My current camera is a Canon 5D Mark 2 which claims a maximum ISO of 25600 on paper, but in reality a maximum ISO of 6400 is suggested by Canon. Even so my previous high ISO experiences have meant I've limited myself to 3200 ISO when shooting in low light conditions such as at music gigs.

The photo above was a quick test I did to see what 6400 ISO actually looks like and I'm really happy with the results. The image looks more like the results I used to expect at 800 ISO on my Canon 40D. Click the image to zoom in and see for yourself.

The lighting was supplied by one very small candle which gave an exposure on the face of just 1/15th sec, f/4 ISO 6400. The lens was a Canon 70-300 IS and the shot was hand held, yes the Canon’s I.S. system really is that good!

Impressive as the results are, there’s no getting away from the fact that high ISO shots need a bit of post processing to really control noise and for me nothing beats the new noise reduction features found in Photoshop CS5 or Lightroom 3.

Click the image to enlarge.

Not surprisingly I’m going to class 6400 ISO as a usable setting for the 5D mark2 from now on.


Carolyn™ said...

I am impressed I will experiment more with my Canon 500D tonight thanks for sharing.

Barry Weaver said...

Quite impressive. I would like to see a comparison using DFine noiseware as I am thinking of buying it.

Unknown said...

Informative as always Gavin! You rock! I wanna see an ISO of 12.8 and 25.6.

Mireanu. said...

Hi Gavin, is expected to have full frame camera details at ISO 6400. Also, the lens has IS built is wonderful. And as Patrick said you can put pictures up to ISO 25600? Dan respectfully.

Unknown said...

I am in love with the high ISO capabilty of my Canon 5D Mk2. Who needs flash...

Wil Wardle

fosie1955 said...

moving from my 400D to 50D helped me bag more images with the 50D. These are the tools which assist our shooting techniques.

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