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Thread started 12 May 2011 (Thursday) 20:37
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ISO - how high is too high

 
dsuppa97
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May 12, 2011 20:37 |  #1

I just recently got the 60D as an upgrade from my XS and have been playing around much more with the ISO settings(way more obviously than my XS had)....today I got my tamron 17-50/2.8 nonVC in and am noticing for low light photos I need to jack the ISO up to expose correctly according to the light meter, now on the XS I NEVER went passed 800 and even then it was grainy.
Sorry for the long post.....so my question is, to keep my shutter speed up other than using a flash how high on the 60D is too high?


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TheBrick3
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May 12, 2011 20:40 |  #2

I haven't used the 60D, so I shouldn't comment but I'm sure can easily get up to 2000 without serious issue. Under the right circumstances, I could produce great images on the 20D at 3200 ISO.


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May 12, 2011 20:41 |  #3

It depends on what you are shooting. If you are shooting just to capture a memory....then the answer is as high as it takes to get the shot....if you are shooting fine art....you might find that 800 is as far as you want to go. Circumstances and necessity are going to be your guides.


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May 12, 2011 20:59 |  #4

I've shot ISO 3200 with my 20D with decent results, as long as you get the exposure correct and apply some careful (and minimal) noise reduction. I'd expect you could do a bit better with the 60D.

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May 12, 2011 21:55 |  #5

I don't own the 60D so can only make broad comments.

One thing to be aware of is that high ISO performance has significantly improved over the years, so an ISO 1600 shot, for example, on a newer camera should be at least as clean as an ISO on a later camera.

And then, to echo some of the comments above, a whole lot rests on both what you are shooting, the light conditions, and how you expose. In the right conditions where you don't have a lot of dark areas to boost in post processing, good light will help to "cancel" the effects of noise. As a result, we have seen plenty of nice shots done at high ISOs, like the one posted above.

Like Dan mentioned, though, this won't always work due to the fact that some images are meant to be printed much larger than a Web shot and the larger you print, the more visible noise will be. Or, you may find yourself shooting things that require close cropping -- wildlife shooting is an example where there just is never enough reach, and so close cropping is part of the "package" and, as a result, you either need great light, or you just end up muttering "the heck with it" and get the shots.

Note that "noisy" shots can be great for Web and personal use because, well, those of us who do this as a hobby may never need to worry about anything else. Or, you can hopefully build up a portfolio of images that are nice and clean and great and are ready to hang in a gallery at a nice print size or to submit to a competition or to sell to a picky stock agency or to be published in a magazine (editors can be known to be picky:))!

For me, I did upgrade from my old 30D to my present cameras (the 5DC and the 1D3) largely because I was doing a lot of wildlife shooting in dim light and too much distance to avoid close cropping and I wanted bodies that do a clean 800 and a good 1600 or, if needed, higher. And yeah, I've had to push to ISO 3200 plenty of times when the light goes low. Those shots tend to be a bit painful when looking at them at a high magnification, and those shots will likely not print large so good, but hey, some of them were shots I wanted, and when compressed for a small personal print or for the Web or personal viewing they look nice, so there!

And, Noise Reduction software has been making advances as well. I've been a hard-core Raw shooter and Lightroom user for quite some time and Lightroom has moved ahead in the quality of its noise reduction (especially with the latest release, LR3) and, as of LR2, added "local adjustment brushes". What this means is that in the Raw processing you can take on things such as selective sharpening and softening which, for a high ISO wildlife shot, can make a huge difference! The details in wildlife tend to "drown out" the noise, so if you can get the hang of using a bit of noise reduction then brusing sharpness on the critter and softness on the background areas which often show more noise, than you can get some impressive results! I haven't gotten around to the thousands of wildlife images from the "old days", but...

Of course apps like Photoshop/Elements/Gim​p that provide layers, layer masks, and sophistcated way of using them are the "standard" ways of dealing with such "selective" sharpening and noise reduction, but I've just been a bit hard-headed about sticking with Lightroom:)!


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May 12, 2011 22:45 |  #6

I took this with the 7D, and the 60D should be right there with it. So is ISO 12800 too high? I don't know, but it worked for me.

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ISO 6400

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


Another ISO 6400

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sbattey
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May 12, 2011 23:23 |  #7
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I regularly shoot at 1600, on a 7D and it should be comparable to your 60D in terms of performance.

I have not used 3200 but you can use noise reduction to make it just a little bit better. Supposedly lightroom 3's noise reduction is pretty good.


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yogestee
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May 12, 2011 23:31 as a reply to  @ sbattey's post |  #8

You need to go out and shoot some pics at various ISO settings. Experiment with exposure, including over and under exposure. See what suits your style of photography..

Report back with your findings.


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teraflop
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May 12, 2011 23:33 as a reply to  @ sbattey's post |  #9

As longs as there is now law against high iso pics - it depends on you.
Whats more important - to snap the moment or to have a noisefree picture (which indeed doesn't exists)?

I have the 7D with the same sensor and i try to avoid ISOs > 3200. But if i really want that picture - would go higher without any doubts.

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David ­ Ransley
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May 13, 2011 01:03 |  #10

Stay away from pixel peeping and few the shot at normal resolution on your monitor. If things look fine, then use that ISO. You should be able to go to 1600 without any real challenge.


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dsuppa97
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May 13, 2011 06:50 |  #11

Thanks for all the tips and info, Guess its time for me to venture into the higher ISOs and see what I come up with. Still not 100% comfortable yet with the 60D.....at least not to the level I was with my XS.


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cputeq007
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May 13, 2011 07:56 |  #12

ISO - how high is too high

Upon examining a photo's EXIF for which you weren't aiming for grain, you think to yourself "wow I could have gotten that shot with a slower shutter speed and therefore a lower ISO."

That's when it's too high.


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May 13, 2011 08:18 |  #13

I will throw out a suggestion that has served me quite well with the 7D. If you shoot ISO 3200/6400 and are using Tv or Av, push your EC out to +1/3. If you shoot ISO 12800, push EC out to +2/3. Obviously don't do this at the expense of clipping, but in many/most situations, this will help noise reduction later. Also use the High ISO Noise reduction value of standard, that seemed to produce the best result that can then be used later during post processing. That setting only has effect on in-camera JPGs or DPP conversion of Raw to JPG, though.


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May 13, 2011 09:00 |  #14

Teamspeed in theory overexposing sounds good, but the problem I find in practice is that the only reason you use 3200+ is out of desperation - you don't have the latitude to increase your shutter speed even further


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dsuppa97
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May 13, 2011 09:02 |  #15

smorter wrote in post #12402065 (external link)
Teamspeed in theory overexposing sounds good, but the problem I find in practice is that the only reason you use 3200+ is out of desperation - you don't have the latitude to increase your shutter speed even further

3200 wasnt even in my mind, I was freaking out about having to step it up to 1600-2000 range....


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ISO - how high is too high
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