What do you consider high ISO? Today's standards

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by SquarePeg, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Not based on traditional ISO thinking/standards with film and yesterday's dslrs. With today's more advanced cameras (current models and maybe one model behind), what do you consider high ISO?

    If someone says "how does it handle high ISO?" what ISO range would you think they were asking about?

    At what ISO do you start to hesitate and adjust the other variables? If your camera has a max ISO option for shooting in Auto ISO, what do you have it set at?

    How high is too high for shooting landscapes? Portraits?

    Including all noise reduction options - talking about final results - what is the highest ISO you have used and gotten what you would consider to be a good result? If you want to share the photo and/or the camera and settings that would be nice.

    Do you convert your high ISO photos to black and white to "save" them?


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    To me, 'high ISO' is >800 because beyond that is outside of my "normal" shooting parameters. I never 'Auto ISO', and as far as 'too high' that's camera-by-camera. The highest I've ever shot and used was, IIRC, 6400 at an indoor swim meet I was covering a few years ago... can't remember anything else about it, and images are long archived.
     
  3. stk

    stk No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On full frame I've set my auto ISO to maximum 12800, but I try my best to stay under 6400.

    On µ4/3 I won't go higher than 1600.

    Picture quality, or noise, also depends on the scene and lighting conditions, not only the ISO value.
     
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  4. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's kinda hard to say as I've started using mostly manual on cameras lately selecting the shutter and aperture but allowing the camera to pick the iso.

    Obviously lighting makes the difference but I've been happy with 3200 on crop cam and 6400 on fullframe. I actually have a shot from my Olympus em5 that was shot at iso 5000 and it looks great printed 8x10

    I'd say below 1600 ideally on crop and 3200 on fx
     
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  5. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That interesting. I would consider ISO 800 to be relatively low. But I know you shoot a lot of portraits and I rarely do. When I’m shooting portraits I like to stay under ISO 1000. I use auto ISO about 90% of the time!
     
  6. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    It depends on the shot and what my acceptable level of noise (even with noise reduction applied) is. I've been a long time Pentax user, which seems to handle noise better. The K1Mii has native up to 819,200. Yes I've tried it, and no, it's not acceptable, however, I find with a little editing I can shoot with decent results up to ISO 25,600. Pushing it can get a usable image at 51,200, and by 102,400 the noise is pretty noticeable even with reduction. My avatar was at ISO 25600 This was a fairly heavy crop of a laser light show projected on the carving of Stone Mountain, GA.
    Stone Mountain04212018_871.jpg

    Edit: IMO there is a mistaken belief that high ISO can create detail where none exists. In the deepest darkest shadows, if there's no light to reflect then all you get is noise. I've found that using high ISO in better ambient lighting to get my shutter speed up to actually be a better use. In studio my go to is ISO 100-200.
     
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  7. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Get the photo -- do whatever it takes.

    Joe
     
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  8. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree but that wasn't really the point of the thread. I think the meaning given to the term "high ISO" has shifted and was wondering what others considered to be high ISO today - not historically. When someone says a camera handles high ISO well - what ISO value do you think they are referring to as the "high"? In my mind, I read that as ISO above 6400 or so. But others may interpret that to mean ISO above 800.
     
  9. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I agree "high ISO" should apply to values of 6400 and above. Here's a photo at ISO 6400 taken with my little 1" sensor compact:

    Dropbox - ISO_6400_inch.jpg - Simplify your life

    Joe
     
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  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think high ISO is heavily dependent upon the camera. With my Nikon 2x in good light it looks pretty good it up to 1250. with the D610 and the D800 it looks pretty good at 3200. in good light if there is ample information to be seen in the shadows, higher ISO looks better than it does in sketchy lighting.

    as was stated above "anything to get the shot".... A few days ago there was a rodeo shot posted here, and the photographer kept the iso deliberately low and was only able to get an exposure of 1/160 of a second at F2.8, and he suffered from some blurring of the subject… I think he this is a good example of when it is a good idea to elevate the ISO, and deal with whatever that brings with it with your camera. Today we have enough information (megapixels) to apply pretty heavy noise reduction, and still wind up with a pretty decent shot.
     
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  11. RVT1K

    RVT1K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I choose to set the ISO myself and do not use the auto ability.
    That number changed over the years as equipment gets better. High ISO for my old D40 is very different from what is considered high for my D4 now. I would have to actually go through things and look but I know I have lots of stuff done at over 6400 with my D4.
     
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  12. petrochemist

    petrochemist TPF junkie!

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    My first DSLR (brought used nearly 10 years ago) had significant issues with noise at ISO800. Any of my newer bodies (made in the last 5 years) handles ISO6400 better than this, and generally produce acceptable images at that level a few can go higher without any issues, though of course noise can be very dependent on the subject lange areas of deep shadow will generally end up with noise.

    I'd think of ISO 800-6400 as moderate ISO these days & anything over 6400 I'd class as high ISO (or very high ISO). However I label it I'll use whatever available ISO is needed to get the shot I've used most of my cameras at the highest possible ISO on occasion even if just to get a better idea on the correct exposure for low light images.
     
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