Beginner ISO- how high is too high?

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Darran, Daz or ****
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#41
Quite a few times I've read posts on forums from people stating they don't go above a certain ISO and TBH I can never understand this. What do they do if the shot needs a higher ISO? Do they just put the camera down and stop shooting?
For me it's realising that sometimes I can choose a lower ISO than the camera suggests in auto and still get a good photo.
I don't recall ever using manual ISO up until now but I think higher ISO levels that the 80D suggests has me panacking thinking they'll be too noisy.
Having said that I've just checked a few photos I took with auto ISO and it's 1250 and there is no noise whatsoever in them.
Perhaps I am over thinking things and not trusting the 80D to do a good job with auto ISO.
 
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Andrew Cliffe
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#42
I occassionally shoot amateur drama. One group performs 'in the round' which means an acting area and the audience on all four sides. It also means that there isn't a set as such with lights reflecting back at you - the lights tend to be high up, pointing down. In these circumstances I will use as high an iso as necessary. Will often be shooting pretty wide open and I want to have a shutter speed of about 1/40s or higher. Lower and the risk of motion blur in the face becomes more of a problem. Blurred arms I don't mind but the face has to be sharp and not blurred.

In these cases I tend to use manual mode to fix shutter speed and aperture, and allow auto-iso to do its job. I find it does a reasonable job.
 
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Steven
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#43
I'm back on Canon. What exactly do you mean 'what canon call High ISO'? As in what value do they consider High ISO or the name for it like extended ISO etc?

I have noise reduction off. I shoot in RAW so will edit that myself to keep all the details.
High ISO NR is active at all ISO's if enabled... it just gets more aggressive as the ISO goes higher (and depending on it's strength setting). But for a raw file it is only a processing instruction w/in the exif, so most image editing programs will ignore it (because it's proprietary and the software can't decode it).

That is one advantage of the OEM software... it will (can) automatically edit the raw file to look exactly like the jpeg, based upon the jpeg/camera settings.
 
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conanthewarrior
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Conan
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#44
I've enjoyed reading all the replies to this thread, and am glad to see it started some good discussion.

Reading through, a thought popped into my head. How noisy is too noisy? Like I mentioned, I haven't had any images near the max ISO yet using Auto ISO, I really should try and test this with my camera but am just a bit busy at the moment.

When I get the time, what would be ideal to take a photo of to test for noise using different ISO settings? Would I want somewhere fairly well lit, or somewhere quite dark? I understand if I choose somewhere dark there will be more noise?
 
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Tony
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#45
I've enjoyed reading all the replies to this thread, and am glad to see it started some good discussion.

Reading through, a thought popped into my head. How noisy is too noisy? Like I mentioned, I haven't had any images near the max ISO yet using Auto ISO, I really should try and test this with my camera but am just a bit busy at the moment.

When I get the time, what would be ideal to take a photo of to test for noise using different ISO settings? Would I want somewhere fairly well lit, or somewhere quite dark? I understand if I choose somewhere dark there will be more noise?
I guess something hairy or feathery would be a good subject. You will see the effects of noise reduction on detail.
I suppose poor/low lighting would be most representative of the times some would use high ISO settings.
 
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#46
Reading through, a thought popped into my head. How noisy is too noisy? Like I mentioned, I haven't had any images near the max ISO yet using Auto ISO, I really should try and test this with my camera but am just a bit busy at the moment.

When I get the time, what would be ideal to take a photo of to test for noise using different ISO settings? Would I want somewhere fairly well lit, or somewhere quite dark? I understand if I choose somewhere dark there will be more noise?
Yes in the end it's down to you and your camera, if you shoot at each of the ISO you can make decision about when you might find it acceptable to use them.

Here is a scene I used to compare some ISO values

ISO 6400 is pretty clean and colours good

6400
by Daniel Cook, on Flickr

ISO 50,000 colour change and image is quite noisy - perhaps ok for a BW conversion

50000
by Daniel Cook, on Flickr

ISO 25,000 isn't too bad if needed

25000
by Daniel Cook, on Flickr
 
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conanthewarrior
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Conan
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#47
I guess something hairy or feathery would be a good subject. You will see the effects of noise reduction on detail.
I suppose poor/low lighting would be most representative of the times some would use high ISO settings.
Hmm, I was thinking my dog but she moves far too much, never sits still! I'm sure my friend has a furry coat, I will ask her if I can use it to take some test shots.
 
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Mike
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#48
It's not about how much 'noise' you may get, its how 'instructive' that may be to your picture.
If you take a picture of say some-one's face, that's the point of interest; specklie noise on that part of the frame will be far more obvious/intrusive than if its in the back-ground of a fussy bit of wall-paper.
Meanwhile, as said, the cause of noise isn't the amount of ISO amplification on the sensor; it's a whole gammut of factors, a lot of which start in the scene, and the contrast between shades, so if you want to deliberately 'make' noise to see the effect, you need to know what those scene circumstances are and where/how you will get to see them... not just turn the lights down... then, its back not to how much noise you might generate, but how intrusive that may be to the picture you are trying to make.
And we are in to a very very very subjective question, where 'style' and 'genre' are of importance; eg: if the subject is a down and dirty punk band at a pay+play, a bit of down and dirty 'noise' or old fashioned 'grain', could be argued as a bit of effect 'adding' to the 'mood' of the picture; if the subject is a classical cellist? Then that sort of 'dirt' probably doesn't add but detract from the 'mood' and is likely more intrusive and unwanted... and ironically, at the punk-gig, with the performer wearing grungy stage costume, say a chequed shirt and ripped jeans, any noise is likely a lot less noticeable, and broken up, than with the cellist, wearing a plain black cocktail dress against a greater expanse of clean skin, and you have much more contrast and big blocks of very close 'tone'.
 
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Tony
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#49
Yes in the end it's down to you and your camera, if you shoot at each of the ISO you can make decision about when you might find it acceptable to use them.

Here is a scene I used to compare some ISO values

ISO 6400 is pretty clean and colours good

6400
by Daniel Cook, on Flickr

ISO 50,000 colour change and image is quite noisy - perhaps ok for a BW conversion

50000
by Daniel Cook, on Flickr

ISO 25,000 isn't too bad if needed

25000
by Daniel Cook, on Flickr
It's interesting to see that the potential for banding increases.
 
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Dave
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#51
Only the individual photographer can decide how high is too high when it comes to ISO and noise. So much depends on the amount of light available, the subject, whether shadow detail needs to be retained, where the photo will be seen, at what size, for what purpose and who the intended audience is, plus a load more factors.

What might be acceptable at ISO 20,000 for one shot may be totally unusable for another.

The way to find out what works for the individual photographer is for them to shoot real world pictures and determine their personal limits by a process of elimination.

IMO and all the other caveats, of course.
 
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Steven
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#53
When I get the time, what would be ideal to take a photo of to test for noise using different ISO settings? Would I want somewhere fairly well lit, or somewhere quite dark? I understand if I choose somewhere dark there will be more noise?
Ideally you want to vary the light source/strength while keeping the Ap/SS constant. This is because shot noise varies as *the square root of signal strength. I.e. if the light has a value of 4 the noise is at 2, and if the light has a value of 100 the noise is at 10.


*I read that somewhere... no idea where the reference comes from but it seems reasonably accurate IME.
 
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Tony
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#54
sooc iso 12,800. Quite a dark room, surprising how light it looks. There is a bit of noise but acceptable for me. I need to set aside some time to play more but this was a very early shot with a new canon r, my older crop 77d would not be this good!!!!

6B0A0084.jpg
 
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mike
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#55
How would you lot have survived when the standard choice was 100ASA or 400ASA? I remember TMax 3200ASA and grain the size of golf balls but it meant you got images so the truth is if that image is so critical than any photograph is better than no photograph, imagine the first moon landing having no photographs because they decided that the ISO was too high - the real answer is that there are different levels of acceptability and different gear will change at what level an image is acceptable. I am fortunate in that I have a D5 so shooting indoor equestrian at 40,000 ISO produces acceptable images, would not want that for a wedding though.

Mike
 
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Toni
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#56
How would you lot have survived when the standard choice was 100ASA or 400ASA? I remember TMax 3200ASA and grain the size of golf balls
In the late 80s I did a publicity shoot for a metal band: Agfa 1000 in 120 for the Bronica and Tmax 3200 pushed to 12800 in the Minolta. The band were really pleased, and the Tmax had the most amazing grain structure for the gritty edge they wanted.

I also have funny memories of getting in the car after the gig, starting the engine and then trying again because I couldn't hear it running - cue faint, distant sound of starter pawl grinding on flywheel. That was quite a loud gig. :cool:
 
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