Wednesday, December 28, 2011
High ISO holiday goodies
I grew up in the heyday of film, when fast emulsions were just starting to come in. I'd shoot Tri-X and push it from its normal ISO 400 to 800 and, very occasionally, all the way to 1600. The results may have been sort of grainy, but they were thrilling -- WOW! SHOOTING IN LOW LIGHT WITH NO FLASH! It just doesn't get any better than that, I thought. Little did I know.
Of course, now even some of the better compacts can shoot clean images at ISO1600 -- and that's in color. In the old days, pushing film was mostly the province of black and white photographers. Above ISO 400 or so, images got terribly grainy -- nice for special effects, not if not.
Today, with DSLRs, especially the full-frame versions, the sky is the limit -- go ahead, shoot available light in that coal mine. My D90 is no longer the state of the art when it comes to high ISO photography, but it still has not lost the capacity to amaze me: This was shot in VERY low light at ISO 3200 with High ISO Noise Reduction turned on and cranked up high. Back in the old days, someone who claimed to have shot this at ISO 3200 would clearly have been lying. Today, it's a digital file that includes the ISO.