Traffic Trails, Kings Park, Perth

There are many advantages of the latest breed of cameras, with their high ISO settings. The ISO setting effectively is the sensitivity of the cameras sensor to the light. Many of today’s cameras will give options for ISO settings of ISO6400 and higher.

There are many advantages in being able the set your camera at high ISO settings. I just  think back to the time when I used film and the highest ISO setting was ISO400 otherwise the grain in the film would become too evident.

Here I will summarise some of the occasions when to use high ISO and when not to use it.

High ISO and Image Degradation

When using high ISO with your camera you do need to bear in mind that there will be some image degradation due to some additional noise in your images. There is also some good software available to help control noise in your images.

Long Lenses

When using long lenses high ISO can be a big advantage, as this will let you use higher shutter speeds. High shutter speeds will help you reduce camera shake. Also from my experience, high shutter speeds will give better image quality than slower shutter speeds and using the lens vibration reduction function when hand holding a camera. Using a higher ISO will also help you to get a higher aperture to consequently give more depth of field.

Hand Holding Versus Using a Tripod

The high ISO of today’s cameras and also the Vibration reduction in the latest lenses do give the opportunity to use higher shutter speeds in low light, however if you have the option to use a tripod in general far better results will be obtained if you use a tripod as your camera support.

Hand holding a camera and using a high ISO will assist greatly in getting sharper image in cases where it may not be possible to use a tripod or monopod.

Using a Tripod

When using a tripod high ISO is not required. This is due to the fact that longer shutter speeds can be used when using a  tripod. Use the lowest ISO possible as this will result in the highest image quality possible.

Secrets to the Best Image Quality

  • Use the lowest ISO possible, the ISO to be used is a balance between ISO, shutter speed and aperture.
  • Use an aperture to get the best depth of field.
  • Use a tripod or monopod where possible.
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