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In praise of high ISO


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#21 loftus

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:30 AM

18 March 2007. ISO 1600. From deep dark Monterey.

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Is there a reason you chose high ISO for a macro shot? Macro was not something I would have been thinking about with high ISO. Was your reason for using high ISO here to bring out the background more? Do you have indications for when you would choose high ISO for macro images such as this, especially with strobe?

Edited by loftus, 06 May 2009 - 09:40 AM.

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#22 herbko

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:52 AM

Is there a reason you chose high ISO for a macro shot? Macro was not something I would have been thinking about with high ISO. Was your reason for using high ISO here to bring out the background more? Do you have indications for when you would choose high ISO for macro images such as this, especially with strobe?


Yes. I chose the high ISO to get the natural water color background. Because of the low light level, high ISO was the only way to get that. I was already at the limits of low shutter speed and wide aperture (for the DOF I wanted).
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#23 Drew

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 08:26 PM

I really wasn't trying to start that. I was amused to see Alex now has ISO800 as the default setting for temperate waters. I seem to remember reading his post on this board that he sees no value in good high ISO image quality for underwater use when he was shooting with the D2x. So I couldn't resist commenting.


That's what I was alluding to. Pre FX users never saw high ISO as a useful choice. That's one of the big reasons why there was an exodus of Nikon users to Canon. Now with the QC quality issues of the Mark III series, there's a slight reversal. And why not? Just tools to shoot with.
It's fun to poke fun at Alex... especially after he posted that pic of him with beer pouring down his face... scary!:lol:

I do want to bring up about the illusion of grain and how some noise can simulate grain. Matt once said he's of the digital generation of no grain pls. I like grain for a look but maybe I'm dinosaur about things?

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#24 herbko

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 10:44 PM

I do want to bring up about the illusion of grain and how some noise can simulate grain. Matt once said he's of the digital generation of no grain pls. I like grain for a look but maybe I'm dinosaur about things?



There's probably a grain-o-matic plug-in for photoshop somewhere on the web. If not I'm sure you can write one. I'm with Matt on this one.
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#25 kaarlin

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 12:58 AM

I love to work with high ISO in the murky Dutch waters. This picture is made with ISO 1250 with a visibility of 4 feet.


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#26 davichin

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 02:20 AM

I would prefer to have low ISO capability (eg ISO 25, 12...) without having to use ND filters to take pictures like subject against sun with short DOF... As for high ISO I have never really tried it as I do not remember needing it any time :lol:
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#27 loftus

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:05 AM

I do want to bring up about the illusion of grain and how some noise can simulate grain. Matt once said he's of the digital generation of no grain pls. I like grain for a look but maybe I'm dinosaur about things?

I agree, for some things I like that look. Underwater, especially in less than perfect viz, things have a bit of a grainy look anyway.
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#28 segal3

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 05:17 AM

I do want to bring up about the illusion of grain and how some noise can simulate grain. Matt once said he's of the digital generation of no grain pls. I like grain for a look but maybe I'm dinosaur about things?

I never said this. :lol:

My feeling has always been that I don't care about grain, which is why I've used high ISOs for years...this is different from not caring for grain.

Any other discussion would have been regarding how the noise characteristics in high-megapixel density cameras of the last few years make for a increasingly grain-like, rather than straight 'noisy', appearance in photographs.
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#29 Drew

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 06:07 AM

Jeff, it seems Matt and Herb are on the party of noise reduction. I sorta like a bit of noise to add grit and mood to certain shots. I certainly dislike the lack of detail with the new NR and AA filters on the newer cameras.

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#30 loftus

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 06:18 AM

Jeff, it seems Matt and Herb are on the party of noise reduction. I sorta like a bit of noise to add grit and mood to certain shots. I certainly dislike the lack of detail with the new NR and AA filters on the newer cameras.

I think sometimes noise/grain that are camera generated are difficult to distinguish from the grainy feeling imparted by the water; this is evident in my first pic I posted. The grainy feel is not noise, but the particulate matter in the water, and yes I do like that. That's why I think there's more to the high ISO abilities of newer Nikon's and old Canons :lol:, and it's what I think of as being able to penetrate further into the underwater landscape, so that more subtle tones are evident in the shadows and midtones. Just shooting high ISO with less capable cameras and then using a noise filter is not the same in this regard in my opinion.

Edited by loftus, 07 May 2009 - 06:19 AM.

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#31 herbko

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 08:37 AM

Jeff, it seems Matt and Herb are on the party of noise reduction. I sorta like a bit of noise to add grit and mood to certain shots. I certainly dislike the lack of detail with the new NR and AA filters on the newer cameras.


No. I'm on the party of having sensors with lower noise to begin with. That was the reason for choosing Canon. A little noise is much better than heavy NR.

The amount of AA filtering trades off sharpness for digital artifacts, and does not affect noise which is produced by the sensor under the filter.
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#32 segal3

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 05:06 PM

Jeff, it seems Matt and Herb are on the party of noise reduction.

Again, no, I'm on the party of not caring if the image has a bit of grain, hence my tendency to increase ISO as the situations calls for. (And, with Canon sensors over the past few years, the small bit of grain experienced at higher ISOs hasn't impacted image quality to any significant degree in my images.) For California wide-angle photography, I'll often use 400 or 800 as the default...

I've never used noise reduction, either in camera or in post...stop putting words in our mouths, Drew :).

Back to the regularly scheduled discussion: Interestingly, the old 20D had better dynamic range at ISO200 than ISO100, as it was clipping shadows to black in the latter. 100 ISO for every 10 ft might be a little extreme, if only due to the already variable exposure required for different angles towards the surface.
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#33 loftus

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 06:20 PM

100 ISO for every 10 ft might be a little extreme, if only due to the already variable exposure required for different angles towards the surface.

I agree this could vary based on angles etc, but could also vary in the other direction based on viz and subject matter. I think the actual number is less important than the concept of increasing ISO (and not just playing with shutter speed and aperture) as ambient light decreases with depth and decreasing viz.
I know this may be nothing new for some of you guys and you're wondering what the big deal is, but for me it was something of a revelation going from my D200 to not be restricted to about 400 ISO, beyond which image quality really started to deteriorate.

Edited by loftus, 07 May 2009 - 06:30 PM.

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#34 critter

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:32 PM

I am with you Loftus, I am also coming from a D200. I don't change cameras as fast as a lot of people. It is a complete revelation as you say. 800 iso was giving a ton of noise in my D200. It's too bad that Matt hates grain :)
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#35 Drew

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:47 PM

I never said this. :)

Yes you did. You told me that when I showed you the grainy b&w of the trevallies you missed on Verde. You may be young Matt but I think the 14mm wetsuits have caused bloodflow issues to the brain. :)

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#36 segal3

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 09:10 PM

I think you should post that photo as an example so that people can appreciate my actual response to that image :)...
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#37 Drew

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 01:30 AM

Posted Image

THe pic is here and you complained about the graininess. This was shot at equivalent 1600ISO (400 pushed 2 stops), no strobe for fun just to see what would happen.

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#38 Scubamoose

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 03:19 AM

This was shot at equivalent 1600ISO (400 pushed 2 stops), no strobe for fun just to see what would happen.


Sorry again for asking questions about basics, but what do You mean equivalent to 1600? 400 pushed 2 stops means underexposed 2 f-stops? :)
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#39 critter

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:53 AM

Great shot Drew, I really like the grain. Did you post process this with channel mixer or some other technique.

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#40 Drew

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:45 PM

Sorry again for asking questions about basics, but what do You mean equivalent to 1600? 400 pushed 2 stops means underexposed 2 f-stops? :)

It just means I shot it at 400 and pushed it 2 stops in RAW conversion, equivalent to 1600. I wanted to compare that to 1600 on camera for kicks.

Great shot Drew, I really like the grain. Did you post process this with channel mixer or some other technique.

Tony

The RAW converter used was Capture 1 Pro 4.5 I think... maybe 4.1 since it's like a year ago. So many updates I lose track. Most post was done there and only in PS CS4 did I convert to SRGB, watermark and downsize.

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