Top ISO: 3200 or 6400?

Highest ISO that gets the detail you want in your images?

  • 3200

    Votes: 34 38.6%
  • 6400

    Votes: 19 21.6%
  • 1600

    Votes: 19 21.6%
  • 800

    Votes: 7 8.0%
  • Never go higher than 200

    Votes: 4 4.5%
  • To The Moon Alice, to the Moon!

    Votes: 5 5.7%

  • Total voters
    88

ralf-11

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The OP's question is less pointless if you think about what an acceptable DR is for a given capture as it falls rapidly with ISO), and what an acceptable noise level or graininess is for a given portrait or landscape.
 

John King

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Living in Oregon, I often have to shoot in darker conditions due to clouds than I would like. On my cameras (G9, Gx8, Gx85) I see a great difference between 3200 and 6400 ISO when it comes to detail even in perfectly exposed images.

As everyone's shooting style and conditions very I've put in a poll, it quite simple - what is your highest ISO on our specific primary camera that your are comfortable that you will get detail (think feather detail or other fine detail) you want in your images.
Jeff, if there is enough light, the sky's the limit. With low light, I try to keep as low as possible.

Here's an example at ISO 6400 where there's not a lot of light (note that this is with my E-M1 MkI with the relatively noisy 16 MPx Panasonic sensor)

Rosa

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Test shot in our living room with fairly poor light at ISO 25,600

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My E-M1 MkII with its Sony sensor is better by about 2/3 stop for noise in any given light.
 

ac12

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SF Bay Area, California, USA
Recognizing that the OP was posted over a year ago.

I view it different.
I shoot at whatever ISO I have to, to capture the image without motion blur.
To me a noise free but blurred image is worse than a noisy but sharp image. In fact a blurry image could be "useless."
IOW, I will raise my ISO as high as I have to, to shoot at the necessary shutter speed for a sharp image.
Example I will shoot a night football game, wide open f/2.8 at 1/1000 sec, then determine what ISO I need to use to shoot at that setting.
If the ISO is too high, IOW the field is too dark, I would drop the shutter speed down to 1/800 or 1/500 sec, recognizing that I will take a sharpness hit with the slower shutter speed.

The other factor is the environment.
With my Nikon D7200, I can easily shoot at ISO 12800 on the football field and hardly see noise.
But in the gym, with the smooth walls and floors, noise at 12800 is easily seen.

Third is viewing distance.
I do not expect people to stick their face up to my photos or pixel peep.
You view a photo at a distance relative to the size of the print. Your own vision will limit the level of detail that you can see.
 

Transalp01

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Täby, Sweden
Before with Pana G80 I use max 3200 for normal shoots but with my new E-M5 mark III I think 6400 is better than 3200 in G80.

But I know I shoot a concert when my son was playing in a rockband with 6400 and even 12800 with a Pana GM1. But then I had to buy new software for denoicing to process them.
 

phigmov

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Aotearoa
IOW, I will raise my ISO as high as I have to, to shoot at the necessary shutter speed for a sharp image.
I tend to follow this low-light philosophy too - I'd rather capture a noisey/grainy image than a blurry one. About the only exception is something staged (or using a tripod) - if I can convince people to be still for a flash-free photo that IS can handle a long-exposure on, I'll drop the iso.

Also, B&W processing covers a multitude of sins and can often add to the atmosphere depending on the situation.
 

RichDesmond

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As most people are saying, it depends. There are shots that depend on low noise and very high sharpness for their impact, and others where it doesn't matter at all. For example the karaoke shot above by @speedy, noise would be almost irrelevant. If it was so dark that it had to be shot at 12,800, so be it. As long as the joy in their faces came through it would be fine.

Another consideration is output/viewing format. Photos viewed on a monitor have different requirements than 24x32" print.
 

ac12

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There is another variable, the lens.
Old rule: in LOW light, FAST glass wins.
So rather than trying to use a f/5.6 zoom lens in my high school gym, and have to crank up the ISO, I use a 35/1.8 prime. THREE stops faster.
So where practical, I use a faster lens.
 
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RS86

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I view it different.
I shoot at whatever ISO I have to, to capture the image without motion blur.
To me a noise free but blurred image is worse than a noisy but sharp image. In fact a blurry image could be "useless."
IOW, I will raise my ISO as high as I have to, to shoot at the necessary shutter speed for a sharp image.
Same here. In one video Robin Wong said he doesn't hesitate to use ISO 12800 if necessary, and he is a pro. I guess the clients don't pixel peep or dissappear by first glance of any noise.

Personally for macro I try not go above ISO 800, ISO 1600 is certainly maximum or then I have to use flash with ISO 200.

For other photography I try to keep ISO 3200 as maximum, where I can also use B&W.

Otherwise I will use ISO 12800 if necessary, but this is mostly for photos of family or friends etc.
 

PakkyT

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In one video Robin Wong said he doesn't hesitate to use ISO 12800 if necessary, and he is a pro.
Well he certainly is a pro when it comes to blogging, YouTube videos, and creating other such content. But I have often wondered about these people (not just him specifically). How many make any money off their actually photographs vs. talking about their photography, reviewing equipment, giving tips on how to do stuff, etc.?
:daz:
 

RS86

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Well he certainly is a pro when it comes to blogging, YouTube videos, and creating other such content. But I have often wondered about these people (not just him specifically). How many make any money off their actually photographs vs. talking about their photography, reviewing equipment, giving tips on how to do stuff, etc.?
:daz:
I think in that video he showed photos of some music gigs he has photographed, in dim lighting. In other videos I have seen his photos of weddings. Not sure what other photography genres he does professionally.

And I think he does "photo walks" ("Shutter therapy" or something) with people who want to learn from him live.
 

D7k1

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #32
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With my G9 in reasonable light (windows and a bulb) ISO6400 @ f2.8 1/60 is good enough. In the woods where you are at 1/8 @ f2.8 6400 is ok but not great.
 
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