Embrace the Noise

Embrace the Noise

Panning Shot - A biker on Victoria Street in Singapore
A Biker on Victoria Street, Singapore

Shooting at high ISO is sometimes necessary, especially when shooting in low light condition and if you are like me, prefer not to use flash. Bumping up the ISO to 800, 1600 or even 3200 is fine if that helps you achieve a higher shutter speed to help freeze the subject and reduce the handshake. Current generation of digital cameras produce wonderful pictures at high ISO with very minimal noise. Let’s forget about pixel peeping. I am not shooting for a cover of fashion magazine. Few of the latest digital cameras have high ISO up to 12800 and 25600. You don’t have to go that extreme of course, but if you own one of those cameras, just don’t forget that you have that option if you have to.

Do not worry about the noise produced by the high ISO setting, because to me, they are just bigger colourful pixels.

Shooting at high ISO in low light condition without flash gives you the advantage of using a high enough shutter speed to freeze the movement of the subjects.

Unless a special effect is intended, it is better to have a sharp grainy picture rather than a smooth picture with no noise but the subject is blur.

The above image of a biker on Victoria Street in Singapore was lit only by the street lights which were quite dim. The aperture used was f2.8 and at ISO 3200, the manual exposure metering gave me a shutter speed of 1/30 sec. I used the panning technique to shoot the subject and was happy with the result. I know that when you re-size an image shot at high ISO, the noise will either go away or reduce significantly, so you can’t really see the noise in the above picture, but I hope I made a point that to be able to have ideal shutter speed for dimly lit subject like the above, you need to bump up the ISO.

5 responses to “Embrace the Noise”

  1. can’t understand why when ii shoot in low light areas, noise will always appear in the photos. then after ii adjust the ISO and everything, the photos still comes out noisy and low quality. pek chek. xD