High Iso and Ultra High Iso – Right or Wrong?

I am so old that I can remember that high iso films that had a high-end of 1600 or 3200 with black and white film served only one purpose and that was to let folks like photo journalists get images in very low light where flash could not be used.  It was loaded with grain wimages-5hich was expected, looked muddy in many cases, but gave a representative idea as to what the story was.

I did very little work with high iso films as my goal was to always get to that crystal clear image whether it was color or black and white free of artifacts and telling a story I wanted viewers to know.  Of course there was a certain amount of manipulation I could do in the film development or paper development in the darkroom, but I really did not mess around with that too much.

I still like low iso crystal clear images and while I have dabbled with high iso settings on some of the best cameras made which happen to handle high Iso images quite well, I still prefer to shoot ant the lowest available iso my gear can give me.

I have had the opportunity over time to judge a lot of photographs shot digitally at high iso and they most certainly have had a great deal of artistic appeal and there is a place for the use of such high iso features.  But I have also seem a total miss use of extreme high iso to the point that images or unrecognizable and down right blotchy and ugly.

Beyond the use of high Iso by photo journalists in extreme recording environments, the majority of photographers could easily get along with an Iso between 100 and 800 and rely on a tripod to steady what a hand can not steady.  A slightly long exposure can go a long way in producing all the tones and colors any heart could desire.

That now becomes an image showing the story in style and clarity.   The images also has refined digital information you can work with in order to crop and / or manipulate.  If you want to add effects as an artistic expression there is software like MacPhun,  Aurora, MacPhun Luminar and On1 1.0.5 or On1 Raw that will effectively allow grain, texture overlays, and pretty much give you the look you want to achieve.

If your camera has clean high iso clean capability remember to use it sparingly and only in situations where there is no other choice.  A good tripod or support coupled with a low Iso can give the photographer so much more to work with in a very low light situation.  Remember it is and has been all about what is in the details.



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