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There’s a (heavy) rain going on now… And it don’t seem like it will stop any time soon, so I’m trying to clear off some of my previous unprocessed shots taken 3 weeks ago (taken on the same day as the fireworks video I’ve posted weeks ago).

And I came across this one taken at VivoCity’s water playground.Export - IMG_8467-2

It was quite a scene with the silhouette lit up by the Christmas lights behind them.

Frankly speaking, it’s a difficult shot mentally…. Many of us have been told to use low ISO as far as possible. But how will that be possible for low light scenes like the above and yet freezing the moment? The simple answer is, use a higher ISO.

Using High ISO

At high ISO such as 3200 (on an slightly outdated 3 yr old crop sensor), it’s going to create alot of noise on the image. But many of us have also forgotten that for the noise to be seen, it depends on the viewing size. If one is referring to sizes to be uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, it’s more than enough. Just downsize the image to something smaller (like the above example, 900×600) and with a slight noise reduction “magic” from Lightroom, the noise is barely visible at this size. Using any form of noise reduction software WILL result in loss of details. But for a low-detail scene such like the above, it would be hard to tell.

For awhile back, I know that on my EOS 500D, ISO3200 is quite usable to a certain extend. It’s still good enough for a 900×600 sized Facebook image. Larger image  sizes may result in noise to be seen easily. *ISO3200 looks bad on the LCD, but ISO6400 looks horrible to me on my 500D even on LCD display*

If you are not going to use your picture at large size (or to sell them), go ahead and use that high ISO that the camera gives you. But before doing that, find out what’s the max iso noise level you are willing to accept. Each person’s noise limit is different. I have seen and met people who are already complaining about noise ISO400 on a 7D is too much already and is influencing his peers about never going beyond ISO400 as the noise is unbearable/horrible .. … ..

*Did I mentioned that ISO1600 is NORMAL for many of my shots on my 500D? I would say that most people who are non photographers wouldn’t really notice the difference*


Nothing is “free” in this world…When there is a action, there is a reaction. Using high ISO, will also directly affects your shot’s dynamic range. High ISO = low Dynamic range. In layman terms, having low dynamic range will mean it’s easier to blow your highlights into pure white and/or turn dark shadows into pure black.

In short

I guess what I’m actually trying to say is, if you have to use that high ISO to get that shot, JUST DO IT! For those already having great cameras that handles high ISO well, it doesn’t mean that you must use it all the time… It’s still a good practice to keep the ISO low whereas possible to get the best image quality.


*I’ll see if I can get anywhere after the rain stops…*