February 2, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut
San Diego Culinary Institute
My Nikon D5000 has a boosted ISO of 6400, so that’s what I set out to test tonight. I wanted some real, after dark photos shot with ambient light while gunning the ISO throttle of my D5000 all the way to the max. The biggest lesson I learned tonight was that when you are out testing a specific “thing” on your DSLR, don’t forget that you don’t have to stick to the thing you are testing. In this case, I was out testing the 6400 ISO of my camera when I camera across the scene above. I had the presence of mind to switch the ISO to 200 before taking the shot. This resulted in the dark exterior of the building creating a frame around the soon to be chefs inside.
The Compass Card validator to the left was shot at 6400 ISO, and is presented to you here WAY smaller than actual size because full size was pretty noisy. Anyway, I was out looking for any dark alley type place around my neighborhood so that I could give 6400 ISO a real stretch of the legs, and my general consensus is that 6400 can not be shown at 100%, even on the web. You can still get very low light shots that will blow your mind, especially if you are from the days of film, but for the sake of passing images on for posterity, I’m going to have to hold back on 6400. What I will do is work with 3200 ISO because it is WAY less noisy than 6400, and yet is still very light sensitive. I’m going to find the sweet spot for high ISO and my f/1.8 lens even if I have to stay up all night every night. SO, with that in mind, here is where I am with this post. That pic above is ISO 200, because I remembered to change it down from 6400. The pic to the left is 6400, as is the pic below. I am now wishing that I had remembered to dial the ISO down from 6400 for the pic below because I really would have liked the sad detail in the man’s face to show through.
Unnecessary Use Of 6400 ISO