ISO 800+ -- high noise

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,691
Re: ISO 800+ -- high noise

GivenToFly wrote:

Thanks very much!! That's very helpful, although I'm still processing what you wrote. I had always thought of higher ISO as meaning increasing the amount of light because my understanding was that in the old film emulsion days, higher ISO was achieved with larger silver halide grains, and the larger grains meant more light, but also more grain.

Larger film grains collected more light per grain, but not more light overall. The digital analogy would be a sensor with fewer/bigger pixels, but this analogy doesn't really work, due to the differences between chemistry and electronics. With digital sensors, the determinant of noise is not the amount of light per pixel, but the total amount of light reaching the sensor.

But if I understand what you're saying, with digital cameras, one increases ISO to increase amplification in a low light situation, but low light has greater noise, so the increased amplification at higher ISO will in turn amplify the noise?

Yes. Have you ever played an old cassette tape or vinyl record that sounds fine at low volumes, but when you crank up the volume (amplification) you suddenly hear lots of tape hiss or dust pops? It's like that.

-- hide signature --

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." - George Bernard Shaw

 Jacques Cornell's gear list:Jacques Cornell's gear list
Sony a7R II Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Sony a7R III Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 +42 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow