What is this fascination with iso6400?

Started Feb 11, 2013 | Discussions
RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 28,601
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?
1

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

Precisely. Technological advances are always welcome, but if someone "needs" to shoot at ISO 6400 much of the time, s/he's definitely doing something wrong.

So if someone only photographs sports at night under lights he is a bad photographer?  Really now...  It's about what light you are photographing and has nothing to do with the skill of the photographer!!

Draek
Draek Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

tkbslc wrote:

More often it describes those that think that their way is the only way and any who behave differently are "idiots."

My point exactly. When people can't let go of the notion they "need" a shutter speed of 1/500 to get a decent photograph is that we get this foolish notion that ISO6400 is an absolute necessity for regular photography. Like the guy who claimed a need for ISO400 in broad daylight and said ISO100 was only appropiate for "static" subjects, being stuck in a certain mindset allows some people to arrive at the craziest conclusions.

Facts are, most people lived for decades without ISO6400, in fact they seldom strayed from ISO400, and still managed to create a sizeable work of art and documentary that stays with us to this day. You're welcome to enjoy the capabilities of your current equipment when you get access to them, but to call them a necessity---or 14 stops' worth of DR, or ultra-fast AF, 3k lines of vertical resolution or anything of the sort---is where I think you start getting into "pretentious tool" territory, with the oft-held belief that your work is somehow more unique, important and difficult to achieve than everything that came before it and deal with the lack of your pet peeve just fine.

Then again, this website has its fame for a reason.

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mike703 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,702
Re: This is

dosdan wrote:

Mike, two things:

1. Once you shoot above base ISO, you are less likely to reach FWC for more and more sensels (aside possibly for specular highlights, which is why a clipping % is often included ). So while it may be ETTR as far as the histogram is showing, the sensor is is not ETTRed.

2. Most cameras switch from analogue to digital gain in the ISO1000-ISO3200 region. So shooting at ISO6400 provides no advantage at all if you shot raw.

I do shoot RAW - so what you suggest makes perfect sense and I will try it.  Thanks again.

Best wishes

DigitalPhilosopher
DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

RedFox88 wrote:

So if someone only photographs sports at night under lights he is a bad photographer? Really now... It's about what light you are photographing and has nothing to do with the skill of the photographer!!

At least I never worry about limitations of my equipment; I do try to correct limitations of my technique though. And I've been learning every time I take a photo. But there are ways to go around technical limitations, like people were, are, and will always be doing (and there will ​always ​be technical limitations)

Sports at night you said?

Some years ago I took photos at a local volleyball game. The lighting was atrocious. With me I had a D40, a 55-200mm, and a MF 50mm f/2. I noticed f/5.6 @200mm and ISO 1600 could give me about 1/125. I got some quite good shots with it. Then I tried the MF f/2 - how I went around the limitations of MF? I pre-focused on the net, where all the action is anyway. I got some pretty good ones with that one as well.

If I had to make money out of that, I would've gotten a 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom. Doing the math, I could get 1/500 @ ISO 1600 with f/2.8.

The perception that someone ​needs ​ISO 6400 in a consistent basis is because people think they ​need ​f/8 "to increase DOF", and they ​need ​"1/800 [heck, why stop there, make it 1/1250] to freeze motion"

Sorry to repeat myself (or actually Thom Hogan), but he's totally right on the money on this one:
"Do you really need more than 12mp? More than 8 fps? More than ISO 3200? More than nine or ten stops of dynamic range? Certainly I never turn down more when offered it, but to justify paying for more gets tougher and tougher. And to pay for these gains in small increments is even tougher to justify. "

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panos_m Senior Member • Posts: 1,466
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

Draek wrote:

tkbslc wrote:

More often it describes those that think that their way is the only way and any who behave differently are "idiots."

My point exactly. When people can't let go of the notion they "need" a shutter speed of 1/500 to get a decent photograph is that we get this foolish notion that ISO6400 is an absolute necessity for regular photography. Like the guy who claimed a need for ISO400 in broad daylight and said ISO100 was only appropiate for "static" subjects, being stuck in a certain mindset allows some people to arrive at the craziest conclusions.

Facts are, most people lived for decades without ISO6400, in fact they seldom strayed from ISO400, and still managed to create a sizeable work of art and documentary that stays with us to this day. You're welcome to enjoy the capabilities of your current equipment when you get access to them, but to call them a necessity---or 14 stops' worth of DR, or ultra-fast AF, 3k lines of vertical resolution or anything of the sort---is where I think you start getting into "pretentious tool" territory, with the oft-held belief that your work is somehow more unique, important and difficult to achieve than everything that came before it and deal with the lack of your pet peeve just fine.

Then again, this website has its fame for a reason.

I am honestly curious. Where do you want imaging technology to stop? At what specs?

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Panagiotis

Hennie de Ruyter
Hennie de Ruyter Contributing Member • Posts: 785
Re: School consert

Draek wrote:

Hennie de Ruyter wrote:

By the time I can afford the correct lens to do stage photography at ISO100 my children would have grown up and the moment lost! My parents have no pictures of me on stage as a child, could it be that the perfect world of film also had it's drawbacks? Just maybe?

Or that people back then were more hostile to the sound of a mirror going up and down during a stage performance. These days you can shine a light into other people's eyes with your smartphone or tablet, and absolutely nobody seems to mind.

One of these days I'm going to a classical concert with an SLR and an external flash, to see if *that* gets me kicked out of the theater. That annoying lady and her iPad certainly didn't.

Some of us cannot afford F1.4 lenses. If it bother folks here I can always furnish my bank details

Professional f/1.4 lenses sure, but consumer-end f/1.8 or f/2 lenses are cheap enough, if you couldn't afford them, you most likely shouldn't have been able to afford your camera to begin with; particularly one with what's considered "decent" performance at ISO6400.

I used my 70-300 Nikon lens. They use much bigger speakers nowadays at school

Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,816
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400 ?

Adventsam wrote:

Do you think you will get quality images at iso6400 with any system, ever? they may be ok but useful for what exactly?

Face it, Sam ... Read Noise can indeed be a beautiful aesthetic. I myself love my GH2's Read Noise. I reminds me of inspirational stained-glass windows in a grand cathedral of column-ADC technology:

.

On the other hand, the E-M5's Read Noise rather reminds me of peering at seething, squirming bacterial cultures in a Petri dish through an out of focus microscope using my bum right eye:

E-M5 Read Noise (at SNR~12dB) is slightly higher than the GH2's. Oh well, to each their own ! ...

DigitalPhilosopher
DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

panos_m wrote:

I am honestly curious. Where do you want imaging technology to stop? At what specs?

Technology isn't about improving a few numbers here and there. It's about re-inventing. Instead of a sensor that can give me ISO 6400 with image quality that is xx% worse than base ISO, I'd prefer a sensor that can give me the exact same quality at ISO 50 through 800

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Hennie de Ruyter
Hennie de Ruyter Contributing Member • Posts: 785
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?
1

panos_m wrote:

Draek wrote:

tkbslc wrote:

More often it describes those that think that their way is the only way and any who behave differently are "idiots."

My point exactly. When people can't let go of the notion they "need" a shutter speed of 1/500 to get a decent photograph is that we get this foolish notion that ISO6400 is an absolute necessity for regular photography. Like the guy who claimed a need for ISO400 in broad daylight and said ISO100 was only appropiate for "static" subjects, being stuck in a certain mindset allows some people to arrive at the craziest conclusions.

Facts are, most people lived for decades without ISO6400, in fact they seldom strayed from ISO400, and still managed to create a sizeable work of art and documentary that stays with us to this day. You're welcome to enjoy the capabilities of your current equipment when you get access to them, but to call them a necessity---or 14 stops' worth of DR, or ultra-fast AF, 3k lines of vertical resolution or anything of the sort---is where I think you start getting into "pretentious tool" territory, with the oft-held belief that your work is somehow more unique, important and difficult to achieve than everything that came before it and deal with the lack of your pet peeve just fine.

Then again, this website has its fame for a reason.

I am honestly curious. Where do you want imaging technology to stop? At what specs?

I fully agree. 640K is all we will ever need.

Doug J Veteran Member • Posts: 9,878
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?
1

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

RedFox88 wrote:

So if someone only photographs sports at night under lights he is a bad photographer? Really now... It's about what light you are photographing and has nothing to do with the skill of the photographer!!

At least I never worry about limitations of my equipment; I do try to correct limitations of my technique though. And I've been learning every time I take a photo. But there are ways to go around technical limitations, like people were, are, and will always be doing (and there will ​always ​be technical limitations)

Sports at night you said?

Some years ago I took photos at a local volleyball game. The lighting was atrocious. With me I had a D40, a 55-200mm, and a MF 50mm f/2. I noticed f/5.6 @200mm and ISO 1600 could give me about 1/125. I got some quite good shots with it. Then I tried the MF f/2 - how I went around the limitations of MF? I pre-focused on the net, where all the action is anyway. I got some pretty good ones with that one as well.

If I had to make money out of that, I would've gotten a 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom. Doing the math, I could get 1/500 @ ISO 1600 with f/2.8.

The perception that someone ​needs ​ISO 6400 in a consistent basis is because people think they ​need ​f/8 "to increase DOF", and they ​need ​"1/800 [heck, why stop there, make it 1/1250] to freeze motion"

Sorry to repeat myself (or actually Thom Hogan), but he's totally right on the money on this one:
"Do you really need more than 12mp? More than 8 fps? More than ISO 3200? More than nine or ten stops of dynamic range? Certainly I never turn down more when offered it, but to justify paying for more gets tougher and tougher. And to pay for these gains in small increments is even tougher to justify. "

Depending on where, when and how I shoot, a max of ISO 1600 does well for walk around, landscape, etc. stuff. However, shooting birds around dawn or dusk, and up into canopies during daylight requires high ISO, under these conditions I routinely shoot at 1600 and would like higher, noise-free ISO capability. My primary birding lens is an 800/5.6, so a wider aperture & shooting with a higher aperture is not a consideration.

It's interesting that photography is very varied, and general comments on what photogs need, do not necessarily apply to all.

mike703 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,702
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?
1

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

Sorry to repeat myself (or actually Thom Hogan), but he's totally right on the money on this one:
"Do you really need more than 12mp? More than 8 fps? More than ISO 3200? More than nine or ten stops of dynamic range? Certainly I never turn down more when offered it, but to justify paying for more gets tougher and tougher. And to pay for these gains in small increments is even tougher to justify. "

Who pays extra nowadays?  It's difficult to avoid these features when even entry-level cameras come with them.  For a few hundred $ now you can get DSLRs that have 24MP sensors capable of producing good-quality images at ISO6400 and with >12 stops of DR.  We no longer have to pay a premium for these features.  I wouldn't pay a lot extra to have a 20MP sensor compared to 14MP, or 14 stops of DR rather than 13.  But my Pentax K-01 cost £219 - less than many compacts - and (according to DxO Mark) has low-light performance comparable to some Canon full frame cameras a couple of years ago and an order of magnitude more expensive.  It's nice to have the capacity to shoot at ISO6400; I never mussed it when I didn't have it, but now that it is there I can take pictures that I wouldn't have been able to before (I've posted an example further down the thread).  I really don't get why this is such a big deal.

Best wishes

panos_m Senior Member • Posts: 1,466
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

panos_m wrote:

I am honestly curious. Where do you want imaging technology to stop? At what specs?

Technology isn't about improving a few numbers here and there. It's about re-inventing. Instead of a sensor that can give me ISO 6400 with image quality that is xx% worse than base ISO, I'd prefer a sensor that can give me the exact same quality at ISO 50 through 800

I cannot understand your comment. For example it is impossible for a sensor to have the exact same image quality at 50 and 800 iso setting because iso 50 will always have potentially 4 stops more DR relative to iso 800. If by IQ you mean only noise then a sensor that can produce noise free iso 800 it will have excellent iso 6400 and this is, by your definition, improvement of a few numbers here and there.

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Panagiotis

DigitalPhilosopher
DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

panos_m wrote:

For example it is impossible for a sensor to have the exact same image quality at 50 and 800 iso setting

That's my point exactly. It is impossible, the same way a digital SLR would've been considered impossible in 1950

That's what I mean by re-inventing. Coming up with new technologies, coming up with new ways of creating photographic devices. The megapixel and the ISO race is ​not ​technological innovation any more than having a computer with 8GB RAM instead of 512kb

EDIT 1:I know what you'll say, that 8GB lets you do stuff 512kb doesn't. Well, my Photoshop CS2 lets me do all the stuff I need with my Photography, and it doesn't require 8GB to run. It's a witch's circle, a catch-22. The more RAM available, the more RAM programs require to run, and the more RAM programs require to run, the more RAM has to become available...

EDIT 2: Like someone said, would 600.000-something ISO be enough? Or will we suddenly discover we need 1 million?

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dosdan Contributing Member • Posts: 534
Re: This is

mike703 wrote:

I do shoot RAW - so what you suggest makes perfect sense and I will try it.

The $64 question is: "What camera are you using?"

Dan.

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dosdan Contributing Member • Posts: 534
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

I'd prefer a sensor that can give me the exact same quality at ISO 50 through 800

That will be hard. Assuming that you are constrained in your choice of shutter speed and f-number, the usual reason for varying form ISO50 up to ISO800, is due to reduced scene luminance. Let's assume that the histogram for both the ISO50 & ISO8000 shots looks the same. That means that the ISO shot, the shot with 16x the gain of the ISO50 shot, must have achieved an exposure 1/16th of the ISO50 shot i.e. 1/16th of the total photons fell on the sensor during the exposure period. Then you applied 16x gain to produce the same rendered brightness level.  Since shot noise is proportional to the sq-root of the number of photons, that means, relatively speaking, that the shot noise SNR is 4x worse in the ISO800 shot.

So please explain how an expose that has a 4x worse shot noise SNR ( a fact of life due to the quantum nature of light) can have the same "quality" as a ISO50 image with a 4x better shot noise SNR?

Dan.

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DigitalPhilosopher
DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

dosdan wrote:

So please explain how an expose that has a 4x worse shot noise SNR ( a fact of life due to the quantum nature of light) can have the same "quality" as a ISO50 image with a 4x better shot noise SNR?

Check my reply to Panos_m above, thanks

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dosdan Contributing Member • Posts: 534
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

dosdan wrote:

So please explain how an expose that has a 4x worse shot noise SNR ( a fact of life due to the quantum nature of light) can have the same "quality" as a ISO50 image with a 4x better shot noise SNR?

Check my reply to Panos_m above, thanks

Your reply does not explain how you are going to defy the laws of physics.

Dan.

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DigitalPhilosopher
DigitalPhilosopher Contributing Member • Posts: 999
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400?

dosdan wrote:

Your reply does not explain how you are going to defy the laws of physics.

Dan.

I am not a physicist (apparently you are?), and this was an example I came up with - I am not in a position to say if it is feasible or not (although, as a philosopher by education, I'm usually ​very ​cautious before I say something ​can't​ happen). In any case, my point was that to increase a number (whether it's MP, ISO, watts - 80s Hi-Fi race - automobile speed, etc.) is ​not ​true innovation.

True innovation is to find a way for a camera to do the focusing for you; to come up with a digital sensor that can replace film in a camera; to come up with a system that "magically" reduces holding-induced vibration in lenses

About that latter one, I'm sure VR-IX (are we on VRIII now, I've lost count) will be most welcome. To shoot hand-held a 500mm lens at shutter speed of 1/2 is surely a benefit. But a) to claim that "it couldn't be done without it" is nonsense; b) The original VR was the true engineering innovation. The rest are mere tweakings

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mike703 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,702
Re: This is

Pentax K-01, which has the same sensor as the K-30: it is a 12-bit version of the 14-bit Sony sensor used in the K5 series and the Nikon D7000 (amongst others).

Best wishes

Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,816
Re: What is this fascination with iso6400 ?

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

dosdan wrote:

Your reply does not explain how you are going to defy the laws of physics.

I am not a physicist (apparently you are?), ...

If a camera was able to provide the same Dynamic Range and Signal/Noise Ratio over a scalar range of 16 ("ISO=50 to ISO=800"), then there would exist no seemingly sensible purpose for the cameras to even offer a setting below ISO=800. What user would not choose to use a 16 times higher Shutter Speed for the same Scene Illumination and lens-sytem F-Number (if) the DR and SNR are constant ?

The motivation to choose lower ISO settings is entirely based upon the fact that such systems offer higher Dynamic Range (higher maximum image-sensor illumination levels) at lower scaling levels ...

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