Many students know that high ISO will bring high noise. If the camera itself is not good at removing noise or the sensor is too small (like DC, APS-C type). ISO noise will become more pronounced, so is it “bad to use a high ISO” and avoid it all times? Of course not! Let’s take a look at 4 situations that can make good use of high sensitivity!

(1) When You Want to Freeze a Fast Motion

When shooting sports, cars, pets, and birds, the target object may move very fast. Even with a large aperture lens, the ambient light may not allow you to use a high-speed shutter. Increasing the ISO can also keep your aperture from being maximized. This will not only maintain a certain depth of field, but also improve the quality of your photos.

▼ Using ISO 800 can raise the shutter to 1/5000s to shoot birds in flight.

▼ Use ISO 400 with f/5.6 aperture, shutter 1/640s to shoot racecars

(2) Taking Photos of Stars

When shooting at night, many students think when using a tripod the aperture can be closed down, ISO set to the minimum, and the shutter left open for exposure. This is certainly possible when taking still photos, but when shooting a starry sky, if the shutter is opened longer, it will take a star trail instead of a starry sky! Therefore, shutter speed cannot be set too long. At this time, not only a large-aperture lens needs to be used, but also ISO has to be increased. Sometimes ISO3200 can be used to make the starry sky more prominent!

You can refer to this and this article for the methods of shooting the starry sky.

▼ Use ISO 6400

(3) When Shooting in a Dark Environment

Under dark environments, you should take a hand-held shot. If you don’t want to take photos that are blurred by hand-shake, the shutter is better than “safe shutter” (except for anti-shake function). Increasing ISO is a very effective way to maintain the depth of field. At this time, not using a digital camera can improve the ISO function!

▼ Use ISO 1600

▼ Use ISO 3200

(4) When using a Telephoto Lens

If you have read this article about essential lens application series-Telephoto Lens Shooting Tips, you will know that when using a telephoto lens in hand, your shutter must be fast enough to keep the photo sharp, raising ISO can Effectively increase the sensitivity, and make the shutter faster when maintaining aperture. When using a telephoto lens, use ISO800, 1600+

▼ Use ISO 500 with 200mm lens

▼ Use ISO 1250 with 300mm lens

Does High ISO Produce High Noise?

Generally speaking, when using a high ISO in a dark environment, the noise will be more prominent. But under sufficient light conditions, using high ISO will not produce noise like in a dark environment.


Author: Alex Tam