Thursday, September 14, 2006

As I mentioned in the previous post, Effy's wedding gave me another opportunity to test out the high ISO performance of my Canon 20D. At both Felda halls, they always switch off the lights just when they are serving dinner. Sometimes they switch it off during the slideshows as well. So, most of the lighting near the bride & groom come from the candles and some really small lights, which is great for testing out the ISO1600 setting on my camera (I can't be bothered using ISO3200 since I'm too lazy to access the custom functions).

The pictures on the left show (from top to bottom) the original picture, converted to b&w and the 100% crop. From these pictures I find that ISO1600 is perfectly useable in situations where you need it. No way can you get film to perform this well under these kind of situations.

In this example, the pictures aren't super sharp as I was using a telephoto at 1/15s. Even with Image Stabilization (IS), there'll still be slight blurring due to hand movement and even subject movement. Without IS and high ISO, this image would not even be possible. I don't mind a bit of movement and blurring as long as it contributes to the atmosphere you're trying to create in the photograph. Or if you can't get the shot anyway else. Other than that, it's just bad technique.

As you can see, there is still some noise in the image, but for me it's perfectly acceptable for the type of photos I create. Converting to B&W makes the image even better. There have been tips such as this from Basically, it's that particular photographer's experience that overexposing the image slightly and bringing it down in post-processing will reduce the presence of noise in the image. I too find that the results are in fact quite good using this technique. However, still more testing needs to be done before I'm brave enough to actually use ISO 3200 on a lot of wedding shots like that photographer does.

I think that there are certain times where using high ISO's can create a wonderful available light atmosphere, but sometimes, flash will still be needed. I've been experimenting more with the 580EX as I find that +/- compensating on the go is easier with the dial. So maybe in another post I'll talk about 'Balancing the Light'.

By the way, below is the EXIF data for the ISO1600 shot above if anybody is interested (although I highly doubt it).


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