Exercise 2 – Higher/ Lower sensitivity.

For this exercise we were asked to find difficult lighting conditions.  I am still recovering from a bout of flu so I am confined a little at the moment. I wanted to push on though as I am familiar with much of the first 8 exercises in this module and I want to spend more time working on the last four exercises that I am not so familiar with.

I am not scared of low light ambient photography or the ‘noise’ that comes along with it.  Noise can be used creatively to create atmosphere.

Anyway. It was pouring with rain (not even the birds came out to play) and very overcast.  So  this is a pixel peeping exercise with no creative extras.  At ISO 160, all I could muster up was f8 at 1/6 of a second ( image 1 below). At this speed I could hardly get a sharp image because of camera shake even though it was mounted on a tripod.

Image 2 is a 100% crop to demonstrate the lack of ‘noise’ but instead we have low shutter speed motion blur.

Image 1.  Control image at ISO 160, 1/6 second.


Image 2.  100% crop of above image.


For the rest of the images below we can see that as the ISO increases, the motion blur decrease but the ISO noise increases.  The optimum balance for ISO and sharpness is…

Image 3. ISO 250, 1/10.  We can see motion blur but not any ISO ‘noise’


Image 4. ISO 640, 1/25. Plenty of motion blur still but no noise.


Image 5. ISO 1000, 1/40.  Less motion blur is visible because the ISO is allowing more shutter speed. It isn’t enough though. A little noise is creeping in but this would be rectifiable in edit.


Image 6. ISO 1600 1/60. This is much sharper and although more ‘noise’ is creeping in.


Image 7.  ISO 2000, 1/80.  The noise in this image and all ISO levels above take away from the clarity of the image at this 100% crop.


To conclude:

ISO 1600 at 1/60 (image 6) was the optimum in this set. However it failed to provide an ideal shutter speed to render the bird table sharp, let alone any birds. Personally I don’t think grain matters very much depending on genre and the effect required.


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