When to Raise the ISO for Sharp Photos with Moving Subjects

How many times have we heard that we need to shoot at the lowest ISO possible to get the best image? Well, photographer Bryan Peterson doesn’t always agree. In fact, he may never agree. In the video below he shows how and why:

In the video above, the wind was giving enough motion to the web and spider as to warrant a low ISO shot somewhat blurry. Sure, it had next to no noise, but what’s the point if you can’t get the spider sharp? The solution? A higher ISO.

A higher ISO—especially a substantially higher ISO—increases your shutter speed dramatically. Here, Peterson went from an 1/8 of a second at an ISO of 50 to 1/200 of a second at an ISO of 1600. That’s quite a difference! And, contrary to popular belief, the noise difference wasn’t particularly noticeable.

And let’s face it, it’s generally a lot easier to edit out a wee bit of noise in post-processing than it is to try to make something sharp that came out soft and blurry.

Shooting with a high ISO

ISO 1600

Now granted, Peterson was using a Nikon D800, a camera well known for working well in low light conditions (i.e. high ISO), but that doesn’t change the fact the most photographers still get the shivers when they contemplate bumping up the ISO above 800.

What do you think? Can digital photographers finally let go of the fear that increasing ISO is going to increase noise? Do we need to just get over it? You decide.

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