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  1. #1
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    A practice of silliness.

    I've noticed that people frequently place a huge emphasis on high ISO performance on DSLR's, then these same people pair their camera up with a f/3.5-5.6 or other slow lens.

    Something counterproductive there, sort of missing a piece of the equation. I wonder how many people base their purchase decisions on high ISO performance, then keep a slow lens attached to their camera.

    It is frustrating to see people fall into this error of judgment. I also don't know why I care, but it just irks me. Anybody else share this frustration?

  2. #2
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol
    ...Anybody else share this frustration?
    You mean people biting the marketing bait? It doesn't bother me what other people do. Most of the time, I find it amusing. Kinda like the whole megapixel thing, software upgrades, computer processors, and operating systems.

    In terms of noise, most of my lenses are pretty slow (f/4's, a 3.5, and couple 2.8's being my mains). Even if I owned some f/1.2 lenses, I doubt I would shoot them wide open that often.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Yeah, but a max aperture of 5.6 is pretty dang slow, at 50mm. For $100, you could have something 3+ stops faster. There is the difference between 3200 and 400 right there. Thats a bigger difference than any nitpicking pixel peeping of high iso grain could ever account for.

  4. #4
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    The thing I find strange about the quest for High ISO is that the IQ at the low/best ISO is ignored. I realize that each person has their own way and subjects, but if I don't have enough light to shoot at optimum ISO, I find a way to get it or go shoot something else. Terry
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    I think the reason I care is that the overall trend has an impact on popular photography culture. I think this pointless chase of ultimate high ISO grain is not properly prioritized in our market culture. Not that clean grain at high ISO is a bad thing.

    Terry, that is exactly why I think its bad for photo culture. It is almost as if we have forgotten that low ISO is more important and more common than high ISO.

  6. #6
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    It doesn't bother me what other people do. Most of the time, I find it amusing.

    Bingo! I also find it very amusing to see someone with top of the line gear, but with no clue how to use it. It makes me chuckle when I see someone with a brand new 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and no idea how to adjust the settings on their camera. Just put it on the green box and start shooting.

    Does that make me a snob?
    Mike

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Haha, I asked myself the same thing. The answer, I'm afraid, is yes. But the good thing is I don't think its because we are pompous, we just love the craft. At least, that is what I will tell myself.

  8. #8
    Durp
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol
    Haha, I asked myself the same thing. The answer, I'm afraid, is yes. But the good thing is I don't think its because we are pompous, we just love the craft. At least, that is what I will tell myself.
    Lol, I think it's pompous and loving the craft. But thats part being in the know of something.

    When I learned to shoot in manual, I felt like the coolest kid on the block.
    Then my friends said, "What's manual"?

    -insert my smug smirk here-

  9. #9
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol
    Yeah, but a max aperture of 5.6 is pretty dang slow, at 50mm. For $100, you could have something 3+ stops faster. There is the difference between 3200 and 400 right there. Thats a bigger difference than any nitpicking pixel peeping of high iso grain could ever account for.
    That's assuming that a 50mm is going to fit the bill. Some people won't have access to inexpensive fast options in the required focal lengths.
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  10. #10
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldClicker
    The thing I find strange about the quest for High ISO is that the IQ at the low/best ISO is ignored. I realize that each person has their own way and subjects, but if I don't have enough light to shoot at optimum ISO, I find a way to get it or go shoot something else. – Terry
    I never thought about it that way. The driving assumption is that each successive generation is going to improve/expand on the IQ of the lower range. I never heard of a successor camera within the same line that went backwards in this regard.

    But you're right about low ISO performance when comparing between different brands. I think a lot of people take advantage of online pixel peeping comparisons though to know how both the low and high ISOs will perform with any given camera.

    Some subjects like sports and wildlife are "as-is where-is" and often during less than ideal lighting conditions. I think having a well performing HIGH ISO camera is a HUGE benefit.
    Please do not edit or repost my images.

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  11. #11
    Spamminator Grandpaw's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    I guess I am one of the dummies that likes the higher ISO capabilities. I can spend a little more on my camera and get better ISO abilities that lets me use all of my lenses or I could spend a few thousand on each of the lenses for a much higher total which I cannot afford. Being on a limited budget I need to get the most bang for the buck that I can get. I have decided from now on to stand on a box so all my fellow photographers won't have to look down on me. On second though I think I am tall enough that I just won't worry about it. LOL Jeff
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  12. #12
    n8
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    That's assuming that a 50mm is going to fit the bill. Some people won't have access to inexpensive fast options in the required focal lengths.
    This.
    I'm one of those guys I suppose. The increase iso range was a big selling point when I started looking at the d7000, and it was nice to have on my d90 as well. I was happy to see that it was extended in both directions though, and use it at 100 as much as I can, but lets say I just happen to need more light then whatever lens I have on at the moment, or I'm sans tripod with my macro and need to compensate for the need for a higher f-stop for greater dof...a usable iso of 6400 very much comes in handy at times even on my 60mm 2.8. I've got some short glass that's fast, but if I've got my 18-200, that option comes in handy once again. Once I can save $2500 for my 17-55 and 80-200 it will be a different story.
    I am probably on the younger end of the forum's demographic at 31, so I'm a bit more of a tech junkie then some of the older folks that are much more rooted in film, so I think it's only natural that the technology is part of my photography experience. I have to say though too, the options I have now are much nicer then making sure I have the right speed film or having to push it in development after the shoot.
    mostly Nikon gear

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  13. #13
    Snap Happy CaraRose's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    As someone who's hit an ISO wall, I got to stand up for people looking at higher ISO performance. The XSi has great quality at 100 and 200, mediocre at 400, lousy at 800, and is useless at 1600.

    I've rented the newer cameras I could care less that it shoots 6400, but the fact that I can get usable quality at 1000-1600 is a big deal (the main price for this is I've noticed is the quality is less at 100 than with my XSi, but not enough to bother me)

    I'm a wildlife shooter. My primary lens is a 300mm f/4. I'd love to be able to own a 300mm 2.8, but I don't have the $4000 that costs. However I'll probably be able to pull off the $900 to get a camera with a higher ISO performance.

    And trust me, I loath to move that ISO dial. I only move it when I have to. If I can shoot at 100, I'm going to.
    --Cara

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  14. #14
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Woah - I'm not saying "high iso doesn't matter'. But, to make it the primary priority in a camera purchase, then use only slow lens - this is the silliness I am talking about.

    I dont know if you guys are just playing devils advocate or something, because I'm sure you've all seen the beginners that praise and worship high iso grain, spend a grand or two on a camera body, and then use a kit lens for their multi-purpose all-in-one.

    But eh, I guess I'm being a snob anyway, haha.

  15. #15
    n8
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    As an amateur, I think fast...i.e. expensive glass is intimidating, and less attainable then say a new body with all new and improved bells and whistles. I know it's taken me some time, and a lot of reading here to learn about what really matters.
    mostly Nikon gear

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  16. #16
    Senior Member armando_m's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    I'll just love to try say the D7000 with the 35mm f1.8 and see how dark can it get before I need a tripod

  17. #17
    Nikonowhore zerodog's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    I am lusting after the new Nikon 24-120 f4 and the 28-300 to use on my D3s.

  18. #18
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    I think the biggest thing that gets me is the people who don't take the time to really learn the art and the workings of their equipment. Sometimes a higher iso is needed and helpful...great. Why? The people that can't say why imo need to do some reading, take a class and/or practice to find out why. I know as I learn more about proper technique it makes me enjoy photography more.

  19. #19
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    I don't see the problem.

    If you can get acceptable image quality with high ISO then why not use it with a slow lens?
    Why burden yourself with a set of big, expensive f2.8 constant zooms or a set of prime lenses if a slow zoom will do the job? Better even - no risk of missing a shot while changing lenses if you have a 18-200 or 28-300

    BTW Zerodog - a friend of mine swapped the 24-70 f2.8 + 70-300 that he had on his D3S for the 28-300. Now he's happy - except that he wishes he'd kept his D700 because the D3S is too big. But he's a gear-head anyway.
    Charles

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  20. #20
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    Well, I wasn't trying to start an argument. I also didn't mean to say that good image grain at high ISO is a bad thing, or that everybody that likes high ISO is stupid, or fill-in-the-blank.

    Cara - I could certainly see how that makes sense with a 300mm f/4. Yeah, the f/2.8 isn't cheap, neither is the 600mm f/4. Anyway, I definitely see where you are coming from.

  21. #21
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    No argument. It's even part of knowing your gear.

    I went through this today. I was at an indoor event (French Agriculture trade show). I go there every year, eat well (most important thing first) then shoot - portraits of the animals.

    I set the camera at 3200 ISO - I know that the D300 will produce very good results at this ISO.

    - I started out with the 35mm f1.8 prime and found I was getting exposures of 1/60 f4 - 1/125s f5.6. Certainly no shortage of light and the depth-of-field was enough to cover all the animals face (I'm not a fan of shooting portraits at f1.8).
    - After a while I switched to more general subjects. With the "normal" view of the 35mm I had to step back from the subject and PEOPLE KEPT WALKING IN FRONT OF ME agh. I needed a wide-angle and a tele view. I switched to the 16-85 f3.5-5.6. There was enough light for the lens at wide-angle and at the tele end the VR image stabiliser prevented camera shake.

    For today's shoot high ISO and a "standard" zoom were a good solution.

    Next month I have two stage performances to shoot. That means movement therefore high shutter speed (1/250s) therefore exit the standard zoom even with high ISO and VR. I shall be taking F1.8 primes (best) or f2.8 constant zooms.
    Charles

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    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  22. #22
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    I'm considering upgrading to get better high ISO performance.
    It's great having f/2.8 lenses but the weight when flying is a problem, as is the bulk.
    No way would I put a 300mm f/2.8 in the hold baggage, or the 24-70 or 70-200.
    That means hand luggage is nothing but kit

    Going to smaller, lighter, slower lenses means I need bodies that will give me better high ISO performance as I make the 2 stops difference up with higher ISO - and I get some of my carry-on space back

    So I would be trading size & weight for lighter carry-on kit, and ISO for f/ stops.
    I suppose the difference is I know what I'm doing, and why.
    And if I was starting out today, if I had no need for the smaller DoF of the wider faster lenses, then I could also save a lot of money on the lenses, too.

    I'd also get more use out of my 100-400L which is lightweight but needs to be stopped down to about f/8 to get the image quality I expect from an L lens (reduces vignetting).
    PAul

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  23. #23
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    I find the autofocus works better with an f2.8 lens. With a lens only opening to f5.6 (example the 18-200 at longest focal length) it's a little hesitant. Perhaps this is why manufacturers are introducing more f4 constant lenses.

    It doesn't usually matter to me but then I'm not shooting racing cars.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    On my Sony A700, the center AF cross also has an f/2.8 sensor AF mode (uses a wider spread for the two phase detect light beams). This makes a huge difference but, obviously, needs an f/2.8 lens. - TF
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  25. #25
    Nikonowhore zerodog's Avatar
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    Re: A practice of silliness.

    I have all Nikon 2.8 lenses. I find they focus faster and hunt less. The color and contrast on them is excellent as well. But the drawback for some things I shoot is the range. They are not perfect for shooting a fight with 1 body. So that means I have to use 2 bodies. That is the attraction to those 2 lenses for me.

    High ISO? I think I have shoot my D3s more at 10,000 and 12,800 than any other setting. I can run over 1/1000 in a gym or auditorium setting and get off the floor of 2.8 and have some more DOF. When you have 2 or more main subjects some DOF is a good thing. And I do not need a flash. It is pretty cool to make things look better than they really are in these situations using just available light. High ISO is awesome. What I think is silly is when I read about people trying to stay at low ISO on these high end bodies. Doing everything possible to keep the ISO low. Even at the cost of shutter speed. Shutter speed is king for stopping motion, or giving you the blur you want to have. ISO lets you pick the shutter speed you need. Instead of letting the ISO hold you back. Another plus is if you are not using a flash you get the full burst speed of your camera. For action this is a great thing.

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