Friday, May 19, 2017

ISO 6400 is the new ISO 3200

I think by now I've used the A99ii on two events where the low-light capabilities were tested. On the last event, a local election night coverage,  I set it to Auto ISO but soon discovered that all the shots were in ISO 6400, so I set it manually to 6400.  You can set the maximum and minimum ISO like this:

It doesn't go in smaller increments, so over 6400 you get 12800 rather than 8000.

 The good news is that images look really great at ISO6400.
Color is nice, noise is barely noticeable. I did use some flashes this time to supplement the light coming from the window and the venue's brown lights. The lights were set to 1/16 or 1/32 so as to blend well with the ambience.

That said, as soon I went over 6400 ISO, photos were visibly degraded. Color was smudged and brownish. Also, the pixel count does not really matter at that point. I wish the camera would just decrease the number of pixels at that point, to save on disk space.
Due to compression you might not be able to tell but there is just no point for this photo to be 42.4MP. I have to admit that these photos are still usable, even though I might personally not like their quality very much. Sometimes your clients just want a documentation of what's happening.
There are some good news though. The photos would look better in high ISO if the light is between 3200K and 5600K. It will look better if the contrast is good. Also, if you left the high ISO on by mistake, as in the A99 in a lot of cases the photo will NOT be overexposed. The camera will figure out that it has enough light for the pixels and will compensate.

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