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Thread: High ISO advise

  1. #1
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    High ISO advise

    OK, a week ago I went by the beach, it was cloudy and rainy so I could not get much light. I was using my 7D in Aperture mode with Automatic WB and ISO. No matter what I set my Aperture to I would have an ISO of 3200. Tried using Shutter Speed mode with the same results. Adjusted the exposure settings a bit but still did not help. All my photos came out VERY noisy. I know I generally get good pics if I can stay under 800 ISO with my 7D, but in these circumstances the only way I could get enough light for an image was at 3200.

    Any suggestions on how to capture an image with these conditions at a lower ISO? These were all the tricks I know of and I tried them all.
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    1. Add flash 2. Try manual mode and underexpose just a little 3. Use a tripod and slower shutter speeds for landscapes The 7D being a crop sensor with small pixels is a good camera but is not known for it's high ISO prowess so if you find yourself needing that advantage quite often you may need to ultimately consider a full frame sensor camera such as 6D, 5DIII, 1DX.....they handle ISO 3200 easily but are painful to the pocket book.
    Last edited by Joel Eade; 12-09-2013 at 02:09 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jayson's Avatar
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    What were you attempting to take pictures of? What lens were you using? I only ask this as it would help with the suggestions.

    I am assuming your taking landscape photos and in that case, you don't need fast shutter speeds and should be using a tripod. The other guys hit the nail on the head, shoot in M mode and take your camera off Auto ISO. When in AV, your camera will always attempt to get your shutter speed to match the focal length of your lens. i.e. if your using a 200mm lens, your camera will always try to make your shutter speed 1/200th. To do this, it will take the AV your have set and bump your ISO as high as it can to get the shutter speed up to that number.

    I know that 7D can get kind of noisy, but it does clean up pretty well in post processing and if your not printing your pictures over an 8x10, then a little noise will be okay. I shoot a 7D and am not afraid to use ISO3200 when I know I'm not going to be printing large.

  4. #4
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    All of the above, or if you really like Auto ISO, then set the ISO limit in Auto to 800 or 640 to prevent it from going to high. This can be done in the menu settings.

    Personally I stay away from Auto-ISO because I do not like the camera forcing me into an exposure. It is difficult to to compensate your exposure to anything but what the camera thinks is the correct exposure, and there are plenty of times when the nominal camera reading needs to be compensated one way or the other (e.g., snow, sunset/sunrises/ back lite subjects, etc.).

    To answer your question more directly - "Any suggestions on how to capture an image with these conditions at a lower ISO?" As already stated, you need to get your exposure in a different way. There are three things you can adjust... Tv, Av, and ISO.

    1. Your ISO is limited by your cameras capabilities to under 800 - so set that to 640
    2. Your Av is limited to the capability of your lens and the DOF you want to achieve. If you are only worried about the focus at infinity, then you can open your aperture as much as possible. However, for a landscape, you are more likely wanting the foreground in focus as well. There two ways to achieve that:
      • set your aperture to f/8 - f/18 (dependent on the lens) to get good DOF.
      • or set your aperture as open as posible and then look up what the Hyper Focal Distance is. Then focus at the hyper focal distance and frame the shot so everything closer is below the framed shot.

    3. Now you are left with the Tv. You have now maxed out ISO and Av... start moving your shutter speed down until you get the metered value you want. If it is to low, then you need to make a decision of:
      • Loss DOF and go wide open on Av... still may not get you there,
      • Live with an under exposed shot,
      • or Reduce the Tv and put the camera on a tripod. This option gets my vote, because magical things happen with long exposures on a tripod.


    The other thing to look at to reduce shutter speed is to remove polarizing filters and GND's (since it was over cast you probably did not need GND's).

    Hope that was helpful.

    Pat
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    You have good advice so far.

    We really need to know what you are trying to shoot to give you the best suggestion.

    I first assumed you were trying to shoot action shots and my suggestion below only applies to action. Low light is always a problem. What I suggest is this;

    You know your maximum ISO is 800 and you are in low light. Set your ISO manually at 800 and take it out of Auto. Use manual mode and set your aperture as close to wide open as you feel comfortable with. (this is why we pay a premium for the lenses with the widest apertures). This leaves shutter speed to adjust, you would be at your limit with ISO and Aperture. The question now is can you get enough shutter speed to make a proper exposure.

    Still not enough shutter speed? Then you have some options. As Joel mentioned you can buy a camera that handles higher ISO’s better. You can buy a faster lens with a wider aperture. The cheapest option is to make sure you are using a Noise Reduction software that is effective (personally I have been using Lightroom 4 and it will gain a stop or two in PP over no software)
    Last edited by HDNitehawk; 12-09-2013 at 03:23 PM.

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    The 7D will handle ISO 3200 ok *if* you expose to the right a bit and use a decent noise reduction app, but there comes a point where you simply run out of headroom to expose to the right (ETTR). If setting +2/3EV to ETTR means your shutter speed is way too low, then you're out of luck. Tripod time.
    Mark - Flickr
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    OK, Oops forgot to mention. I was trying to capture Birds in Flight (Pelicans) with a Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS Lens (Not "L" & mostly at 300mm). I'd love to go Full Frame but as a hobby the minimum 6D even on sale at $1800 is more than I can justify for a hobby unless I hit the Power Ball . I have decided I need to learn how to use what I have, I know the 7D has its limitations but I have seen other photographers do much better than I do in low light with less quality equipment.

    I like the Auto ISO as then I only need to worry about aperture & shutter. I have set the maximum at 3200 - perhaps setting to 1600, 800, 640, or lower will force the slower shutter speed, but then a bird in flight is a challenge as it almost requires hand held at the same time. Perhaps I am just frustrating myself by the limitations I have set with my equipment, but I really enjoy getting birds in-flight, and do well in good daylight (I love the 7D for fps and AF) - its only when the conditions don't provide the light I need is when I get stuck.

    Thanks for the advice so far excellent.
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    OK, While I was writing that, I do shoot in Raw and do use Lightroom 5. The problem is I still need to learn Lightroom a bit better as well. I will try the above mentioned ideas. Perhaps I can get away with an ISO of 1600 and/or overexposure and still get away with adjustments in Lightroom. I have a lot to learn LOL. Either way I see I am pushing the limits of the equipment.
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  9. #9
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    That is the problem with wildlife. It takes so much light to capture the image at some point in the afternoon you do not have enough light.
    That is why I suggested setting the maximum for aperture and ISO. When you can no longer get enough shutter speed you have reached the limits of your equipment.
    I wasn’t sure the 7D allowed you to set the limits on the Auto ISO. If it does then just set your maximum. I would also suggest good noise software, I say this because I was comfortable using the 7D to an ISO of 1600 back when I was using it and you had mentioned 800 as your limit.


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumens View Post
    OK, Oops forgot to mention. I was trying to capture Birds in Flight (Pelicans) with a Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS Lens (Not "L" & mostly at 300mm). I'd love to go Full Frame but as a hobby the minimum 6D even on sale at $1800 is more than I can justify for a hobby unless I hit the Power Ball . I have decided I need to learn how to use what I have, I know the 7D has its limitations but I have seen other photographers do much better than I do in low light with less quality equipment.

    I like the Auto ISO as then I only need to worry about aperture & shutter. I have set the maximum at 3200 - perhaps setting to 1600, 800, 640, or lower will force the slower shutter speed, but then a bird in flight is a challenge as it almost requires hand held at the same time. Perhaps I am just frustrating myself by the limitations I have set with my equipment, but I really enjoy getting birds in-flight, and do well in good daylight (I love the 7D for fps and AF) - its only when the conditions don't provide the light I need is when I get stuck.

    Thanks for the advice so far excellent.
    In reality, no matter what equipment you have, some days just aren't made for getting good images of birds. Severe overcast and rain will be very tough no matter what you have. On those days get out your wide angle and tripod for some slow shutter speed landscape work. You can make some lovely images with long shutter speeds and blurred water You just have to take what mother nature gives you and wait for good light to go after the birds.

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