This is why ultra-high ISO is important in photography

Ultra high ISO with lots of noise… There’s a lot of buzz going around about the new Pentax with it’s rumoured ISO of 819200

Every comment I read says ‘what’s the point’?

Well here are two: late night framing and focus

I love taking landscape shots late at night, but that kind of photography comes with difficulties. It’s extremely hard to focus (your autofocus wont work) and sometimes you can’t even see what’s in the frame.

My solution to this is to use ultra high ISO to check your framing and focus before taking the ‘real’ shot. Here’s an example:

I was shooting a Gannet colony in New Zealand at a place called Muriwai. To capture these nesting birds in this light I needed a 60 second exposure at f/3.5, followed by a 60 second cool down time while my camera performed long shutter noise reduction. That meant 2 minutes for every image!… I’m patient but I don’t want to wait 2 minutes to find out that I don’t like the composition or I’m out of focus. So I took 2 shots:

The first, at my GX8′s maximum ISO of 25′600 at 5 seconds just to check that I liked what was in the frame and that the lens was in focus

Once I was happy with that I took the seond image at a much more reasonable ISO 1800 for 60 seconds. This has had some distortion correction and is ready to publish!

About the Author

Charles Brooks is a New Zealand photographer based in Auckland. He is internationally renowned for his commercial, portrait and landscape photos. He is particularly acclaimed for his musician portraits, and his landscapes have been featured in National Geographic and he continuously explores new locations, subjects and styles. If you would like to see more of his work, visit his website, follow him on Instagram and Twitter and like his Facebook page.

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