Monday, October 5, 2009
Grain or Noise
Today's digital cameras also have an ISO setting at which they are most comfortable. This is the lowest ISO setting that the camera usually handles. 50 ISO or 100 ISO are common. Set the ISO higher and you are, in effect, pushing the CCD or CMOS chip with a resulting increase in electronic noise. This looks a lot like snow on a television screen.
To give you an idea of what happens when you set your ISO too high, I shot today's picture at 1600 ISO. I like the composition but hate the noise. In situations like this, if you must push the chip do it, but only if you must. If you can wait and take the picture under brighter conditions. Wait. You will be rewarded with much cleaner, stronger, more appealing pictures.
Personally, I prefer the image noise to the harsh and almost shadowless light from the on-camera electronic flash. Generally, the only time I prefer the on-camera flash is at parties when shooting couples and groups of posing friends. At these times, we are not going for art but clean record pictures.