Exercise: Higher and Lower Sensitivity

For the first part of the exercise take similar shots at both normal and high sensitivity.

Choose a subject that is marginal, a mixture of light level and subject movement is only just possible.

I decided to undertake this exercise at the Manchester Pride parade as it featured a combination of different lighting conditions as well as a lot of movement. I’d previously taken images with my older 350d camera at previous year’s events and I was aware that this was very noisy at ISO levels over ISO 400 and that it wasn’t as fast in some situations as I needed it to be. My 7d handles higher ISOs quite well and I found that it was more able to cope with this and while there was noise on the higher ISO images, it was a marked improvement over my previous camera.

With the light conditions on the day- showers, clouds and some patches of sun, the higher ISO was needed to capture the movement of the people in the parade as with ISO 100, I found that the movement was blurred and not frozen where ISO 400 and above did this. I’d prefer to get the image I wanted as opposed to being concerned with noise as the newer cameras are more capable of this.

I enlarged one image of higher and lower sensitivity to 100% and as seen here, I found noise to be more evident in the darker areas, when I enlarged an area that was not particularly light or dark, a stone wall, I found that I couldn’t see any noise in this compared to the other images. While I have experience of using film, I hadn’t experienced graininess due to only printing small size images, however I’ve been trialling a new piece of software that adds film grain, and when I’ve tried that on my digital images, I’ve been surprised by how obvious some replicated film grain can be. I don’t tend to be overly concerned about it now, as if the image is right, the noise won’t detract from it and in some cases, it might even add to the image and the atmosphere being conveyed.

Lower Sensitivity ISO’s

ISO 100                                                  ISO 100

Low sensitivity 1Low sensitivity 2

ISO 100                                                 ISO 125

Low sensitivity 3Low sensitivity 4

ISO 125                                                  ISO 100

Low sensitivity 5Low sensitivity 6


Higher Sensitivity ISO’s


ISO 400                                                  ISO 800

High Sensitivity 1High Sensitivity 2

ISO 2500                                                 ISO 640

High Sensitivity 3High Sensitivity 4

ISO 400                                                   ISO 500

High Sensitivity 5High Sensitivity 6



Crop comparisons for shadowy and darker areas

High Sensitivity 100 cropLow sensitivity 100 crop


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s