Almost Weekly Photo

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Did You See The Noise? Didn't Think So!

Street Scene, Tiquina, BoliviaFujifilm X-T2, Fujifilm Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM…

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Street Scene, Tiquina, Bolivia
Fujifilm X-T2, Fujifilm Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, 1/30 second @ f2.8, ISO 3200

I think it's about time we stopped worrying about noise in photographs. All the new mirrorless and DSLR cameras do a superb job and, while there are undoubtedly differences in how far different sensors can be pushed, for what most of us shoot most of the time, we have enough 'speed'.

This photo is taken on the street early in the night - meaning there's a hint of blue light in the sky which most photographers like, rather than a jet black sky. But down on terra firma, we're shooting with just two street lights and a little stray illumination from the surrounding retail outlets. And the exposure is 1/30 second at f2.8 - so fast enough to carefully hand-hold and shooting at the lens's maximum aperture. 

I've also set my camera to Auto ISO with a limit at ISO 3200. When digital photography first began, ISO 3200 would have produced unworthy results, but today, the results are excellent. I'll bet you wouldn't have thought twice about image noise had I not mentioned it in the heading! Looking at my photos from Bolivia, I have a hundreds of images that are shot at ISO 3200 because of what I was shooting - low light, wildlife action and night scenes. It is such a liberating way to shoot.

So, the technique? I shoot in aperture-priority mode so I can control my depth-of-field. However, I also know that to get the fastest shutter speed possible, I simply open up my lens to the maximum aperture - f2.8 for this lens. Then, as changing light conditions dictate, I let the Auto ISO feature push the ISO up as high as is necessary to maintain correct exposure.

On the Fujifilm X-T3, there are three Auto ISO custom settings, which I have set at 'up to ISO 3200' for 1/30, 1/60 and 1/500 second. I'd like the 1/500 second to be 1/1000 or 1/2000 if the Fujifilm engineers are reading. Then, depending on the subject I'm shooting, I determine the minimum shutter speed.

For street photography, I'm happy to have a little bit of movement if it makes it real, so 1/30 second is fine. Most cameras have an Auto ISO function these days, so it might be worth a little read of your instruction manual!

And another shot from my walk around Tiquina on the way to Copacabana.

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