Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Forgotten ISO Range

Reflections in the Water by Mawz
Reflections in the Water, a photo by Mawz on Flickr.

D600, Sigma 105 OS HSM Macro

For all the concentration on high ISO performance on digital, with camera's reaching as far as ISO ~200,000, there's an equally useful ISO range being completely ignored. This range is the other end, the range between ISO 6 and ISO 100. Once upon a time ISO 25-50 in particular was where landscape photographers lived, shooting Velvia pulled to ISO 40, or Tech Pan at ISO 25 or any of a dozen other films in this range. Today we shoot at ISO 100 if we're lucky, ISO 200 if we're not and then have to dig out filters if we need to get the shutter speed down to blur water or let us get a lens wide open for some planar separation.

I can count on one hand the number of images I've taken above ISO 6400, but I constantly wish I could drop the ISO below the 100 (or 50 extended base) on most of the recent camera's I shoot. And I keep getting reminded that my F3's ISO range was 6-6400, a far more useful range for most shooting than the current 50-51,200 my D600 offers.

So come on camera makers. Do something different for a change and give me a camera designed for the ultimate low ISO performance, at an actual low ISO.

1 comment:

  1. The Kodak SLR/c and its Nikon version had single digit ISO setting. I don't know why others don't implement it.