It's Okay to Raise Your ISO For Landscape Photography

When you think of exposure settings for landscape photography, you likely think of using your camera's base ISO and nothing else. But when it comes to getting the shot, there is nothing wrong with raising your ISO if needed, and this excellent video discusses why.

Coming to you from Mark Denney, this insightful video discusses why it is okay to raise your ISO if necessary in landscape photography. The truth is that modern bodies have incredibly good noise performance, and you can get very good results at ISO settings even well above your camera's base setting. And often, this is preferable to adjusting either your aperture or shutter speed. For landscapes, you frequently want a deep depth of field to get everything sharp and in focus, and while you may use a slower shutter speed for creative effect or to gather more light, there are times when you need it to freeze motion — a windy day causing leaves to blur, for example. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Denney. 

And if you would like to continue to learn about landscape photography, be sure to check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

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11 Comments

stuartcarver's picture

The comments on that video are nothing short of hilarious.... I particularly like the ‘anything over ISO400 and my Canon image quality falls apart’

Do these people not realise that others own these cameras they are spouting this nonsense about.

Never Mind's picture

"The comments on that video..." For a moment I read you were talking about the comments in the video by the author himself. Do mention youtube or viewers better, else it's very confusing for us that did not watch it in yt ;-)

stuartcarver's picture

The comments section of the video, not the video itself.

Never Mind's picture

Yes, I understood by the time I posted. But notice that I and many others only see these comments on this site. I didn't open youtube, so I couldn't see the comments you were referring to. Thus the confusion, and the suggestion to mention "youtube", heh.

stuartcarver's picture

I guess in my head I would refer to it as the narrative from the video if I was referring to what he actually said.

Anyway the point is, there are tonnes and tonnes of people who spout nonsense about their cameras and the capability of them. Good news is they keep changing systems which keeps the companies running, let’s hope they never realise it might be them with the issue.

Edison Wrzosek's picture

It might actually not be nonsense if their Canon is an older model, especially something like a Rebel APS-C type Canon from several years ago; those did suffer from quick image degradation at even slightly higher ISO values.

This holds true of any DSLR camera brand from say 6+ years ago, ISO performance back then was VERY poor compared to current models / sensors.

stuartcarver's picture

Nah these were claiming cameras like the 7D, 9D, the Fuji X-T2 etc were doing this.

And I still don’t believe any 24mp sensor from any APS-C camera from the last 7/8 years isn’t capable of producing usable images up to 6400 ISO, certainly not as bad as any of these people are claiming (anything over 400). We used to have a Nikon D3200 and it’s perfectly good up to that value.

Edit: and even a good amount of the 16mp ones, regardless of brand.

Edison Wrzosek's picture

Yeah, if those claims were being made for camera models like the ones you mention, then those comments are straight-up BS.

I had a Nikon D7000, and it was ok up to ISO 800, even 1250, before image quality started showing colour / chroma noise and grain.

Though I would never push any of those APS-C 24MP sensors from back then to 6400, one could definitely get acceptable results I’d say to between ISO 2500-3200 from those older models.

stuartcarver's picture

Yeah that’s a fair description of the capabilities I’d say, I’m sure you have the same outlook I have that I’d rather bump it and make the shot than stand there worried about noise whilst the shot disappears.

I guess a lot of people don’t then go home to moan on the internet that the noise caused them to miss the shot. You can see in the comments yourself on that video the amount of, well, noise that is being spoken:)

Dan Jefferies's picture

I was pushing my 80D to 3200. Complete failure. I'm maxing out at 1600 for usable images and 800 for "clean" images. Not bad at all but the 80D only delivers paintings at 6400. My R6 on the other hand is a beast. 6400 is not a problem.

Jeff Heinaman's picture

Great idea Mark to use a Christmas tree as a noise test subject. For each camera body I like to know two max tolerable ISO settings: one for when cropping is planned or likely and the other when I expect to go with the as shot composition and I may be able to go up to a little higher ISO. Now I can use the Christmas tree to confirm my assumptions! Thanks.