*The ISO 6400 Project (part two)

*The ISO 6400 Project (part two)

Welcome to the ISO 6400 project part two! Don't worry, you don't necessarily need to have read part one.

The ISO 6400 project came about by accident. I had a dirty sensor that only showed spots at high ISOs. Several cleanings took care of the dust, but being paranoid, I had to intentionally shoot at ISO 6400 to see if any spots other than normal noise had still appeared. So, if I am going to shoot, I might as well make it something worth shooting right? I might as well see what I can realistically expect out of my camera when pushing it to its limits. For that reason alone, this is an exercise that I highly recommend everyone tries!

The second setup (this one) was 'High ISO High Light'. This is significant because it was an active choice to use high ISO to add noise to purposefully affect the camera's performance. The ISO was unnecessarily cranked so the conditions could be (or more likely, needed to be) greatly modified. Because this shoot was in a dark studio at night, no ND filter was needed, but a daylight shoot would have certainly required at least 3 stops.

Insert above: In this setup with Evee, I used a paint drop and a modeling light, thats it.

This entire series was shot with a Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm 2.4 on my 5DmII. I chose that lens because it is fast, has a versatile close focus distance, and it comes with a wide field of view.

For this series I chose the 5DmII because it is affordable, readily available, and performs fantastic at ISO 6400 in comparison to even many newer cameras. It also happens to be my main camera at this point in time.

I should also add that I did not test, nor care to test, technical things like buffer times, battery performance and all that tech stuff. This is strictly on sensor performance; and more specifically, creating a look. So here is part one:

High ISO High Light

When Evee showed up with paint, glitter and a tarp I said one word: NO! haha Then I asked who was gonna clean it all up?!?

Part one was all about High ISO in LOW light. And why not?

This is after all, the most common situation you will be shooting high ISO.

But what if we want to intentionally shoot high ISO even if we do not have to?

Insert ISO 6400 | @ f2.4 | 1/160 | Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm 2,4 on 5D mII

In the image above we can see that the highlights are still preserved, and I was careful not to let the shadows get too dark, because the darkness brings lots of noise at this ISO.


Insert ISO 6400 | @ f2.4 | 1/800 | Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm 2,4 on 5D mII

In this image, which is a touch underexposed (intentionally) for my taste; I was attempting to make it as flat and even in regards to light as contrast as possible.

We can see that there is noticeably more noise in the areas that are rendered out of focus. In this case, slowing down the shutter would have been simple enough of an adjustment to get some more light on Evee.

Insert ISO 6400 | @ f2.4 | 1/1000 | Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm 2,4 on 5D mII

On the above image, I made only two adjustments from the last one: I moved the light physically closer to her; and to accommodate the increased exposure, I shortened my shutter time down to 1/1000 as well.

The image is far different with a hotspot towards the center, and I now have far more range between highlights and mid-tones, but almost no dark shadows.

I find this ideal as the shadows and out of focus areas seem to create noise anyway. As long as it was shot on raw, I can easily darken these areas in post and there was little noise to begin with, so my shadows stay clean!

This is the ideal exposure for a High ISO, high light setup in my opinion. ...from a noise reduction standpoint, that is.

Insert ISO 6400 | @ f2.4 | 1/250 | Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm 2,4 on 5D mII

Insert ISO 6400 | @ f2.4 | 1/400 | Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm 2,4 on 5D mII

In the final two images above, I continued to apply the same principal. They are some of the most technically "successful" images in the entire series. And by that I mean they are clean for ISO 6400 on a 5dmii.

But the experiment is timeless.

Forget the make and model of the camera, and forget ISO 6400 as well.

We are testing the camera's limits, and at the same time, determining how our lighting can help create cleaner images. That’s a practical experiment that is timeless.

In the third and final part (for now) of the ISO 6400 project, I attempt to recreate the look of Impossible Project Instant Color Film in-camera. Stay tuned!