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Out of the Darkness - ISO

johnriley1uk

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Out of the Darkness - ISO

15 Apr 2021 11:21AM   Views : 319 Unique : 204

As we emerge from the darkness, if we recorded anything with our cameras we might have given in to the inevitable and turned to the third parameter in our arsenal - the ISO value. Up goes the ISO and the aperture can be smaller (for increased depth of field) or the shutter speed can be faster (for action stopping or for reducing camera shake) or maybe a little bit of both.

Film was firmly entrenched into probably a maximum of ISO (ASA in those days) 400, and black and white films such as Kodak Tri-X were the mainstay of my photography for many years. Contrasty, sharp and gritty with a really crisp grain structure. This of course also depended on how it was developed, but my final choice was Paterson FX-39. Other nice choices were Aculux (less crisp, but lower grain), Acutol (crisp), Neofin Blue (very crisp two stage development that was very technique sensitive) and many more. There were faster and slower films of course, and many amateurs would settle on Ilford FP4 (ISO 125). I had a few alternative favourites, including Kodak Panatomic-X (ISO 32, amazing sharpness) and Kodak 2475 Recording film (ISO 1250, grain like footballs).

Colour negative film was definitely ISO 64 or 100, but later 200 and then even 400 which was the revelation of the day. Colour slides (transparencies) 64, 100, 200 plus a few outside the box such as the insipid GAF500. My go-to film would be Kodachrome 200, and those slides are still looking good 40 years later.

So now throw all the rules away, as current digital cameras smash the barriers. We call grain noise as it's electronic in nature, but it amounts to a similar thing. Early digital cameras struggled with ISO 400. My current Pentax K-1 and K-3II are happy up to about ISO 6400 and usable beyond. The new Pentax K-3 III achieves ISO 1,600,000, but I haven't seen how it looks yet. So, armed with black cats and a coal cellar, and mainly using my ancient Pentax K-5, let's see some images that pushed the ISO values. Bear in mind newer cameras will be better than these.

National trust cafe, waiting, waiting, waiting for even just a simple coffee to arrive, and some tulips in a vase on the table. Pentax K-5, ISO 51,200
22471_1618481589.jpg


Snowy drive home one early January morning, Pentax K-5, ISO 6400
22471_1618481605.jpg


Candlelit Glamour, various ISO values
22471_1618481653.jpg

22471_1618481749.jpg


Night Vision Most Haunted, The Vamipress gets her man
22471_1618481765.jpg


Haddon Girl, treated to mimic look of Autochrome
22471_1618481816.jpg


Pentax K-5 ISO 100
22471_1618481861.jpg

ISO 200
22471_1618481894.jpg

ISO 400
22471_1618481917.jpg

ISO 800
22471_1618481942.jpg

ISO 1600
22471_1618481963.jpg

ISO 3200
22471_1618481985.jpg

ISO 6400
22471_1618482006.jpg

ISO 12800
22471_1618482037.jpg

ISO 25600
22471_1618482066.jpg

ISO 51200
22471_1618482091.jpg

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