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| p.1 #9 · Canon EOS 7D Hi-ISO Performance |
I think everyone has their different interpretations on what is usable or acceptable. The photos shown to me have a grain that I find marginally usable. On 5x7 print they are fine but when blown to 8x10 to 11x14 I would say ISO 3200 is not acceptable or usable.
ISO 3200 unusable? On a 7D?
At what point do we stop caring about taking a photograph, and start caring about how pixels look to a signal-to-noise algorithm? Honestly, I'm not ordinarily one to shake a finger at pixel peeping, but the standards of sharpness and noise that some people require today write off pretty much every great photograph ever taken with a film camera.
Case in point. Which is the better photo here? (Neither are my photos, of course)
One is a noisy mess with some weird color convergence errors, and the other is a breathtaking marvel of modern technology.
The crappy photo was shot by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky in 1910... one of the earliest examples of color photography, using composites of three exposures. (There's a great book of his photos of Russia before the revolution, if you're interested.) The beautiful photo is of course a test photo from Imaging Resource.
My point is, we sometimes get lost in details. All our fretting about noise and sharpness keep us from taking great photographs. You might say "a great photograph is better if it's sharp and has no noise", but I really couldn't care less. A great photo taken at ISO 3200 with a 20D and 18-55 is still a great photo. A boring photo taken at ISO 100 with a 5D2 and your favorite Leica lens is still a boring photo.