Jul 282012

When you’re in for a new camera, or at least you believe so, which we all do all of the time, so, in case you consider options, how important is high ISO for you?

The reason why I’m asking is, that it was important for me. I bought a camera, the Olympus OM-D E-M5, that without a problem goes up to ISO 3200, or if you lower the standard only a little, even does ISO 6400 pretty well. Only – I don’t use it.

Look at this image: light in that forest was low, the subject was dark and with any reasonable shutter speed I would have been down to f2.5 and beyond ISO 1600, my default auto ISO limit. Even though that would not have been a problem at all, I decided to switch to shutter priority, 1/3 s and f5.6. Sure, the motion blur of the spinning wheel contributes greatly to the impact of the image, but this is not the point. The point is, that the impulse to use those settings was in the first place triggered by the desire to lower ISO. Stupid, huh?

The Song of the Day is “Spinning Wheel” from the self-titled 1968 Blood, Sweat & Tears album. Hear the album version on YouTube.

  6 Responses to “2110 – Spinning Wheel”

  1. Interesting capture. I wonder who has put up the wheel, and maintains it, for what purpose?

    • No idea. Maybe it produces electricity? Anyway, while I was there a young man came and began to do maintenance work. I didn’t ask, I had my picture and left. Maybe I should have asked 🙂

  2. Well, the amount of energy would be quite small, a couple of watts, but maybe there is a reasonable use for it (e.g., if it would be too costly to install power cables for a minor need of electricity).

  3. I like the implied motion of the blurred wheel and water. But why didn’t you make two images? One at the lower ISO and one at a higher one? Then you could have illustrated your point better, perhaps?

    Seems to me that upstream is behind the wheel. So in case of downpours of rain, the wheel would then be turning the other way! Whatever its purpose, it’s certainly an interesting find to stumble upon in the woods.

    • As to pouring rain: isn’t that a problem that every wheel must have?

      As to a possible second high-ISO version: I didn’t make it because the point is not that there is a difference, there certainly is and I know it and I would have used the low shutter speed anyway. The point is, that my immediate and first impulse was for low ISO and not for motion blur. In other words: I am conditioned to think about technical quality before I think about image content. That’s what I found remarkable. At least after a first shot and chimping I would have arrived at the same result anyway.

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