Two Bad Words in Photography — Crop & High ISO

Back in 2002 and 2003, at the dawn of digital photography with SLR cameras, there were two bad words.  Crop and High ISO.  No photographer wanted to crop a photo and no photographer wanted to use high ISO.

Why?  The photos produced by a Canon 10D or Nikon D100 were only 8MB.  They were 12-bit and 240 pixels-per-inch on the longest side.  Yet, they really weren’t much bigger than the photos we get today from a high-end cell phone camera.

Our photos from the Canon 10D or Nikon D100 were good enough for a magazine cover or full-page photo inside.  We didn’t want to crop, though, unless absolutely necessary.

Today we have DSLR camera that take 24MB files and higher.  We can crop without worrying that the files aren’t big enough to appear in a magazine or that the files aren’t big enough for a nice print.

Least sandpiper KAC7711_1

We can crop our photos thanks for cameras that produce large files.

Avoiding high ISO is also a thing of the past.  Back in the dark ages of digital photography it was really hard to get rid of noise due to using a high ISO.  ISO 400 was acceptable but ISO 800 or ISO 1600 was only for the newspaper photographers.  Newspaper reproduction quality was nothing like the quality we needed for glossy magazines.

That all changed when Adobe gave us noise reduction.  Each generation of Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom does a better and better job of reducing those noisy pixels.

“High ISO?  No problem.  I’ll take that out in Photoshop or Lightroom later on.”

How nice it is to push the boundaries of photography today knowing we can crop and use high ISO.

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The three images in this slide show were shot at high ISO and then cropped.

I still try to crop in the camera when possible — that means I get closer and move to eliminate distractions.  I sometimes use a shorter lenses because I can crop versus lugging the 500mm everywhere to photograph birds.

High ISO has become a friend.  It’s so nice to know I can raise the ISO and never miss an opportunity.  I might miss the shot but at least I didn’t miss the opportunity.

Digital photography is evolving fast.  Thanks to great innovations in camera technology and software development we benefit and can leave two bad words behind.



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