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A lot of people complain about digital noise. It’s ugly and unsightly. It detracts from the seamless smooth beauty of low ISO images; especially that fabulous bokeh.

This is all so much cobblers. Leaving aside the fact that bokeh is grossly over-rated as a mark of good photography and good lenses, the reality is that digital noise is no more unsightly than film grain; simply a different form of granularity (to reclaim that overused jargon word).

Furthermore, today’s camera sensors handle high ISO noise very well. It’s not unpleasant and if it really bothers you, it can very easily be moderated using image processing software with minimal detrimental effect on your photograph.

On the other hand, setting your camera to a high ISO (or using the auto-ISO function) allows you to use high shutter speeds and good depth of field, factors that play a far more significant role in a successful photograph. A photograph where you want the subject or subjects of interest to be in focus and sharply caught even in relatively poor lighting conditions.

This is one area where digital shows real muscle compared to film. With film you are restricted to a single, often relatively low ISO for your roll and you have to work with this, often by compromising shutter speed or depth of field or both. With digital, you really don’t have to worry. And I no longer do.

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