The New York Institute of Photography is the world’s largest online photography school, and because we are, we often publish fun and useful photography tips. Please enjoy!
Contrary to popular belief, a high ISO can be helpful for landscape photography. This is particularly true when shooting without a tripod or including a person in the frame. In these instances, the shutter speed can be no slower than about 1/125 to prevent camera shake and/or subject motion. Then, to achieve great depth of field and keep everything sharp from near to far, your desired aperture would be f/8 or f/11. With these two decisions made, you may take your photo only to find that it’s too dark. This is where the ISO comes into play. Simply double the ISO number and watch as the photo gets brighter.
Many photographers are overly sensitive about high ISO noise and refrain from using anything over 800. Instead they’ll slow down the shutter speed, rely on image stabilizers, or open the aperture wider. The results may look acceptable on the small LCD only to appear soft when viewed or printed larger. Like most aspects of photography, there is always a tradeoff to consider. Would you rather have a blurry, but noise-free photo, or a sharp image with a bit of noise?