Architectural Photography #4: Photographing Buildings at Night

EOS 5D Mark III/ EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 50mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 1/50 sec)/ ISO 12800/ WB: Auto
Location: Tokyo Station (Marunouchi Exit), Tokyo

EOS 5D Mark III/ EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 59mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 1.3 sec)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto
Location: Tokyo Station (Marunouchi Exit), Tokyo

Look at the 2 photos above. Notice that the one taken at ISO 12800 looks a bit grainier?

The higher the ISO speed, the more the the image noise. Newer cameras have increasingly better high ISO noise reduction capabilities, but it is still not yet possible to completely eliminate noise. For that reason, most photographers make it a point to shoot at the lowest ISO speed possible before noise sets in, often by tweaking other settings such as aperture and shutter speed.

Setting the ISO speed to a lower value will result in a slower shutter speed, which allows you to take clear images with minimal noise. If you secure the camera by mounting it on a tripod or stand, your shots will not be affected by camera shake even at slow shutter speeds.

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