Anatomy Of A Photo: Shooting In Low Light

Sony a7R III | Zeiss Batis 2.8/18
1/13 sec. at f/5.6; ISO 1600
December 16, 2017
Tokyo, Japan

Back in my early days of shooting with a DSLR camera, I’d cringe at the thought of having to bump up the ISO to compensate for low light environments. The resulting image would be in noise city, but it would be somewhat unavoidable unless I was shooting with a tripod. These days, the sensor technology in modern cameras has completely paved over those old nightmares thanks to serious improvements in low light and dynamic range capture capabilities.

This photo is a great example. Even though there was plenty of light from the little restaurant’s lights, it was dark enough to where I had to bump up my Sony camera’s ISO to 1600 in order to get a reasonable shutter speed while handholding. Tripods are far too conspicuous and pose a serious tripping hazard in these cramped alleys, so handholding is a must. Thankfully, I didn’t have to bat an eye when increasing the ISO of my camera. On top of that, many premium mirrorless cameras now have in-body image stabilization, which also makes shooting in low light far more forgiving.

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