Photo-Geekery: Night Photography with the Canon 5D Mark II

July 23rd, 2010
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One of the spiffy features of the Canon 5D Mark II is that it has can shoot at an astronomically high ISO with much less noise interference in the image than one would expect.
Recently I decided to test it out a little bit and see how effective it can be by doing some night shooting out the window of a taxi on the way home after a late shift at the office.
The photo above is dark and silhouetted, sure, but at 5000 ISO, it’s remarkably crisp and noise-less. All of the photos have been tweaked to some degree in Aperture, but none beyond recognition.
After the jump see a couple photos where I pushed the camera up to 25600, the maximum setting.


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The photo above was taken while crossing the Williamsburg bridge. The blur is mostly because I left the auto-focus on and it couldn’t lock on anything in the dark. With the dark sky, you start to see more of the noise that you get from shooting at such a high ISO.
That said, those flaws make it endearing to me. It reminds me of a painting and the hazy quality makes me think of many a night’s ride home after going out on the town.
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This one, shot while waiting for the light under the J Train station, shows how sharp the details can be, even at such a high ISO.
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Going down a level, this was taken at 12,800 ISO.
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In the more reasonable end of the spectrum, this photo taken in Philly was shot at 800 ISO, which had always been the highest I’d ever shoot for a usable photo with my 30D.
I’m still feeling my way around, but the advances in the ISO on the new model is definitely going to be an asset for me.

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One Comment:

  1. The first shot is my favorite. I kind of can’t believe it was hand held.
    -Yelena

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