INSANE High ISO Settings: When & How to Use Them in Your Photos (VIDEO)

Today’s modern digital cameras offer insanely high ISO options, and conventional wisdom is to avoid them and go no higher than at least two settings below the maximum. But according to one top pro, there are times when is OK to use the highest ISO setting available.

In today’s episode of the “Ask David Bergman” series from Adorama TV, Bergman provides his take on this controversial topic. He explains the basics of how ISO setting work, the sacrifices in image quality involved, and how and when to crank ISO up to max.

The video begins with the following question submitted by one of Bergman’s fans: “I have the Canon 7D Mark two and would like to know when a person would use the expanded ISO settings like 25,600 or 51,200?” In barely eight minutes Bergman answers that question and more.

Bergman explains how ISO fits into the Exposure Triangle, along with aperture and shutter speed, to control the brightness of an image. He notes that, “The thing about the Exposure Triangle is that it’s always a give-and-take. So if you give in one place you have to take from another.”

The point is that, depending upon light levels, you may hit some limits with regard to aperture and shutter speed settings. One example is when you want to employ a fast shutter speed to freeze action at night, but you’re unable to arrive at a proper exposure with standard ISO settings—even with your lens wide open.

This is where the meat of the video begins, as Bergman explains how to use extreme ISO settings when necessary. He discusses a number of pitfalls that are inherent to making this compromise, and asks the question, “”Who actually looks at noise in digital images?”

After watching this quick explainer, head over to the Adorama TV YouTube channel for more helpful tips. And be sure check out other episodes in Bergman’s series.