Increasing your camera's ISO setting improves its ability to see in the dark, but it can also lead to artifacts in your images that look like millions of tiny dots, known as noise. But where exactly does it come from?
The picture on the left (if you can't tell by the young and spunky Britney Spears) was taken at the 2001 Super Bowl with a Nikon D1H at 2.7 megapixels and 800 ISO. That was PRIMO technology back then! The picture on the right was taken at this year's Super Bowl with a Nikon D3s at 12MP and 12,800 ISO. Yep, thing's done got better.
We all know that the triumvirate of exposure are shutter speeds, aperture, and ISO. It's this dastardly trio that operates like security guards to photons, standing there, ear-piece in their ears, saying "Oi, if you're name's not down, you ain't coming in".
We've talked about the triangle of photography: Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO. But have you ever stopped to think what ISO means? Prepare to get nerdier than you've ever been about that elusive third dial in the exposure triumvirate.
Megapixels? Oh sod off, the megapixel race is well and truly over. Not because the manufacturers have stopped shouting about the number of pixels in their cameras, but simply because photographers stopped caring at some point about half a decade ago.