Get to grips with ISO on your Canon camera (in the dark)

(Image credit: Future)

Shooting at a high ISO or using a long exposure to capture details in the dark increases noise in a digital image. There are essentially two flavors of noise: luminance and color. Luminance noise looks a little like film grain, although not quite as pleasing, while color noise covers the image in distracting colored speckles. You may also see bands of color in an image.

Some of the best professional cameras have built-in noise reduction options, which can be applied to the image as it’s processed and saved to the memory card. These don’t apply to RAW files though, which have to be processed later. RAW processing software such as Affinity Photo provides more refined controls for noise reduction, with individual sliders for luminance and color noise reduction. Be wary of going too high with the luminance slider, as it will soften details in the image as well as the noise.

Check out the camera skills below, and discover how to optimize your ISO settings when you’re shooting in the near dark. You can click on the arrows in the top right-hand corner of the image below to make it bigger.

(Image credit: Future)

You might like the best low-light cameras – which will help you to shoot after dark. Plus, find out how to understand ISO settings.

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Lauren Scott
Managing Editor

Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 

An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine

In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.