Pushing the Boundaries, Didcot, Oxfordshire
Michael Topham, Reviews editor
Sony A7R III, 24-70mm, 1/5sec at f/4, ISO 3200 The effectiveness of built-in 5-axis image stabilisation, combined with the ludicrously impressive low-light performance of today’s imaging sensors, got me thinking earlier this year. To achieve optimum image quality of a static scene at night, many of us, myself included, erect our tripods, plug in our cable releases and dial in long shutter speeds – all far from ideal when trying to work quickly.
Arriving at Didcot Railway Centre for a low-light shoot, I decided to throw the rulebook out the window. With my tripod left behind, I wanted to see if I could get acceptable results at night, handholding only. While other photographers around me jostled with their tripods and took what felt like forever to get set-up, I was able to squeeze in around them, take a quick handheld shot and move on. This image is one such example, taken at 1/5sec and ISO 3200. During the shoot I also found myself pushing as high as ISO 12,800.
Back in front of the computer, I used DxO’s PRIME noise reduction and then Lightroom to make a few basic tweaks before exporting my final set of images. Having forced myself to work this way once, I wouldn’t think twice about pushing the sensitivity to the extreme and shooting handheld at night again. Compared with other photographers who attended the same event and used a tripod, I’m confident I walked away with a more diverse set of images having had more time to move around and think more carefully about composition.