“We want better high ISOs,” is what photographers seem to be saying over and over again. But in truth, it sometimes seems to be the opposite. It seems that most photographers that are very serious about their craft really do landscape and portrait photography. These are things that require really good low ISO output. As the years have gone on though, low ISO output has taken a backseat to better high ISO cameras. With that said, I truly wish that much better low ISO cameras came out. And I’ll explain what I mean.
A Lower ISO
Some cameras go down to ISO 50. But it’s time that we go even lower. How about ISO 24? Or ISO 12? Or heck, what about even ISO 6? Just imagine all the crazy things that photographers could do with ISO 6? Landscape photographers could capture some incredible moments and portrait photographers could become even more creative with the possibilities. Let’s go into this much more though:
- Something akin to long exposure portraits on a tripod the way that tin types are done would be possible here.
- Low ISO landscapes of the sunset, sunrise, and even night photography would be possible.
- Portrait photography could be that much sharper. Just imagine how much more crispy your portraits could be. Granted, I don’t always like my portraits to be that crispy. But a lot of folks surely do!
Additionally, none of these cameras would need to go above ISO 6400. Honestly, I wouldn’t see myself using them beyond ISO 1600 anyway. Of course, these wouldn’t be cameras for creators, but instead they’d be for photographers.
These low ISO cameras could take the approach that Leica did with a higher megapixel sensor having better color but the lower megapixel resolutions having more dynamic range. This approach to the M11 was brilliant.
Practically speaking as well, there are tons of good cameras with great high ISO outputs. But there are none that truly try to deliver on the lower ISOs.
The Colors of Slide Film
When I think of a really good low ISO camera, I think of film. Not necessarily Kodachrome, but why not? Or why not Ektachrome? I genuinely believe that a lower ISO camera could also find a way to incorporate better colors through the processors in the same way that cameras create better high ISO output through the processors. It could mean a flat profile that people go to edit, or it could also mean something that you don’t need to edit at all.
With computational photography and tons of AI in cameras these days, why couldn’t something like this be possible? I genuinely believe that it would sell very well to the lots of photographers that still like to go out there and shoot to their heart’s content. Specifically, I think that camera companies need to remember that not everyone wants to be a content creator. A lot of us want to shoot the best photos of our lives.
Can We Make Low ISO Cameras Happen?
Besides Leica, I’m very curious about what brands could make very good low ISO cameras. The ones that come to mind are Sony and Fujifilm. I’d be shocked if Canon did so. But if they did, then I’d hope that they wouldn’t only make it a low ISO camera. I’d hope that there would be AI scene recognition that would look at a vista in front of you and tries to make the best HDR photo possible. I’m talking about Trey Ratcliff’s levels of dynamic range here!