Grain-Noise- ISO

View from open cockpit aircraft
I read an interchange this week and it irked me. There was a discussion about ISO and someone asked what ISO should they use and I was amazed to read all of the comments and how so many were simply based on misinformation.
The more I read the more fatootsed “Yiddish word meaning frustrated with more emphasis” I became. Several people were mixing the concept of grain and noise and others were just completely guessing but amazingly or not there were well over a 100 answers.
First Grain is not Noise and keeping this non technical grain can be beautiful and many photographers made their names on images with grain. Noise on the other hand is not beautiful and I have never seen an image that I have said WOW that noise is awesome. The biggest difference is the patterns that occur in the noise. Film grain is the grains of silver present in the film, and are  in a random pattern.

ISO noise is caused in the digital sensor and is pixel based, and therefore in a pattern.

As per ISO, the general rule is to keep ISO as low as possible to avoid the noise interference.  A lower ISO gives less noise and typically better dynamic range. That said as sensor technology gets better, the cameras have done a much better job of dealing with higher ISO’s
Personally, my goal is for the most aesthetically pleasing image with the best possible technical settings. I do what is required for this to occur. I do however have a favorite ISO and that is typically ISO 100
This shot is from an assignment where I was able to ride in a plane with an open cockpit.

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