High-ISO is the new 11, and just as silly.
Let’s disregard a century of photography. Everybody knows it’s impossible to create compelling images with a camera that doesn’t deliver spit-clean results at ISO 6400 and beyond.
We also know it’s incredibly difficult to take a shot with a lens that doesn’t go from 14 to 400 mm. You’d have to walk closer to your subject, or further away – what a harebrained concept! You’re a photographer, not some bloody athlete! Carry around a selection of faster primes and switch them as necessary? Ridiculous. Hell, modern cameras crank up to ISO 128.000 or something! Hence, wide-open at f/3.5-8 is just the way things work™ nowadays. You bought your camera with its kit zoom, so that’s what the camera is all about, so it bloody well better deliver results fit to be put on billboards, and then scrutinised with a magnifying glass.
To make sure your money was well spent you compare 100% crops of black cats yawning in coal cellars. Even if you only plan to put photos on Facebook, graininess at a measly ISO 3200 is totally unacceptable. Your cat may not be the most interesting subject in the world, but you simply need to blow her up to fill your living room from end to end. In print, if you actually printed to such sizes, not using explosives. Err.
So it’s just natural you always look for the next camera to end all camera hunting. Working with what you’ve got, playing within (and with) its limitations? What for? The next high-ISO body has just been announced, and if you immediately put your now-crammy camera on eBay you won’t have too much of a loss.
For decades, photo-journalists and artists dealt with a maximum sensitivity of 200-800 ASA in colour, perhaps pushed to a very grainy 1600 ASA. But who cares about the likes of Steve McCurry, Martin Schoeller, or William Eggleston? Were they alive and kickin’ today, they wouldn’t bother with such laughable specs.
Oh, wait …