Here's a quote from the discussion under the Red Truck night picture post.
... I looked up the file, that pic was taken at F:3.5 and 1/25th second. (1600 ISO, 35mm lens.)
I'm still mad at Canon and Nikon for not building in stabilization in the camera bodies, many of the best lenses don't have it, and if I'd had it, I could have gained a stop or two for this shoot, would have been nice to have been able to shoot at 1/10th second and F:4.5.
1600, and 3,5 !
I thought 1600 would be much more noisy, and 3,5 much more blurred...
Maybe I have to revise part of my knowledge... :-)
The Canon 5D2 is one of the best in high-ISO quality, partly because it's full-frame, and big/expensive. But like I said, the newest smaller DSLRs are pretty dang close now.
With a wideangle lens, the depth-of-field is much greater.
For somebody with more patience than me, it might be simpler simply using a tripod.
So I just wanted to test what I was claiming, and shot this picture on automatic, hand-held at night (not even leaning on the window sill), with the Pentax K-x with kit lens. By amazing coincidence, it fell exactly on 1600 ISO and F:3.5! And it was at 18mm zoom setting (equivalent of 28mm wideangle), and 1/25th second.
And you can see that this is also very good quality, even though it's an affordable camera and not full-frame like my 5D2. (And I have not even done any noise reduction.)
Here it is with (Nik software) noise reduction (software, often a Photoshop plug-in, which reduces noise in photos, though often at the cost of detail):
I think you'll agree that's dang good low-light quality, and it's hand-held and with an entry-level DSLR with kit lens, around $600 or so.
(If you're interested, the original file is here.)
(Note: with such slow shutter-times hand-held, you should take a few exposures of each picture, to get one sharp one. Also, while the Pentax has built-in anti-shake, it's not the most powerful in the biz, sadly.)
... But a weird and slightly unfortunate characteristic about the Pentax is that, just like my old Pentax ME-Super, it tends to underexpose. Strange. I wonder if it's a philosophy of some kind that Pentax has.
Gawd, the number of under-exposed negatives I got back in the day before I found out that a camera's ASA (ISO) setting is not set in stone...