Is now the time for auto ISO?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by savan_thongvanh, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. In the past I've shyed away from using the auto iso setting on my cameras for fear of getting a speed that was
    too noisy for my camera to handle.

    With cameras D300 and later it doesn't seem to be much of an issue, especially if you're using 2.8 or faster glass.

    Is it feasible now that we can just lock our cameras in (for the most part) @ auto iso, 1/125, and f/2.8 and let
    it rip?

    sounds lazy but i'd love to see some thoughts-
  2. I Initially thought that I would use this feature alot on the upcoming 5d Mark II but I find that setting everything manually in constant lighting conditions yields to must more consistent results.
    I will most likely use the auto ISO feature more than AV or TV mode when I am in constantly changing lighting situations though (ex. partially coudy days)
  3. like everything else auto ISO has its uses, but i wouldn't consider it a "set it and forget it" option. it's no more appropriate than shooting in "P" mode all the time.
  4. To me, its a little like having your parents make all the decisions for you, when you are a child. They might believe that what they are doing for you is correct, but you might not feel the same way. The more you let something else think for you, the less control you have as a part of your creativity. Some, but not all auto features on cameras give you settings that are a compromise, this might be fine if photography is not a passion, but most of the people who are on this web site , I believe are looking for something more than just pushing a button and taking what the camera gives you. I might be wrong.
  5. savant,
    it depends much on your style of shooting. if you are getting good results with the auto setup then there are no problems. if you are likely to be within the same sort of lighting situation then it matters little whether you are on auto or a manual setup. however, if you shoot in differing lighting environments a consistent yield can only be achieved through manual setting of iso.
  6. I do more wedding photography than anything. I'm inclined to make photos w/ the least noise possible.

    Having said that if I can get acceptable noise levels at varying ISOs and I'm going to shoot 1/125 f/2.8 most of the time anyway, why not use auto iso? it's going to give me the lowest setting it can. I will still change these settings to suit my creative desire.

    And I think it's already been acknowledged that you can get a clean image out of a body >=d300 at almost any iso.

    If optimal iso for a photog = clean images, isn't that setting pretty objective? If it's objective why not let the cam decide, it should come up w/ the same thing as me right?

    I hope you can tell I'm trying to be devils advocate a bit but I am curious about the rationale.
  7. I use my iso-auto only when I am working in circumstances with low and changing light, concerts etc. I get sometimes isoos of 400 instead of the normally used 1600. I set the iso-auto at 1/(1.5)xf and to a maximum of 3200 and start fine-tuning the max iso to the lowest value.

    In normal conditions I never use the iso-auto option.
  8. First of all, setting your camera to auto ISO will not limit your creativity. You still can control your DOF and composition. True, I don't think it is a "set it and forget it" setting. When capturing the moment is more important or your subject is moving around in changing light, auto ISO is very useful. However, when I'm just shooting for myself and time is not a factor, I'm in full manual.
  9. Every now and then, I have to snap something so quickly that I don't have time to think, or I hand my camera off to
    somebody who doesn't know how to use it. In those cases I use the green auto mode and I am always amazed by how
    good stuff comes out!
  10. Auto ISO is a feature on my cameras, but one I have never used. I've never used (P)rofessonal mode either, but I'm not forgetting that these features are there. I prefer to be in control of those parameters which affect image quality the most - aperture and ISO. If consistency is paramount, as for portraits and group photos, I use manual mode for everything, including focus.

    On the other hand, if you shoot only for yourself, who's gonna' complain :)
  11. Love the feature especially when photographing sports in changing light conditions. I don't always us it but sometimes it is handy.
  12. I photograph weddings and environmental portraits and for both situations the Auto ISO with the D3/D300 is great. When shooting the ceremony inside the church and the recessional with the B&G exiting the church the Auto ISO will drop the ISO and I can keep on shooting without missing a beat. Without that I would be changing my ISO setting and my aperture and missing key images during the process.

    I shot an engagement session yesterday and was going from shade to sunlight to shade and using fill flash. I prefer to shoot during the last hour or two of daylight so the ambient light level is changing almost minute to minute and the amount of fill flash needed needs to be adjusted for each location depending upon the ambient light level and whether their is strong back lighting and reflected light striking the couple. Auto ISO simplifies the process so I can adjust just the flash EV and using AP have the camera virtually on full auto. The more I have to adjust the camera the more the flow is broken when I am working with a couple.

    But I am using auto ISO with the max ISO capped at ISO 1600 where I know I will get usable images in terms of noise. I wish there as a ISO 2500 max setting available as this is my true limit with the D300, but ISO 1600 works well enough and I can manually override the auto limit and adjust the ISO to 2500 when necessary.
  13. wow, that was compelling! it sounded like an ad but actually made sense.

    I may sound like I'm a huge proponent but I use a d2x and probably get very little benefit from auto iso as I only have 100% confidence up to iso800...
  14. Will auto ISO automatically select the lowest ISO setting that will give the correct exposure? I have never used this feature
    before,in part, because I don't know the answer to the question. I just bought the Nikon D90 (and love it so far) and
    wouldn't mind trying it out if I can depend on getting the lowest possible setting that will do the job. In the meantime, I use
    ISO 200. Thanks for any info! cb
  15. Charles,
    <br/>that's the idea, speaking from a nikon perspective. You set the minimum and max iso and the camera goes up in
    increments from the minimum. If the maximum iso is still not enough to get the proper exposure it starts slowing
    down the shutter. That last bit may be something people don't like...
  16. ok-got it now! I think I may try it out-I'm in an adventurous mood. thanks Savan! cb :)
  17. The problem with auto ISO the way it's implemented by Nikon is that it also seems to insinuate into the manual exposure mode,
    which makes things truly confusing.
  18. I began using Auto ISO recently and I'll never stop using it. It is a big time saver. Basically it uses the lowest ISO possible with the lowest shutter speed you specify. For example, I set 1/15 sec shutter speed, as I can hand hold that pretty reliably with VR on. I set the max ISO to 3200 on my Nikon D300. It's quite simple and works perfectly for me.
  19. For shooting during the day, I generally leave ISO Auto on for the D300. Depending on the lens, I may have a minimum shutter speed set at 1/60 or 1/125 so there may be some daylight shots at the ISO max 1600 setting. Also, I leave it on for fast action where a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 is necessary.

    However, for sunrise/sunset stuff or most anything else with a tripod (like some night shots) or long exposure, I turn off the ISO Auto.
  20. I don't like auto anything, but that's just me.
  21. I'd love it if my Nikon D 300 had a tripod-f/11 setting that would set the ISO to 100, the aperture to f/11, the exposure mode to aperture priority, the focus to hyperfocal for whatever lens I'm using (usually a 20mm) and bracketing on with bracketing set to three exposures at one stop intervals.
  22. Never. They can give us back manual aperture control on lenses too.
  23. pretty soon they will have cameras that will make everyone a professional, as long as you can compose properly, PP photonet professional:>)
  24. When there is enough lighting (during the day) I keep mine on auto ISO, that is coz If i use small apertures and then to
    large apertures I don't want to be bother with all that. If there is enough light the noise is not that visible. As soon as the
    lights go down, I go back to ISO 200 and let the tripod do its job.
  25. acm


    Even now I use auto ISO when light is too less or if there is hardly any time to think about exposure. The results are acceptable as against not getting the shot at all.
  26. "They can give us back manual aperture control on lenses too."

    You're probably joking about that, but my god how I wish that was the case. There is something very unintuitive about
    changing the aperture on the camera body (especially when Canon switches the buttons all around on you as you switch
    from M to Av to Tv).

    At the same time, though having both dials accessible on the body DOES make one-handed shooting much easier...
  27. Auto ISO is something I welcome greatly. I am awaiting my 5D2 and I can forsee many situations when i will use it. When photographing action or using a long lens I could use Tv mode set at 1/500 shutter speed and let the camera do the rest knowing that I won't get a blurred shot due to slow shutter speed. Sounds great. I just hope the camera has the option to cap the ISO at a set level (say 1600 or so). I disagree that it is a wimp mode (like fully auto or program mode). You still have full control over your aperture, focusing and shutter speed so the creativity is still there.

    The feature is something I thought manufacturers would have incorporated years ago.
  28. "Is it feasible now that we can just lock our cameras in (for the most part) @ auto iso, 1/125, and f/2.8 and let it rip? "

    Um, 1/125s and f/2.8 at ISO100 is EV 10. If you are shooting outdoors on a sunny day, your camera will need to have an ISO 2 or ISO 5 setting to be able to handle how bright it is. I'm not aware of any digital camera that comes close to that. In the film days, you would have to switch to paper in order to get ISO speeds that low. So your answer is no.
  29. "Is it feasible now that we can just lock our cameras in (for the most part) @ auto iso, 1/125, and f/2.8 and let it rip? "

    1/125s and f/2.8 at ISO100 is EV 10. A typical indoor flourescently lit room is about EV 6, four stops slower. So your auto ISO would boost the ISO to 1600. Is the amount of noise you're going to get acceptable to you for a shot in a well-lit flourescent room? If not, the answer to your question is no.
  30. Bummer on the party pooper response.

    I did say:

    "I will still change these settings to suit my creative desire."

    not often has it been my creative desire to completely blow everything out (but once in a while).

    Aside from creativity I'd also change the settings based on the limits of the physics for a desirable exposure.
  31. One reason why I purchased the D700 was to use auto ISO in manual format so I control shutter speed and aperture.
    And I really like it, particularly when I am shooting quickly and with varying light situations. The exposures tend to be
    either right on or require minimal adjustment post shoot. You can see a few images in my on location portraits here. I
    typically set the max at 1600 or 2400.

    On other occasions, I set the ISO fixed, particularly when the shooting is not quick or the lighting is reasonably constant.

    So far I am very happy with the auto ISO capability and the quality of the images.

    My D200 is now a back up.
  32. Steven - If you use auto ISO in manual exposure, you aren't really using manual exposure anymore are you? You set the aperture
    and shutter speed you need for correct exposure for a given situation and the camera, all on its own, changes the ISO, giving a
    different exposure. I don't usually meter in manual but use the "sunny sixteen" rule, at least when it's sunny, and when I set the F
    stop and shutter speed, that's what I want. I wish auto ISO was disabled in manual exposure. Ken Rockwell, calls this a major
    design flaw, and for once I agree with him.
  33. When the D3 was released, Nikon pro Dave Black reported using a D3 on full auto for an entire football game and had great results. That's Auto ISO and Auto AF. He used the Auto ISO because of huge changes in lighting - a running back going from full sun to a shadow on a single play. Rapid changes in shooting conditions - particularly from bight sun to full shade - make Auto ISO an important tool. Black indicated that some of his images would not have been possible without Auto ISO - he simply could not have reacted quickly enough to change camera settings. With full auto, he was able to put his shooting emphasis on framing the shot and getting the "right" image rather than trying to get a proper exposure or focus.

    The D3 and D700 have much better high ISO performance than the D300. I do use my D300 with Auto ISO, but you don't have the latitude to shoot at the extremely high ISO levels of the D3/D700.

    I'm not sure you can put your camera in Point and Shoot Mode and forget it completely, but that is a viable option that is getting better.
  34. bmm


    I tend to agree with most people here that AutoISO has its uses but is not the answer to everything.

    My D80 in its most common configuration is in "A" mode with Auto ISO limited to 800 with minimum shutter speed at 1/60. This setting - for me, because it is different for everyone - allows the right balance between automation and creative control (my main controls used are aperture, EV and white balance) and therefore results in me getting a decent ration of "keeper" shots given my primarily candid/urban preference for shooting.

    However it does frustrate the hell out of me, as it does many others I note, that AutoISO is not disabled in full manual mode.

    Another thought I have regularly had is that when AutoISO is on, the floor ISO should 'reset' to 100 (or whatever the floor ISO is for the model - on some it is 200). This means that the automation has available the full range from 100 to whatever limit I have set. Obviously this is a hedge against forgetting to revert back to 100 after manually inputting a higher ISO for a particular shot.
  35. A 'fun' way to use Auto ISO is to shoot in manual mode selecting the exact shutter speed and aperture you want and letting the camera adjust the ISO as necessary.

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