setting ISO

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by adam_earley|1, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. I was reading Brian Petersons "Understanding Exposure" and he states in there somewhere to just get familiar with one setting of ISo (example200) and stick with it. Granted this was written a few years back, but would any of you recomend setting your camera with 1 ISO setting or take advantage of all your settings? Im using a Nikon D40 by the way
     
  2. OK, you can set your Nikon to ISO200 all the time. Then you need to get used to using a tripod when needed. Or to stop taking pictures, if they would be blurred. Maybe that's what he means.
    I'd rather take the advantage of modern cameras to produce decent images up to ISO1600, when necessary.
     
  3. adam, the advice would have been valuable in the right context. with a modern dslr, you have the option to try the same shot with different iso levels just to see what one gets you the best result. this would be a better route to understanding iso.
     
  4. Most of my shooting is from a tripod and I use ISO 100 for that. For handheld shots, ISO 400 for general shooting, 800 for action shots, higher if needed. A lot of it depends on the action, lighting, using flash or not. In short, every scene has its own demands, and no single ISO setting is going to give you the results you want all the time.
     
  5. Adam,
    Based on what you said it does sound like the author meant 'get familiar with one ISO',...but I suspect after getting used to that one ISO the author would want you to 'get used to other ISO settings as well'.
    As you increase the ISO you inevitably begin to increase noise in the image. Watching that happen as you change ISO can teach you a lot about your equipment.
    Understanding Exposure means just that....understanding what shutter speeds and f-stops you can use with the lighting conditions under which you are working. In many instances there would be no suitable way to obtain an image without changing ISO (after all....what if you didn't have your tripod with you?)...
    I don't believe Peterson ever meant 'just use one ISO'...I think he meant 'learn the properties of each ISO setting for your equipment'...
     
  6. I set my ISO to the lowest value that will allow me to get the shutter speed I need, at the aperture I want.
    It's really quite simple.
     
  7. I think that one should be aware of the characteristics of all ISO's. I suspect that that was written when everyone was shooting film. One could push film, but generally each film was shot at its rated ISO, or very close to it. With digital one can change the ISO for every shot so one must be aware of the characteristics of his/her camera at each and every ISO.
     
  8. Adam,
    My guess (I have not read the book) is that he means that if you are not thinking about ISO because you have left it at one level, you will focus more on thinking about the tradeoff between aperture and shutter speed.
    I actually did learn back in the days of film, and in those days, it was not a big deal to follow his advice, because unless you carried two bodies, you were stuck with one ISO anyway until you reloaded the camera. Also, the choice was pretty limited. I think Plus X was 200 and TriX 400 if not pushed (and we thought of that as fast).
    I agree with Larry. I go as low as I can in terms of ISO and raise it only when I need it because of low light. However, if you are still learning and are confused by manipulating three parameters at once, I would start with a moderate level, like 400, because that will minimize how often you need to change it.
    Dan
     
  9. Thank you everyone. I looked in the book again to see how he wrote it but couldnt find it. You guys gave me some good help, thanx again. Im sure there will be more questions later
     
  10. I read a few pages of that book and I remember him speaking about how ISO would affect exposure just as aperture and shutter speed. As the beginning of the book is meant to teach creative exposure, he wants the reader to focus on aperture and shutter speed in more controlled settings. The reader experiments and then learns how aperture or shutter speed affect the exposure and only after getting comfortable with these two elements will the reader move on to adding ISO to the equation. He wouldn't use one ISO setting for all pictures unless he only uses a tripod and can make everyone wait for him to set up.
    The newer DSLR's look fine at ISO 800 but older books will talk about pictures being grainy. Choosing an ISO is based on the environments, available light, the subject, ability to use a tripod or not, and finally, what type of exposure is desired.
     
  11. I have the book as well, and while I did not do a search for the exact sentence, I think what he was striving for was for the photographer to become familiar enough with a given film speed that they would know what shutter and aperture to use in a given lighting situation. Once you know that, you can alter your settings to get a correct exposure with any ISO. Stuff like f4 and 1/125th at ISO 200 is the same as f4 and 1/60th at ISO 100 or f4 and 1/250th at ISO 400. With that sort of practice, you can look at a scene and say to your self, " That looks like a shot that will need to be about f-stop X and shutter speed Y at film speed Z. "
     
  12. Admittedly with Canons, so not sure how applicable this: I leave mine on 400 for the most part. In low light I'll occasionally push it up to 800, or 1600 if nothing less will do. Or in brilliant sunlight, beach shots I'll take it down to 100, if I remember. But still, 400's my base setting: just a good compromise, 2 stops over 100, and with only a minor noise increase.
     
  13. What if the ISO is set at AUTO? I am using a Nikon D60 and I find in it an option that the ISO can be set at AUTO even when the exposure mode is manual. So effectively you adjust the shutter speed and aperture only. That way I am getting satisfactory results and the ISO readings sometimes show odd figures like 120, 320 etc. One of my photographer friends told me "don't put ISO at Auto, that way you don't learn one part of the exposure".
    What is opinion of the forum please?
    Regards?
    Debasish.
     
  14. "he states in there somewhere to just get familiar with one setting of ISo (example200) and stick with it."​
    I've read the book twice but don't remember him saying that.
    On pages 20-21 he suggests quickly trying ISO 100, then 200, then 400, then 800.
    On pages 154-155 he says 99% of the time he shoots at ISO 100 when using film and ISO 125 when shooting digital. He mentions you can use ISO 800 or 1600 if you like to shoot at night or in low-light without a tripod and then shows an example.
    His example photo is very telling. It was taken with a Nikon D1x (circa 2001) and at ISO 800 it's grainier than a modern Canon or Nikon will produce at ISO 3200.
    Granted this was written a few years back, but would any of you recomend setting your camera with 1 ISO setting or take advantage of all your settings?​
    If you mean long-term, that's a trade-off between convenience and image quality. I set my wife's camera to Auto-ISO, and the one before that to ISO 400. Me? I aim to maximize image quality so I usually control it by tapping a button and turning a knob. My camera's "down" for about 1.5 seconds when going from inside to outside but I get better pictures for it.
     
  15. What if the ISO is set at AUTO? I am using a Nikon D60 and I find in it an option that the ISO can be set at AUTO even when the exposure mode is manual.​
    If you're using ISO=AUTO, even if the mode is manual, it's an auto-exposure. The camera's deciding how light or dark the subject should be rather than you. Often it will make the right choice, but sometimes it won't, and its choice may change many times even in the same lighting condition, depending on your subject.
    That way I am getting satisfactory results and the ISO readings sometimes show odd figures like 120, 320 etc.​
    Assuming you're not entering contests or training to be a professional, that may just be enough.
    One of my photographer friends told me "don't put ISO at Auto, that way you don't learn one part of the exposure".​
    You have a choice--learn to improve, or be happy with what you've got.
     
  16. The "shoot manual to learn better" directives are generally intended to force you to pay closer attention to what you're doing and make decisions for yourself. When shooting auto it is too easy to just point & shoot without taking creative control. So if you can use automatic features and still be conscious of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture for each shot, great.
    You can make the argument that ISO has the least 'creative' impact on the picture as it doesn't itself directly freeze motion or determine depth-of-field. On the other hand, taking control of it can allow your camera to register enough light to enable the aperture and/or shutter speed of your choice. If you shoot digital for a while, changing ISO frequently--then pick up a film camera--you can be surprised at just how restrictive a single (loaded film) ISO can be. A personal example--was stuck with ISO 400 film in daylight in an old manual focus body with a 1/1000 top shutter speed...not a whole lot of creative control available here. I had to shoot f/16 or f/22 to get proper exposure at that point. Anything else and the picture would have overexposed.
    So if there's any merit to the idea of shooting in manual to learn, then shooting with manual ISO is probably a good idea too. I don't see why you can't change it but perhaps being conscious of the decisions you make with ISO are a good idea too.
     
  17. Ok so could I get some examples of when to use 200,400,800,1600, and 3200 ISO
    I know they give examples in the manual but I wanted to hear your take on it.
     
  18. Set the camera to Av or Manual.
    Start with the ISO at its lowest for the very best noise control.
    Set the Aperture you need for the DOF you must have.
    Meter the scene.
    If the shutter speed you get is too low, raise the ISO to a point where the shutter speed is acceptable. Doubling the ISO will double your shutter speed.
     
  19. Adam, always use the minimum ISO possible for your desired aperture and shutter speed. With my camera, lenses, and subjects I often quickly roll my ISO to 100 outdoors or in a studio, 400 in a well-lit interior, and 1600 in a dimly-lit interior... then I fine-tune those settings based on my desired aperture and shutter-speed. But your camera, lenses, and subjects are different than mine--so you may use very different ISOs!
     
  20. Digital cameras have improved an awful lot over the last four of five years. Today DSLRs are very good even at higher ISOs. Whatever ISO setting you use depends on how much light you have and what subject you want to shoot. Sports photography of course requires higher ISO settings to get higher speed settings. Besides, you may want to try all the ISO settings to see how your camera reacts and the kind of grain it delivers at higher ISOs. Grain can also be used as an effect on a good DSLR.
     
  21. I have read the book and since he creates his intial 'triangle' around aperture, shutter speed and ISO, i doubt that he suggests to use only one ISO.
    but the common consensus is to use the lowest possible ISO at the aperture and shutter speed you want...and I would go with that completely and would learn to decide the ISO as well as the Aperture, shutter speed, white balance and focus (if you have it manual) before each shot..seems like a lot
    Would not recommend Auto ISO...occassionally has really bad results..especially if u are using a tripod or manage to rest it on something in a low light scenario..the camera does not recognise that...so i decide by aperture (leave shutter speed mostly to the camera..except while shooting sports or something in motion) start with the lowest ISO 200..and then slowly crank it up, till i can 'hand hold' to get a sharp image..
    Its seems like a lot to keep in mind to me as well..and since i am relatively new to using a DSLR..i usually forget to adjust one or the other(usually the ISO or WB) between shots..but i take it as a learning curve..and luckily with a digital, learning requires some time but no extra money!! So enjoy!!!
     
  22. I have read the book and since he creates his intial 'triangle' around aperture, shutter speed and ISO, i doubt that he suggests to use only one ISO.
    but the common consensus is to use the lowest possible ISO at the aperture and shutter speed you want...and I would go with that completely and would learn to decide the ISO as well as the Aperture, shutter speed, white balance and focus (if you have it manual) before each shot..seems like a lot
    Would not recommend Auto ISO...occassionally has really bad results..especially if u are using a tripod or manage to rest it on something in a low light scenario..the camera does not recognise that...so i decide by aperture (leave shutter speed mostly to the camera..except while shooting sports or something in motion) start with the lowest ISO 200..and then slowly crank it up, till i can 'hand hold' to get a sharp image..
    Its seems like a lot to keep in mind to me as well..and since i am relatively new to using a DSLR..i usually forget to adjust one or the other(usually the ISO or WB) between shots..but i take it as a learning curve..and luckily with a digital, learning requires some time but no extra money!! So enjoy!!!
     

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