ISO selection in day time shooting....
Hi guys,.

I've been checking galleries all over the dp forums and noticed that some pics were shot in a higher ISO setting like ISO 200 and sometimes ISO 400 in daytime. Why not just ISO 80 since it gives you the best IQ? I'm confuse. I thought you only use ISO 200+ in night/low light shooting. Can someone explain this to me? Thanks...

Comments (13)

Slightly different issue discussed, but answers your question, I think:.


Comment #1

Spade357 wrote:.

I've been checking galleries all over the dp forums and noticed thatsome pics were shot in a higher ISO setting like ISO 200 andsometimes ISO 400 in daytime..

Sure. But ISO 200 is not "high", neither is 400 - at least for a modern camera..

Why not just ISO 80 since it gives youthe best IQ?.

In theory, yes. In practice - take a shot at ISO 80, then at ISO 200. Compare for IQ (and I mean a realistic comparison, not a pixel peep that no-one is ever going to use in real life viewing of the photo)..

If you can see a difference, by all means stick with ISO 80. Or buy a new camera, because I would suggest that any camera that can't produce decent IQ at ISO 200 is either very old, or faulty..

I'm confuse. I thought you only use ISO 200+ innight/low light shooting..

400, 800 and above are for nigh/low light shooting. 200 is a perfectly "normal" ISO..

And of course - ISO 80 is pretty slow. Even in good lighting conditions it may limit the photographer's options for shutter speed and aperture selection. Shooting at a higher speed like ISO 200 may be necessary to get the desired result. And, as I said, it's not like you're sacrificing IQ in the process..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #2

1. Most cams have a base ISO of 100 not 802. Some cams - quite a few - e.g Nikon D50 have base ISO of 200.

Any modern DSLR will have zero problems shooting at 200 (or 400) ISO. It is only point & shoot cams that struggle massively at such ISO speeds because of their tiny sensors..

I tend to leave both my cams (Nikon D50 and D80) set at ISO 200 for daylight use for simplicity. The D80 has marginally better highlight dynamic range at 200 ISO than at 100..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #3

I am obviously not sure which shots you are refering to. However you might want to increase ISO in the daytime potentially if you are shooting with a long fast lens. Since ISO impacts Apature for a given focal liength. Setting a higher ISO will stop down the apature and provide a deeper depth of field..

If you want to see the impact of F stop vs DOF for a given focal lenth there is a DOF calculator on-line. Here is the link..



Olympus E-500, Olympus E-510..

Comment #4

Or increase the shutter speed, depending on what shooting mode (Av or Tv) you're in..

Maddogmd11 wrote:.

Since ISO impacts Apature for agiven focal liength. Setting a higher ISO will stop down the apatureand provide a deeper depth of field...

Comment #5

I usually leave ISO at 200 for outdoors and 400 (or up) for indoors. I find no discernible IQ difference vs. a lower ISO. My best friend uses at least ISO 400 all the time; his pictures are fine too..

Ironically (actually not), the only time I use ISO 100 is shooting a night scene. Long exposures of a dark scene requires a low ISO to keep noise down...

Comment #6

I assume that the OP is referring to compact cameras since he refers to ISO 80, which I don't think any DSLR has, and his other posts have been in non-DSLR forums..

Clearly on many compact cameras there is a significant difference in noise between ISO 100 and ISO 200. This difference doesn't exist on DSLRs. If he is comparing a noisy compact camera to DSLR images in galleries, it is not surprising that he has asked the question that he has..

I would also like to point out that on many DSLRs, e.g. most Nikons up to the D200 and some Pentaxes, the lowest ISO setting is 200.Chris R..

Comment #7

As others have said, the larger sensors on DSLRs compared to a compact camera mean you can get good noise-free pictures at ISO400 easily. I've regularly used ISO 400 iwhen it wasn;t essential because.

(i) I wanted a very fast shutter speed (1/1000) to capture e.g. a bird in flight with a lens that has a modest maximum aperture (f/5.6 at 200 mm)..

(ii) With flash you can of course use a low ISO setting. But in, for example, a room with reasonably bright tungsten lights it is better to try and balance the flash illumination (foreground) with the room illumination (background). Otherwise the room behind the subject looks black..

Suppose you set the camera to ISO100 and use a flash to take a picture of a person, in a room where the ambient light requires an exposure of 1/8 sec at f/4. WIth a flash the shutter speed will be (say) 1/60 sec, and with the lens set at f/4, the person will be correctly lit but the background will be very dark (3 stops underexposed), which looks like the person is in a cave. if you increase the ISO to 400, and again take the picture at 1/60 and f/4, the subject will be correctly lit because the flash exposure will shorten to compensate for the higher ISO. but the background of the room is now only underexposed by one stop, i.e. it shows up pretty well, and may even be correctly exposed if some residual light from the flash reaches the background. Result: foreground (flash) and background (room light) both correctly exposed and a much nicer looking picture.

It might seem odd to turn up the ISO when you use a flash, but it can work very well in this type of situation..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #8


Lots of good cameras had ISO 80 as the start point, including dSLR's. But 100, 200, 400 etc is better looking than 80, 160 etc. Although I doubt if the differences would be noticed. It's a vast improvement on elderly colour film which could be all of 8 or 12 (that was 8 or 12 and not 80 or 120, btw)..

If anyone is interested this might be usefull. Although it refers to film the message is the same..


Regards, David..

Comment #9

Wow, lots of information goodies; you guys are good. I guess I'm still a long way of learning the relation between the aperture, shutter and ISO, but I'm getting there thanks to you guys. I'm gonna be in this forum for a long, long time for sure. Anyways, I'm still deciding between a G9 and the Xti. Thanks guys...

Comment #10

Re>Why not just ISO 80 since it gives you the best IQ?<.

Not enough of a difference that anyone would ever notice..

On the other hand, once you get a lens with any kind of telephotoness to it 50mm on most digital single lens reflex cameras, the extra shutter speed available keeps phtos shrper. So, ISO 200 yields better image quality than ISO 80..


Comment #11

Remember that the ISO setting is but one player in the exposure equation. Apereture and shutter speed are there as well. Even in bright light, if you need a fast shutter speed (to capture a moving subject) *and* a small apereture (to give a large depth of field) then you may still well end up needing a higher ISO setting to get the right exposure..

Alternatively, many folks will set a DSLR to ISO 200 and leave it there most of the time. The IQ difference between 200 and 100 (or less) is miniscule. Certainly not worth missing a shot in lesser light because you had the ISO cranked down to the bare minimum...

Comment #12

I'll go along with that and add that if you make a point of sticking to (say) ISO 200 for a while you'll be fairly "safe" and will have more time to concentrate on the aperture/speed relationship..

Imagine, if it will help, that the exposure value is a value like a price is a price. So something, might cost 100 whatevers ($'s, 's etc) and you have to pay for it. So you offer either one 100, or two 50's, or five 20's, or ten 10's, or twenty 5's or a sack of one hundred 1's. All different but all the same amount..

Point being that the value is fixed but there's several ways of getting the same exposure. A bit over simplified but....

Regards, David..

Comment #13

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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