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need help with ISO settings
I am a beginner and need some help with ISO settings. How do I know how high an ISO setting to use? Is there a basic standard, like this for most indoor shots and this setting for sunlight, and so forth? Maybe there's a website that can give me this information. Thanks for your help...

Comments (11)

That you can get away with. If you can't get a fast enough shutter speed with ISO 100, crank it up to 200, etc..

Lostit wrote:.

I am a beginner and need some help with ISO settings. How do I knowhow high an ISO setting to use? Is there a basic standard, like thisfor most indoor shots and this setting for sunlight, and so forth?Maybe there's a website that can give me this information. Thanksfor your help..

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Comment #1

The range of ISO settings that your camera will have will depend on whether it is a compact or a DSLR. But the general principle is that lower ISO (= lower sensitivity, requring brighter light) gives better image quality. Hence, use the lowest value you can consistent with getting a reasonably fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake..

As a general principle: in good outdoor light use ISO 100. In bright sunshine you could use less than this (ISO 50 if your camera has it). On a gloomy cloudy day increase to ISO 400. Indoors without flash you will need at least 400, probably 800..

If you have a DSLR, whose image quality is inherently much better than a compact, you can increase the ISO without noticing much deterioration in image quality. I regularly use ISO800 indoors without flash and the results look good printed at 10 x 8 inches. A small compact at ISO 800 will yield a very much noisier, poorer picture so only increase the ISO above 100 or 200 if you really have to..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #2

As you can see no real formula. Just play around with it until you get a shutter speed that you want..

Benhttp://www.b3nbrooks.com/blog/ - for my pics...

Comment #3

Thanks for the help. I have an P&S Sony W50. I've been just using the auto setting but I know I need to learn more...

Comment #4

Lostit wrote:.

I am a beginner and need some help with ISO settings. How do I knowhow high an ISO setting to use? Is there a basic standard, like thisfor most indoor shots and this setting for sunlight, and so forth?Maybe there's a website that can give me this information. Thanksfor your help..

The ISO sensitivity is an exposure variable just like shutter speed and f-stops. By doubling the ISO value while leaving both shutter speed and f-stop constant, your exposure will be 1 stop brighter. The main use is when you need a fast shutter speed either because you don't have a tripod or because your subject is moving, and you either *cannot* open your lens up further (ie you are already using your lens wide open and the exposure is still too dark when using the desired shutter speed) or you don't *want* to change the f-stop because you need some depth of field. There isn't such a thing as a free lunch though, and the catch in this case is that image quality will deteriorate when you go up the ISO sensitivity ladder. You either get strange coloured dots in the image (called chrominance noise) or your photographs take on a watercolor-like look (an effect of in-camera noise reduction), particularly if using a compact digicam with a small sensor..

In your particular case, I would suggest that you stick with the lowest ISO value for most of the time, and use a mount (preferably a tripod or at least a small gorilla pod) when you notice your exposures come out dark at the lowest hand-holdable shutter speed with your lens wide open. Mounting your digicam steadily will give you the option of using a slower shutter speed in dim lighting, without getting motion blur from shaky hands. Only raise the sensitivity setting when you have no secure mount available or when your subject itself is moving and you want to 'freeze' it (in the latter case, a tripod is of no use, because you will need a fast shutter speed, so if you cannot open up your lens any further, the only way to get a proper exposure is dialling in a higher ISO setting). In this case, you will need to put up with image quality degradation..

I realise that this quick-and-dirty description might not be entirely clear, particularly if some of the terms are new to you. I have just embarked on a project of putting together an online photography course. Very little material is up as of yet, but I do have one lengthy page of explanation of how shutter speed, f-stops and ISO sensitivity interact.You can find it at http://www.shutterpress.com/3variables.php.

(Do *not* try to click on the links on the left and the right - most of them are dead as of yet, because I have not uploaded much content apart from this page.)Please let me know if it helped make things clear...

Comment #5

Thank you for that link zoltan. I understand what shutterspeed means and aperture and ISO...and what they do but it is hard to understand their relation to each other. I will keep checking out that website to learn more. I can use all the help. Thank you...

Comment #6

One thing to keep in mind when shooting. If your target is relatively static you want to be shooting no slower then shutter speed = focal length of lens i.e. 50mm lens = 1/50th os a second 300mm = 1/300th second ... just to compensate for shake ... if you have an active target ... double or triple that.Richard Herbert, Monterey CAStandout from conformity, 'Only a dead fish swims with the current.'..

Comment #7

Starbug wrote:.

Thank you for that link zoltan. I understand what shutterspeed meansand aperture and ISO...and what they do but it is hard to understandtheir relation to each other..

Exposure = amount of light that falls on the sensor * sensitivity * time..

The amount of light available in the environment (sunlight, light from lamps, flash) and the aperture determine how much light falls on the sensor at any one time..

The ISO setting determines (simulated) sensitivity..

The shutter speed determines the time of the exposure..

As long as you keep the exposure constant (and hopefully set to a good value!), you can change any of the other things. But you have to change them in pairs (or triples, etc.). That is, if you have one group of settings that would produce good exposure, and you want to increase aperture from f/4 to f/8 to get higher depth of field, you can. But that decreases the exposure by 4x ((8/4)^2) so you've got to pay that back somehow. Either by increasing the shutter speed (say, 1/250th of a second => 1/60th of a second), or increasing the ISO (say, ISO 200 => ISO 800), or some combination (1/125th of a second at ISO 400)...

Comment #8

4 things are important for you in this respect:.

1) You need to keep the shutter speed short enough not get a blurry photo (the higher ISO - the faster shutter speed you can get);.

2) You control the DOF via aperture (the higher ISO - the more you can close the aperture for more DOF);.

3) Image quality (the lower ISO - the better quality you get);.

4) The borderline ISO setting for your particular camera (higher than which you don't really want to go because the quality would become unacceptable for you)..

In real life you have to compromise between those all the time, depending on what, where and how you shoot..

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #9

Starbug wrote:.

Thank you for that link zoltan. I understand what shutterspeed meansand aperture and ISO...and what they do but it is hard to understandtheir relation to each other..

There is a good tutorial at the following link. Click on a thumbnail for a larger image.http://www.pbase.com/otfchallenge/the_basicsBruceMcKhttp://www.pbase.com/brucemck..

Comment #10

Chart. I have found this to be an excellent chart, due to it's simplicity, in discussing the relationship of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture in capturing an image on your DSLR camera..

I'm not the author of the chart so all credit goes to Eric Sorensen:.

Http://www.pbase.com/ericsorensen/image/52955921/largeMatt..

Comment #11

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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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