Saturday, September 12, 2009


The ISO is an easy control to overlook. For most uses setting the ISO on a point-and shoot camera to “Auto” is adequate. Most, if not all, point-and shoot cameras will go to the lowest ISO possible when set at an ISO setting of “Auto” while automatically making a good choice of shutter speed and aperture. The result will be a technically accurate photograph – the best that the camera is capable of with totally automated setting. Choosing the ISO makes more sense with an SLR where the camera operator can choose to manually set the shutter speed and aperture. Choosing the ISO also makes more sense with an SLR, if “Program” or any other automated setting is chosen, since it can be observed as to what shutter speed and aperture the camera plans to use.

ISO does matter. The lower the ISO the brighter the colors and the less noise. I find the noise above ISO 400 on cameras costing less than $1000 to be unacceptable. What level of noise is tolerable is relative to output. My files are made into 13”x19” prints. If my intended output was only screen display, such as email, I could tolerate a much higher ISO.

© 2009 Paul Light all rights reserved


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