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ISO Workshop

ISO Workshop

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Understanding ISO
Understanding ISO

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Scribme_too on Jun 14, 2013
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06/14/2013

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What do
I
need
to
know about
ISO?
If
you
need fast
shutter
speeds
in
low
light,you'll
need
to
master
your
camera's
I
so
controls
...
W
hen
it
comes
to
making anexposure,there are three key camera settings
that
determine how bright
or
dark a pictureappears:aperture,
shutter
speed and
ISO
.The
first twoof
these control how
much
light enters the camera,by making
the
aperture
in
the lens bigger
or
smaller,and
by
controlling how long
the
imagingsensor
is
exposed
to the
light. The
ISO
setting simply dictates how sensitive
tothe
available light
the
sensor
is
,althoughwhen we say'simply', there's obviously a lot
moreto
it
than that.The
majority of
Canon 0-SLRs havean
ISO
range
of
100-6400,
and you canchoose a setting manually,
or
let thecamera
do it
automatically
for
you.Thehigher
the
ISO
number
,the
more
sensitive
to
light the sensor becomes.This isbecause
ISO
acts a
bit
like the gain controlon a microphone, amplifying the signal
that's
being received.In the case
of
a digitalcamera,the signal
from
each pixel on thesensor is amplified as you increase the
ISO
,and the greater this amplification,
the
lesslight there needs
to
be in
order
to
makean exposure;this is why photographers often use higher
ISO
settings when they'reshooting indoors,
or
at
night. There is atrade-
off
though
:
as
you increase
the
ISO,
you decrease the quality
of
the image.Pictures taken
at
higher
ISO
settings lookcoarse and
grainy-
or
'noisy'
-althou
ghthis
effect
can be mitigated by activating
your
camera's noise-reduction feature,
or
applying noise reduction later in software.
Keep
it
low
So,
how
do
you decide which
ISO
setting
to
use? As a rule,you should
try
to
keep the
ISO
as low as possible. 'Normal' settingsare considered
to
be between ISOlOO and
200,
as it's
at
this end
of
the
ISO
range
that
a camera produces its cleanest, highestquality images.However,these low sensitivities require more light, and longerexposure
times
in
orderto
record a picture
at
a given aperture setting.If there isn't enough light, the
shutter
speed maybecome
too
slow
to
hold
the
camera steady
or
freeze a moving subject.
Low
ight and
low
ISO
=a
slow
exposure. The result?Blurred photos.
You
may be able
to
use awider aperture
to
let
more
light in,
but if
you're already shooting
at
the lens's widest aperture,you'
ll
need
to
increase
the
ISO.
Every
time
you double the
ISO
,you canhalve the
shutter
speed,and this makesexposure
times
twice as fast. For example,
 
if
you
get
an exposurereading
of
1/125sec
at
f/4
atIS0200,
then
bumping
one 'stop'
to
IS0400
would give an exposure
of
1/
250
sec
at
f/4
.
At
IS0800
this
would become1/
500
sec,while
IS01600
gives 1/
1000
se
c,
and so on.Theoverall exposure remains constant. because as you increase one value(ISO)byone
stop
,you decrease
the
other
(shutter
speed) by one stop.Similarly,ISOcan beincreased
to
enableyou
to
usenarrower apertures
for
increased
depth
of
field. Let's take
the
s
ame
example
of
1/125 sec
at
f/4
atIS0200.
Increasing
the
I
SO
to
400
willletyou choose 1/125sec
at
f/5.6,
IS0800
gives1/125sec
at
f/8 and
IS01600
offers
1/125 sec
at
f/
11.
Here,
theshutter
speed remains constant.
but
as
the
ISO
is
increased by one
stop
,
the
aperture
can be closed by one stop,in
order
to
maintain
the
same overall exposure.Ifyou didn't increase
the
ISO,
the shutter
speedwouldhave
to
bec
ome
slower each
time
you
made
the
a
perture
smaller.in
orderto
keep
the
overall exposure
the
same. This
may
befine
if
you're using a
tripodto
photographa
stationary
subject,
but
again.
it
can lead
~
11
150
can
be
increased,
to
enable
you
to
use
narrower
apertures"
STEP
BY
STEP
How to
expand
the
ISO
range
on
your
D-SLR
If
light levels are really low, you
may
need
to
boost
the
ISO beyond
the
basic range. Here's how you do
it
..
Upping
the
ISO
11
Press
th
eISOb
utt
onand rotate
th
ema
in
dia
l-
th
eI
SO
w
ill
change
in
th
e viewfinder, andon
th
etop
LCO
.Here,we've reached
th
emax
imum
'no
rm
a
l'
ISO of
64
00
onaCanon
70
.
·
ISO
speed
6400
AUTO
100115
1&o
100
1~
310
400500640 800 1000
1/SO
1600 1000
l'iOO
3100
4000
)()()()
16
4
00l
.
Maxingout
.,_
Press
in
gQ tobring
up
&
th
e QuickCo
ntr
olscr
ee
n,we cansee
th
ata
hi
gherISO is ava
il
abl
e,
th
ough
it
's greyedout. Touse itweneed to ena
bl
e
th
eISOexpansion
Cu
stom Function.
ISO
Expansion
m
Thereasonyou haveto
..
cti
va
teI
SO
expansion separatelyis
th
at
th
ecamera hastousedigit
al
trickeryto create
th
esehighersensitivities; image qualitycan dete
ri
orat
e.
High
point
11
The camera w
ill
dis
pl
ay an'H'where
th
eISO
numb
erisno
rm
a
ll
yfound,toindicate
th
atyou'reus
in
g
th
e
hi
ghest
ISO
se
ttin
g.
On
th
e
70
,thisis
th
e equi
va
le
nt
of IS0128
00
.
 
Low
and
behold
Low ISOs give you smooth shots,whereashighersettings produce increasing amounts
of
noise.Colourscanalso be less faithful
at
very highsettings, and you may see a
drop-off
in dynamicrange. Butwhilethe results may be noisy,it's
better
to
have a sharp, grainy picture than no picture
at
all. That said,Canon has steadilybeen improvingthe quality
of its
sensors, and it'snow possible
to
capturerelativelyclean images
at
IS01600
or
higher.
Auto
ISO
When
to
increase your ISO settings
Select the Auto option in the
ISO
menu,and the camera will set
an
ISO
that
willenable a reasonably fast exposure
for
the lighting conditions. Thisisuseful
if
you're moving quickly between outdoorand indoor locations, and don'twant
to
keep having
to
change
the
ISO
manually.However,
the
camera may select
an
ISO
that'stoo
high in low light, leading
to
very noisy pictures: some
EOS
0-SLRs,such as the
600
and 70, enable you
to
set the upper
limit
for
Auto
ISO.
Press
the
ISO
button
and
rotate
the
main dial
past
ISOlOO
to
select
Auto
(A)Now
lightly
press
the shutter
releaseand
the
camera will
set the
ISO
for
youThe
main
reason
to
switch
to
a
higher
ISO
setting
is so
that
you
can
obtain
a
faster shutter
speed, and
there
areseveral
situations
in
which you
might
want
to
do this
..
Reducing
the
chances
of
camera
shake
Thechances of aphotobecoming blurred throughcamera shakeincrease if the
shutter
speeddropsbelow'one over'the focal length being used(so,
for
example,
1/100
sec
for
an equivalent
100mm
focal length).Dialling
in
ahigher
ISO
will enable you
to
use faster
shutter
speeds.
Freezing
a
moving
subject
Ifyou'rephotographing
sportsor
otheraction with alens
that
hasarelatively'slow'
maximum
aperture (such as
f/5.6
or
f/6
.3) you
might not
beable
to
get afastenough
shutter
speed
for
sharppictures(eg
1/1000
sec),even
in
goodlight,
without
increasing
the
ISO.
Shooting
indoors/
in
low light
Theobvious
one-
and if you're
not
usingatripod, thenboththeabove factors need
to
betaken intoaccounttoo. it's
important to
makea good
exposure-
if the picture's
too dark
andyou
try
to
brighten itlater
in
software,you'll also emphasiseimage noise.
High ISOs and image-stabilised lensesmean you're
not
limited by
a
tripod
You may need wide apertures and highISOs
for
action-stopping
shutter
speedsLow
light
can mean
long
exposure times;shorten
them
by
increasing
the
ISO

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