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When To Use ISO Function.  
User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3305 times:

Might be a start of a healthy debate, let's hope. So, in general we know we can influence a photo with 3 inputs; aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Until recently I was very careful (still am but to a lesser degree now) with how I increased ISO values. This being mainly down to the purchase of my first (and only) Canon 1 series.
I'd be interested in hearing how you let ISO come into play in your photography. If for nothing else it might make for a better understanding on my behalf....
I'll stick my neck out, however, and state that I generally only fiddle with ISO when I'm not comfortable anymore that I have full control over the remaining 2 inputs.
Spence.


EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3299 times:

Quoting spencer (Thread starter):
and state that I generally only fiddle with ISO when I'm not comfortable anymore that I have full control over the remaining 2 inputs

Pretty much the same here, although I'd rather bump up to ISO400 than go below f/5.6 (for aviation)

I usually leave it at ISO200, unless it's very bright or I'm trying to lose some shutter speed (panning, etc.). ISO200 is a good balance between clean images and a decent shutter for me.

Karl


User currently onlinestevemchey From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 370 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3287 times:

Quoting spencer (Thread starter):
I generally only fiddle with ISO when I'm not comfortable anymore that I have full control over the remaining 2 inputs.

I think that is an OK approach for some situations. If you can achieve the image you have in mind by just changing aperture and shutter speed, then this is perfectly fine. However, I think this is very dependent on the situation. Here are a few examples:

If I take a landscape shot, with no moving objects, I make the shutter speed the most variable setting. I could be OK with a 4 second or 1/1000 second exposure. Whatever the situation requires. The further out I take that setting, the more likely I am to start messing with my second variable. In this case, I might want to keep my ISO low, but am willing to up it (or lower it) a little to give me some extra range with the shutter speed. In this particular case, I might try to keep the aperture at my desired setting (let's say f/16), because depth of field is what makes or breaks my artistic composition.

Shooting a soccer match, I might take a completely different approach. If I want to freeze the moment the player is taking a shot and at the same time isolate him from the background through some shallow field of depth, my most variable setting becomes the ISO value. If I know I need at least 1/500 for this situation to not have any blur, this setting is not very flexible. To get little depth of field I might want to be locked in at f/2.8. So at this point, I am willing to go up many stops on the ISO, before I ever touch the other two. Once I start worrying about the image quality due to the grain, I might be willing to compromise 1/2 stop of the aperture. At that point, artistic concepts have to be balanced with real world situations.

Now, shooting for A.net, you might want to lock your ISO down, because you are worried about grain. In that case, the other two values are all you have to play with. Again, it really depends on your desired outcome and what you are willing to sacrifice.

That's why it is so important to not only understand the exposure triangle and its influence on exposure, but also what artistic effects each of the three settings have. That's exactly what makes the difference between a basic user of a point and shoot camera and the photographer using a DSLR in full manual mode. Yes, you might end up with the same picture, but when you are using full manual mode, you make a photo, not just take it.


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4861 posts, RR: 25
Reply 3, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3282 times:
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Personally, I handle the three controls in the following order. First, I determine my aperture based on what I'm trying to do...if I'm taking a portrait I want it wide open, for landscape stopped down etc... Then I figure out the shutter speed I need to get a sharp shot and then I set my ISO at a value that will give me the desired shutter speed at my desired aperture. Therefore I have no problem pushing ISO to it's limits. I will shoot at ISO 6400 if I have to.


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinedarreno1 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 224 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3266 times:

Quoting spencer (Thread starter):
I'll stick my neck out, however, and state that I generally only fiddle with ISO when I'm not comfortable anymore that I have full control over the remaining 2 inputs.

This is pretty much how I use it however I also consider exposure compensation and may use that in place of increasing ISO. Generally I hover between 200-400 for daylight shots but like many, 200 is the norm.



Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF
User currently offlinespencer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1635 posts, RR: 17
Reply 5, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3258 times:

Quoting spencer (Thread starter):
I'll stick my neck out, however, and state that I generally only fiddle with ISO when I'm not comfortable anymore that I have full control over the remaining 2 inputs.

Now, I'm not saying I don't expand on this. This was a generalization, pertinent to how I normally shoot, in aviation. But, on the other hand I would gladly take tips or advise from others where ISO would be my primal concern.
So far a lot of how I've been shooting, with playing with the ISO settings especially, is (to a point) a little trial and error. With that I mean the further I go up the ISO scale the more concerned I am with how it will effect the outcome. Luckily I have a great camera (1Dmk4), so it helps a lot. But I'll admit with the bigger numbers comes the use of sums where I'd normally be content with my take on things lower down the ISO scale.
Spence



EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10342 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3251 times:

When I was starting out last year, I was generally afraid to bump up even to ISO400, due to noise. In hindsight, this was mostly because I wasn't yet schooled enough to expose correctly (still working on that!).

Now, I'm more willing to use ISO as a tool to achieve a correct exposure. But for airplane photography I generally won't bump ISO until shutter speed is down in the 1/20-1/30s range and the aperture is down to F5 or 5.6.

For non-airplane photography it's a different story. Last night I was down at the beach during and after sunset taking some photos. I took a bunch at ISO800, and even some at 1600. I got the exposures I was looking for, and the noise was controllable with some moderate NR. Since my landscapes are generally taken at narrow apertures (last night varied between F7.1 and F20-something), and I wasn't using a tripod, I didn't have as much freedom with shutter speed and ISO. The last few photos I took, when it was pretty dark, were probably at 1/8s, F7.1-F10, and ISO800 or 1600.



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User currently onlinestevemchey From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 370 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 3197 times:

Quoting darreno1 (Reply 4):
however I also consider exposure compensation and may use that in place of increasing ISO

Just to clarify, exposure compensation does not change how shutter speed, aperture and ISO work together. All it does is tell your camera that you want a picture exposed brighter (or darker) than what the camera thinks is correct. It doesn't do anything in full manual mode and in semi auto mode, it only alters the variable that is not locked down (i.e shutter speed in aperture priority and aperture in shutter speed priority mode). If you have an underexposed picture and you want to get it exposed correctly, you have to chose to either up the ISO, slower the shutter speed or open up the aperture. Changing the exposure compensation is just the same as changing either the aperture or shutter speed (depending on your semi auto mode).


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4861 posts, RR: 25
Reply 8, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3191 times:
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Quoting stevemchey (Reply 7):
Just to clarify, exposure compensation does not change how shutter speed, aperture and ISO work together. All it does is tell your camera that you want a picture exposed brighter (or darker) than what the camera thinks is correct. It doesn't do anything in full manual mode and in semi auto mode, it only alters the variable that is not locked down (i.e shutter speed in aperture priority and aperture in shutter speed priority mode). If you have an underexposed picture and you want to get it exposed correctly, you have to chose to either up the ISO, slower the shutter speed or open up the aperture. Changing the exposure compensation is just the same as changing either the aperture or shutter speed (depending on your semi auto mode).

Exactly. What people don't understand is that you might as well be in manual when depending on exposure compensation. Moving to -EV in AV mode is same as increasing your shutter speed while leaving aperture and ISO constant...and vice versa.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10342 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3172 times:

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 8):
What people don't understand is that you might as well be in manual when depending on exposure compensation.

While I understand what you're saying, it doesn't work that way for me. I use Av mode for airplane photography because I'm just not that good at quickly tweaking shutter speeds and such as an aircraft moves across my field of view. And the first shutter speed I select if I'm on manual is usually not quite correct.  

So I tend to use Av and exposure compensation as needed until it gets fairly dark out, at which point I'll switch to manual (if I'm still shooting!). I've found that Av doesn't work so well in low light.

Now it would be great to get to the point where I can select the necessary shutter speed quickly. One day...



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4861 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3161 times:
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Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):
While I understand what you're saying, it doesn't work that way for me. I use Av mode for airplane photography because I'm just not that good at quickly tweaking shutter speeds and such as an aircraft moves across my field of view. And the first shutter speed I select if I'm on manual is usually not quite correct.  

You can either meter in AV first as a starting point, then switch to manual or, the camera tells you in the viewfinder whether your exposure is high, low or on the money while in manual.

I recently shot a stage show and at first, I played with the EV setting. In dark environments, the camera wants to expose for a much brighter scene than what is accurate to what the eye sees. So this often leads to over exposure with highlights blown. I realized after some trial and error that I had better control by adjusting the shutter speed in manual. That way, if I needed to maintain a good shutter speed, I could easily change aperture at the same time.

I realize aviation isn't as challenging as other environments, but especially in dark environments I think you are better off playing with manual controls than just fiddling with exposure compensation.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10342 posts, RR: 26
Reply 11, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3137 times:

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 10):

You can either meter in AV first as a starting point, then switch to manual or, the camera tells you in the viewfinder whether your exposure is high, low or on the money while in manual.

Yes, I do know that  

My point being, when I'm tracking an airplane that's only in view for a few seconds, I don't want to accidentally flip the shutter speed the wrong way or something (it happens more often than I'd like!). Plus it helps me right now to be able to focus on the airplane, and not have to glance at the light meter.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 10):

I realize aviation isn't as challenging as other environments, but especially in dark environments I think you are better off playing with manual controls than just fiddling with exposure compensation.

Which is what I said:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):
until it gets fairly dark out, at which point I'll switch to manual (if I'm still shooting!). I've found that Av doesn't work so well in low light.

Also, though I didn't mention it, for non-aviation photography, I'm almost always on manual. And I'm hopeful that I'll be able to switch to manual for aviation as well. Time will tell.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 769 posts, RR: 16
Reply 12, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3137 times:

As far as I'm concerned, noise is given far more attention than necessary. With current cameras and noise reduction software, choice of ISO with regards to noise is almost irrelevant - furthermore, I personally don't object to a bit of luminance noise (colour noise is another matter). Some pics look 'unnatural' if they are silky smooth!

BUT higher ISOs have other effects not so easily measured or described (hence, I guess less talked about). Tonal range decreases as ISO increases, as does color accuracy. The exact effect will vary from camera to camera. I think if you were shown 2 images taken at 100 ISO and 800 ISO which had been processed so that they were noise free you would still be able to easily pick out the 800 version.

Anyway as far as my shooting is concerned, I generally have a good idea of the aperture and/or shutter speed I want to use in a given situation. If 100 ISO allows me to use my preferred settings, then I'll stick to that. If not, I'll change gear and happily shoot up to 400 ISO. Beyond that I think (based on 5D/1DIII) the quality trade-off gets a bit problematic. On my 7D I'm not really happy above 100ISO.

I've said this before, but as far as creative control is concerned, I would really like to see a camera with 50 and 25 ISO settings - I use the pseudo 50 ISO 'L' setting quite a lot.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently onlinestevemchey From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 370 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3134 times:

Quoting ckw (Reply 12):
I've said this before, but as far as creative control is concerned, I would really like to see a camera with 50 and 25 ISO settings - I use the pseudo 50 ISO 'L' setting quite a lot.

I am so glad I am not the only one thinking this. I used to regularly buy ISO50 film and never understood why there is no real ISO50 (or lower) capability on modern DSLRs.


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4861 posts, RR: 25
Reply 14, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3130 times:
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Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 11):
Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 10):

You can either meter in AV first as a starting point, then switch to manual or, the camera tells you in the viewfinder whether your exposure is high, low or on the money while in manual.

Yes, I do know that  

My point being, when I'm tracking an airplane that's only in view for a few seconds, I don't want to accidentally flip the shutter speed the wrong way or something (it happens more often than I'd like!). Plus it helps me right now to be able to focus on the airplane, and not have to glance at the light meter.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 10):

I realize aviation isn't as challenging as other environments, but especially in dark environments I think you are better off playing with manual controls than just fiddling with exposure compensation.

Which is what I said:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):
until it gets fairly dark out, at which point I'll switch to manual (if I'm still shooting!). I've found that Av doesn't work so well in low light.

Also, though I didn't mention it, for non-aviation photography, I'm almost always on manual. And I'm hopeful that I'll be able to switch to manual for aviation as well. Time will tell.

Gotcha. My bad.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10342 posts, RR: 26
Reply 15, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3118 times:

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 14):
Gotcha. My bad.

No worries - I'm still an amateur, so any and all advice is appreciated!



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlinedarreno1 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 224 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3093 times:

Quoting stevemchey (Reply 7):
Quoting stevemchey (Reply 7):
Just to clarify, exposure compensation does not change how shutter speed, aperture and ISO work together. All it does is tell your camera that you want a picture exposed brighter (or darker) than what the camera thinks is correct. It doesn't do anything in full manual mode and in semi auto mode, it only alters the variable that is not locked down (i.e shutter speed in aperture priority and aperture in shutter speed priority mode). If you have an underexposed picture and you want to get it exposed correctly, you have to chose to either up the ISO, slower the shutter speed or open up the aperture. Changing the exposure compensation is just the same as changing either the aperture or shutter speed (depending on your semi auto mode).

You are correct and I rarely use it as I'm in manual mode mostly. But occasionally for non-aviation low light shots (which I'm still learning to expose correctly in M mode) or in high contrast, lower light situations where there are dark shadows, it does come in handy as a quick adjustment in ap mode. On the whole though, I prefer adjusting everything manually.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 10):
I realize aviation isn't as challenging as other environments, but especially in dark environments I think you are better off playing with manual controls than just fiddling with exposure compensation.

Even though I'm guilty, I agree with this. I try to use M mode as much as possible and the old saying holds true: 'Practice makes perfect'.



Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF
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