You may have mastered how to use the aperture, your camera’s shutter speed and even its focus and brightness settings, but everything will be considered useless if you haven’t figured out the right ISO setting to use for your DSLR. Choosing the right ISO setting will help you get a clearer image quality. At the same time it can greatly affect your image’s exposure. All in all, it plays an essential role towards the image quality of your photo, thus, an important aspect that every photographer should know.
First of all you need to know that ISO (International Standards Organisation) is the measure of how sensitive your camera’s sensor is at any one time. If we go back to the good old days of analogue camera (the days of film), you’ll remember that photographer uses ISO film 200 when taking pictures outdoor in a perfect day, while during night time, many will prefer ISO 400 or ISO 800. Well, we don’t need to buy different films anymore these days and we don’t need to waste the film at all when the weather is changing. The concept of ISO sensitivity has made the leap to digital photography. One of the significant benefits that come in the digital era is that changing ISO is simple as hitting few buttons. In the days of film you needed to change the roll.
The ISO setting that you should have for your camera should be defined by the amount of light that your object is getting. The higher the ISO setting, the higher the light sensitivity will be. This means that more light equates to clearer image. This is one of the simplest facts that you need to know with regard to taking a picture, even when you’re shooting at low light or during the evenings.
Here’s the catch though – there are some instances wherein a higher ISO setting will result in poorer image quality, while there are some situations when it’s better to have a lower ISO setting. Sometimes, higher ISO may result in too much ‘noise’ in your picture – which is not appealing to the eyes and your photo may not be as good as you have expected it to be. Noise is a random speckling effect that becomes worse the higher ISO goes (See picture below).
However, modern top-end model cameras are capable producing some fantastic results with ISOs of 3200 or higher without an appreciable impact on image quality. Then again, the price of these cameras is probably beyond your budget. So, better stick with improving yourself with whatever resource that you have than thinking about spending on the high-end gears.
One thing about ISO that you can learn is ISO, aperture and shutter speed all work in concert. You need to get them in harmony so they will tune to each other, thus producing great result. If your exposure is fine but you need to change one setting (aperture for example), then you probably need to change something else in the opposite direction for the same exposure. For example – if you are shooting at 1/800th with an aperture of f/4 and you cut the shutter speed to 1/400th, you probably need to close the aperture a stop (f/5.6), so you can get the same amount of light coming in. Or else, just keep the aperture the same and halve the ISO.
ISO setting is not being taught at most times – usually, you have to experiment and play with the settings in order to get the right amount of ISO for your camera. Of course, it can be on a case to case basis and you’re the only one that could figure these things out. There are resources that you could refer to online, but often, these sources would only teach you the things to remember when setting your ISO and not the exact settings that you’re looking for.
- Blog Pakar