A simple guide when & where to use ISO on your camera!

I could write a massive article detailing the effects of gain signal and noise distribution based on sensor type and size or instead I could just give you a cheat sheet and layman’s guide to what ISO should be used where.

Now before we begin, this article assumes a few things, first is that your camera is handheld and NOT on a tripod, the second thing is that you are using a compact camera or DSLR and not a camera phone.

So what is ISO?

ISO stands for International Standards Organisation; they basically certify that a measurement is within a certain tolerance. So what does that mean me to me? Well in photography terms it means two things;

  1. ISO effects how grainy or noisy your image is.
  2. How sensitive the camera is to light.

Does my camera have an ISO setting?

Yes, even the most basic camera including iphones and Smartphone’s allow you change the ISO level.

So what ISO should I use?

ISO settings vary from camera to camera, some cameras may only have 2 or 3 settings while some fancy DSLRs(Professional looking cameras with big lenses) may have many settings.

Is there a general guide?

Yes most cameras will work from;

100 ISO

200 ISO

400 ISO

800 ISO

1600 ISO

Your camera may be able to go higher or lower.

What does this mean?

High ISO: the more sensitive the camera is to light, but the more noise in your image.

Low ISO: the less sensitive the camera is to light, But you have much less noise in your image.Image

A rough guide to what ISO to select

100 ISO /200 ISO = outside on a sunny day

Image

400 ISO Outside on a overcast day/ inside on a sunny day

Image

800 ISO Indoors/churches/gallery/ sunset

Image

1600+ ISO Concerts/indoor sports/ night

High iso is required for night shots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While not the be all or end all of ISO this is only intended to a rough guide for someone looking to improve their images, to get a real and in depth understanding I would recommend taking any of the photography courses in Dublin available with Dublin Photography School. From complete beginners to advanced courses we can take you where you want to be with your DSLR photography.

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Photography Courses Dublin

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