Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Entertainment/Gaming/Gadgets

  • Print
  • + Share This
From the author of Key #5—Crank Up the ISO (But Not Too Far)

Key #5—Crank Up the ISO (But Not Too Far)

Remember ISO film speed ratings? As the light got lower or the action got faster, the Great Yellow Father (Eastman Kodak) recommended switching from ISO 200 to changing to a faster (higher ISO) film such as ISO 400 or ISO 800. With digital cameras, you just adjust a setting in a camera menu to accomplish the same thing.

In Auto mode, most cameras adjust the ISO for you from about 80-320, but if you’re using a creative mode, you’re in charge of ISO. Which ISO settings should you try for hand-held dim-light and night photography? Check them out:

  • ISO 200—Flash photography up to about eight feet away.
  • ISO 400—Flash photography beyond eight feet; general and action photos in a brightly-lit interior or at night.
  • ISO 800—General and action photography in a dimly-lit interior or at night (Figure 7).
  • ISO 1600—Very dim light. Very grainy results, especially with point-and-shoot cameras (Figure 8). Use ISO 1600 or higher only if you can’t get the photo any other way and don’t mind losing detail and sharpness.

Figure 7 ISO 800 and a “fast” lens (maximum aperture of 2.8 or wider) helps capture the action in this high school basketball game.

Figure 8 Point-and-shoot cameras have small image sensors, so ISO 1600 photos like this are practically unusable.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account