Need Advice: High vs Low ISO


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Focacy

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Nov 22, 2009
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#1
Hi Al,

I have read that in some cases low ISO is used. Can i know what is the difference taking a picture with high and low ISO? Assuming that both settings will not get under or over exposed with the respective shutter speed set.

Please help to advice. Thanks.
 

NeTHaCk

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Dec 8, 2004
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#2
Hi Al,

I have read that in some cases low ISO is used. Can i know what is the difference taking a picture with high and low ISO? Assuming that both settings will not get under or over exposed with the respective shutter speed set.

Please help to advice. Thanks.
first, do you know what does ISO do ?

A camera's ISO function increases the sensitity of yoru sensor

read more

http://www.articlesbase.com/digital-photography-articles/iso-explained-in-simple-terms-769030.html

high ISO and low iso. they are used in different situations. for an ISO of 200, shutter speed has to go around 1/6 on F2.8 compared to 1/30 f2.8 with iso 1250 ( this is measured now in my room light)
 

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shelomoh

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Mar 17, 2009
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#3
High ISO, lots of noise in the picture. Imagine those photos taken in the 60s or earlier...
Low ISO, not a lot of noise in the picture.

Some people call noise the graininess in the photo. It's the same.

So what is desired? Depends on the photographer. Sometimes there is no choice but to use high ISO because of lighting issues, not fast enough shutter speed, .. .etc. Some times people use high ISO because their cameras are good enough that the noise level is acceptable or they really want the grains in their photos for some artistic reasons.

But generally, most photographers aim for low ISO.
 

NeTHaCk

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Dec 8, 2004
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#4
High ISO, lots of noise in the picture. Imagine those photos taken in the 60s or earlier...
Low ISO, not a lot of noise in the picture.

Some people call noise the graininess in the photo. It's the same.

So what is desired? Depends on the photographer. Sometimes there is no choice but to use high ISO because of lighting issues, not fast enough shutter speed, .. .etc. Some times people use high ISO because their cameras are good enough that the noise level is acceptable or they really want the grains in their photos for some artistic reasons.

But generally, most photographers aim for low ISO.
true to a certain extent. high ISO with its noise or the graininess does create some nice effects.. like back to film days .. but it must be used well . maybe the likes of BWpics .. however.. with cameras being digital today.. it can simply just be edited .... unless you want on the spot
 

erictan8888

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Nov 9, 2004
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#5
Hi Al,
Can i know what is the difference taking a picture with high and low ISO?

if you mean what the pic will turn out like, then take one at iso200 and another at iso3200 and compare them yourself, you should see the difference....

if you mean the process of taking a pic, then low iso will lead to lower shutter speed than the one taken at the higher iso.... how many stops difference will depend on the gap between your iso of the 2 pics (that is if you keep the same aperature)
:)
 

Focacy

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Nov 22, 2009
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#6
High ISO, lots of noise in the picture. Imagine those photos taken in the 60s or earlier...
Low ISO, not a lot of noise in the picture.

Some people call noise the graininess in the photo. It's the same.

So what is desired? Depends on the photographer. Sometimes there is no choice but to use high ISO because of lighting issues, not fast enough shutter speed, .. .etc. Some times people use high ISO because their cameras are good enough that the noise level is acceptable or they really want the grains in their photos for some artistic reasons.

But generally, most photographers aim for low ISO.
Thanks a lot. This is exactly what I wanted to know. Thanks again.
 

DrSpock

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Mar 12, 2009
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#7
The other aspect of low ISO is especially when you are taking a Landscape shot, u wd want to use the lowest possible default ISO of the cam to capture as much details as possible. Obviously with low ISO the SS is longer hence to prevent movement set on a tripod and also for longer exposure you may want to get that smooth pleasing shot like a waterfall or waves.
 

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Blur Shadow

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2005
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#8
To determine what is acceptable ISO to you, you'll just have to shoot the same scene several times with different ISO settings to finally determine what is an acceptable noise level you can handle.

In certain genres of photography, photographers tend to adhere to certain ISOs. For instance, landscape photographers like to use the lowest possible ISO settings to capture maximum detail, dynamic range (most of the time, this occurs at ISO 100-200), and to utilize longer shutter speeds to capture movements, such as cloud movement, light trails etc.

Event photographers have a tendency to set their ISOs at moderately high levels, such as ISO 400 - 1600. This is to ensure that their shutter speeds are fast enough to capture some sharp shots (this overcomes subject movement blur. Do not confuse this with focal blur)

Hope this helps.
 

Focacy

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Nov 22, 2009
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#9
The other aspect of low ISO is especially when you are taking a Landscape shot, u wd want to use the lowest possible default ISO of the cam to capture as much details as possible. Obviously with low ISO the SS is longer hence to prevent movement set on a tripod and also for longer exposure you may want to get that smooth pleasing shot like a waterfall or waves.
Noted. Thanks alot. =)
 

Focacy

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Nov 22, 2009
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#10
To determine what is acceptable ISO to you, you'll just have to shoot the same scene several times with different ISO settings to finally determine what is an acceptable noise level you can handle.

In certain genres of photography, photographers tend to adhere to certain ISOs. For instance, landscape photographers like to use the lowest possible ISO settings to capture maximum detail, dynamic range (most of the time, this occurs at ISO 100-200), and to utilize longer shutter speeds to capture movements, such as cloud movement, light trails etc.

Event photographers have a tendency to set their ISOs at moderately high levels, such as ISO 400 - 1600. This is to ensure that their shutter speeds are fast enough to capture some sharp shots (this overcomes subject movement blur. Do not confuse this with focal blur)

Hope this helps.
Definitely good information for me. Thanks.
 

Focacy

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Nov 22, 2009
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#11
first, do you know what does ISO do ?

A camera's ISO function increases the sensitity of yoru sensor

read more

http://www.articlesbase.com/digital-photography-articles/iso-explained-in-simple-terms-769030.html

high ISO and low iso. they are used in different situations. for an ISO of 200, shutter speed has to go around 1/6 on F2.8 compared to 1/30 f2.8 with iso 1250 ( this is measured now in my room light)
Hi There,

I already know what you have commented. i guess you did not get what i mean. Thanks anyway. =)
 

Focacy

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Nov 22, 2009
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#12
if you mean what the pic will turn out like, then take one at iso200 and another at iso3200 and compare them yourself, you should see the difference....

if you mean the process of taking a pic, then low iso will lead to lower shutter speed than the one taken at the higher iso.... how many stops difference will depend on the gap between your iso of the 2 pics (that is if you keep the same aperature)
:)
Hi,

I wish i can. but my D90 is in the Service center due to the BGLOD (Blinking Green Light of Death). I just got it on 21 Nov 2009. ~Sigh...

Nevertheless, i am just too excited to wait to have an answer. Thanks.
 

Focacy

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Nov 22, 2009
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#13
The other aspect of low ISO is especially when you are taking a Landscape shot, u wd want to use the lowest possible default ISO of the cam to capture as much details as possible. Obviously with low ISO the SS is longer hence to prevent movement set on a tripod and also for longer exposure you may want to get that smooth pleasing shot like a waterfall or waves.
Thanks for your info. i esp like the "smooth pleasing shot like a waterfall or waves."
 

Dream Merchant

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2007
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#14
Hi Al,

I have read that in some cases low ISO is used. Can i know what is the difference taking a picture with high and low ISO? Assuming that both settings will not get under or over exposed with the respective shutter speed set.

Please help to advice. Thanks.
I'm assuming you've gone past the usual discussions about noise, sensitivity and applications etc.

Check online for sensor details or an extensive test on your own camera.

Besides noise and sensitivity, some sensors/algos exhibit slightly different response characteristics at extreme end settings which may result (usually) in more compressed tonal values in different regions. In which case, choosing the lowest possible ISO may not always be the best approach. In the case of very high ISOs, it's usually a matter of requirements (just 'get the shot' no matter what) rather than optimum settings.
 

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Lolrence

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Oct 15, 2006
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#15
To add on, I feel that as you increase ISO, color reproduction gets less accurate. It might be the compression of the dynamic range, as well as the existence of colored noise. YMMV.
 

pinholecam

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Staff member
Jul 23, 2007
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#16
Actually, the answer is rather simple. Just shoot some photos with both and compare the difference ;)

As the others have mentioned, the issue is usually noise.
A rough rule of thumb is to use the lowest ISO that allows you to take the picture you want.
 

Sep 15, 2009
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#17
Hi,

I wish i can. but my D90 is in the Service center due to the BGLOD (Blinking Green Light of Death). I just got it on 21 Nov 2009. ~Sigh...

Nevertheless, i am just too excited to wait to have an answer. Thanks.
WOW in over a month you've got quite some serious collection :bsmilie::

|Nikon D90|N 18-105mm f/3.5|N 50mm f/1.8D|N 70-300mm f/4|T 28-75mm f/2.8|T 70-200mm f/2.8|N SB-900|
 

ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#19
WOW in over a month you've got quite some serious collection :bsmilie::

|Nikon D90|N 18-105mm f/3.5|N 50mm f/1.8D|N 70-300mm f/4|T 28-75mm f/2.8|T 70-200mm f/2.8|N SB-900|
hahahah dun like dat la... It's all a matter of affordability.
I know one retiree who bought D700, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8, and SB900 IN ONE GO.
But such an expenditure is well within his means, so we should be no more than simply envious of such people :) I wish I had that kind of spending power ! :)
 

Sivakis

New Member
Sep 26, 2008
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#20
I always use the following analogy to explain ISO. See if it makes more sense to you.

The project is to use marbles to form a picture on an empty tray. But you get to decide the size of the marbles you want to use.
Restriction is:
Low ISO = smaller marbles
High ISO = larger marbles

Using Low ISO, you will require more marbles to form the picture. It will take longer but the image will be clearer (because more marbles = greater attention to details)

Using High ISO, you will require less marbles to form the picture. It will take a shorter time but the image will not be as clear (because the number of marbles used is less).

In the above example, you can replace marbles with "light".

Similarly on the camera, the higher the ISO, the less light it will need to capture the shot and the lower the ISO, the more light it will need. How much light you give it will depend on your shutter speed and aperture.

So... best advice = take a few low ISO and a few high ISO pictures and see the difference. Play around with low ISO, slow shutter (or wide aperture) and high ISO, faster shutter (or narrower aperture) and see the difference.

Most importantly, have fun :)
 

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