What ISO Setting Do I Use When?

 

The ISO settings can be confusing at first, but once you understand what it does it is easy to master. First, let's talk about what ISO is. ISO is the digital equivalent of film speed. By changing your ISO, you change the sensitivity of your camera's sensor. This sensitivity setting helps determine what your other settings are. By having a low ISO the camera's sensor will need more light to make an exposure. If you boost your ISO setting, then the camera won't need as much light, and you can then shoot in darker environments. However, you should not leave your ISO on a high setting just because it is more sensitive because high ISO has some major drawbacks. The first is grain a sharpness.  As you increase your sensitivity, the image gets noisy (digital equivalent of grain) which lowers sharpness and contrast. Also, higher ISOs can't record as much color information as lower settings. Basically, the higher the ISO, the worse your image quality. So how do you use it then? I recommend that you leave your camera on ISO 400 whenever you put it away. That way whenever you grab your camera, you know that your ISO isn't too high or too low. From there, you should adjust your ISO as the lighting situations change. If it's bright out, lower your ISO as much as you can. If it's darker, then you may be forced to use a higher setting. Basically use the ISO you need to to get the shot, but keep it as low as you can in the process.

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