ISO | Summer Photo Challenge09.01.12

This is the last post of this series!  Just in time as I will be diving into sharing a bunch of client sessions over the next little while:)  So, the last part of the exposure equation that we have been discussing for the last few weeks is ISO.  The ISO determines how sensitive the digital sensor is to light…how much light is needed to burn an image.  The ISO can range typically from ISO 100 to ISO 800 to ISO 5000 and beyond.  The higher the ISO the more sensitive the sensor is to light (and again you will have to consider the other two factors aperture and shutter speed).  ISO will also determine how much grain (noise) an image has.  The higher the ISO the grainier the image is.  This is why you would usually want to keep your ISO as low as possible (although I do not mind a little grain at times for the right image).

Here is an example of the graininess of the higher ISO (I have enlarged this image so you can see):

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The first looks very grainy compared to the second.

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In sports photography, a higher ISO is typically used so that a faster shutter speed can be used to stop the action (particularly for indoor sports).  I like the high ISO capability so that I can shoot in low light situations – this is definitely a factor I take into account when purchasing new equipment.  Test yours out and see what you can get without using flash – remember you have to be in manual mode to be able to manipulate ISO and the remaining factors (aperture and shutter speed).  Practice, practice, practice so that you can capture those moments quickly.  And practice before the big events (like birthday parties) come so that you do not miss the moments.

Here is a few examples of pictures with higher ISOs:

first one is f2.8, shutter 1/125 and ISO 2200

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The second one is f3.5, shutter 1/1000 and ISO 8000_DSC8043a

The last image is at f1.4, shutter 1/80 and ISO 1600_DSC6475 copy

Good luck with your shooting!

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