Auto ISO with manual mode. Am I making a mistake ?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by nixgeek, Aug 14, 2019 at 3:39 PM.

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  1. nixgeek

    nixgeek TPF Noob!

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    Hi All,

    I'm using a Nikon d810, and my go-to default setting is to use auto-iso in manual mode. I can quickly change the aperture and shutter speed, which are the most common variables I change when having to quickly pick up my camera and get that moment.

    Obviously, the camera then sacrifices the ISO to get a decent exposure. For more planned shots, like astro or landscapes, I'll use manual ISO as well, but it's a luxury I don't always have when the kids decide to do something funny there and then. I'm fortunate to use chunky glass f/2.8 stuff (it's good for the biceps at least :)) , so it's not often it takes me past iso 3200 which the camera/lightroom can deal with.

    Finally, the question....

    I've read in a number of places I should be using either full manual, aperture/shutter priority and I'm really keen to hear of others experience of auto-iso and if I've overlooked something important.

    Thanks!


     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019 at 3:47 PM
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Auto ISO is my SOP. Dial in the aperture and shutter speed I want for the shot, and let the camera choose the ISO.

    Cameras and editing apps are getting so good with higher ISOs these days that shooting with it isn't much of an issue. Back in the day, shooting ISO (ASA then) 400 or more was pretty much crap. Nowaways, it's 6400 or 12800.
     
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  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yep provided that the light is manageable for the built in meter to work with (with or without some compensation from you) then its a valid approach for ok lighting where you're not worried about the ISO and where your shutterspeed and aperture are far more important. If all you are going to to do is raise the ISO anyway then let the camera do it - its faster than you will ever be. Of course ilke all automatic elements keep an eye on it, bare in mind the scene and how the meter will read it (eg if you're shooting all snow the camera will underexpose if left on its own to expose the scene).
     
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  4. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Auto ISO ? Why not...........
     
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  5. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    As long as you're judicious about the shutter speed and f/stop choices you make then auto-ISO is fine. If you're sloppy and select a shutter speed that's 3 stops faster than you really need the camera has no choice but to exchange those three stops for increased ISO. If you just want to be able to grab the camera point and shoot you can set auto-ISO and leave the camera in Program mode -- the camera will try and optimize all three variables. But if you have time to take the photo deliberately and you're setting the most appropriate shutter speed--f/stop then auto-ISO makes logical sense.

    Joe
     
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  6. nixgeek

    nixgeek TPF Noob!

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    I see what you are saying about the f-stop. I've had the camera for a while so I can usually guess the f-stop required within a stop. If I've screwed up and it's beyond my desired iso it flashes red on the image to warn me that I've been a muppet. Thanks though, it makes sense.
     
  7. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Supporting Member

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    Agree with all of the above. Manual with auto ISO is my go to mode unless I'm in the studio.

    There are a couple of reasons people may say this. Sometimes it's to ease people out of the dreaded green auto mode but more often than not it's narrow minded people that think there's only one way to shoot. I generally ignore anyones opinion that comes with a blanket statement. Yes I see the irony in that statement. lol

    As for what's right for you. It's always fun to experiment with new settings/ways of shooting but in the end go with whatever mode you are comfortable with and gives good results.
     
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  8. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I use that setup a lot, it's also my go to setting for general shooting. Dead easy to then bump the shutter speed or aperture from there.

    I find that there's very few situations I shoot in where I don't want to control both and my camera defaults to 1/60th sec or wide open far too easily.

    Shooting in full manual I prefer, but sometimes there's just not the time to set up shots.
     
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  9. Strodav

    Strodav TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Depends on what you're shooting. If you are in a studio like setting with controlled or consistent bright lighting set your camera to base ISO (best color depth and SNR), I usually use A mode for still subjects to blur the background when desired, and S for things that are moving to freeze the subject. For landscapes, base ISO, A mode with a high f stop for greater DOF without refraction, and I don't usually care about the shutter speed unless I've got water or clouds moving. For wildlife, especially birding, manual mode, usually open aperture or one stop up, shutter somewhere around or above 1/1000, auto ISO from base to about 1600. For fast birds, like songbirds, I'll be at 1/2500 sec. Sport, same as wildlife / birding except shutter around 1/500 or 1/800. Don't get locked into a specific setting. Use the right tools for the job. So here's my exception, I always, always use BBF.
     
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  10. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It goes get pretty annoying when you're trying to expose for something specific and you don't use AE-L. I used to use it a lot, and have used it less and less over time.
     
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  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    With a class leading performer like the Nikon D810,or a similar full frame camera such as the D 600 or 610, or D 800 or the D850 The ISO performance is so good that I personally think auto ISO in manual mode is the default Mode that more people should explore. You have been given solid advice above by several very competent shooters. For non-flash and non-studio situations and rapidly changing lighting conditions, auto ISO with modern Nikon cameras is very usable. A decade ago iso performance was a constraint, But with cameras such as yours ISO performance is now so good across a wide range of settings that it makes sense to use automatic ISO setting,especially in certain conditions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019 at 11:50 AM
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  12. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Joining the crowd - this is the way I shoot most of the time for action, landscapes, kids, animals, nature... unless I'm using my tripod or I have a specific need to keep the ISO low. Auto ISO is a pretty common setting especially in dynamic situations where you don't have time to adjust before each shot.
     
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