Does different ISO make the colours any different?


TPF Noob!
Apr 2, 2009
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Just a quick one, as my title suggests. Does a different ISO make the colours any better or owrse? And if so, is it a big difference?
Two answers:

1. If you change ISO without changing the exposure, the intensity of the colors will change.

2. If you change ISO and compensate by changing the exposure, the color intensity will not change significantly but the 'graininess' of the image will change.

Depending upon your camera, a properly exposed high ISO image can suffer from several types of color problems. Yes, the difference can be quite dramatic depending upon the camera and how you processed the file.

I've currently got a 350D with sigma 18-50 EX DC.

So what do i need to do to get more dull or brighter colours in my images?
It all depends of the limitations of your gear. I don't know what the 350D is capable of. If it is a consumer grade camera then ISO8000 - ISO1600 is probably your limit. The other part of the equation is the lens. Assuming proper exposure, considering each components limitations, you should still be able to achieve a decent 7x5 print, quite possibly larger.

So what do i need to do to get more dull or brighter colours in my images?
Trial by fire, I'm afraid. The higher the ISO the greater the deteriation of color definition between the pixels.
Changing ISO will change color rendition. Big changes will make bill changes.

The most commonly noticed affect of increasing ISO from the base ISO is an increase in noise. This distracts most forum conversations on the effects of ISO change away from the more subtle color and tonal changes.

At higher ISOs there is a reduction in tonal range which affects the range of colors that can be reproduced. Color saturation is also affected but automatic tweaks are generally applied in an attempt to compensate. This works well, but still doesn't fix the limited color palette available at higher ISOs.

If you check out the plots for various cameras at Welcome to (beta), a free resource dedicated to RAW-based camera image quality, particularily the Tonal Range and Color Sensitivity tabs, you'll see a graphic representation of how these image quality attributes fall off as the ISO is increased.

Most reactions