ISO Settings typically?


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Jun 27, 2010
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What should the ISO settings be about on a cloudy day? A sunny one? How about aperture and shutter? Thanks for the help!
What should the ISO settings be about on a cloudy day? A sunny one? How about aperture and shutter? Thanks for the help!

Why not let the camera teach you. Look through the viewfinder with the camera in auto and thus get the answer to your question. Many dollars have been spent by a photo company to make sure their product/your camera gets a good photo. Use their money to teach you.
ISO (the sensitivity of the image sensor) should be as low as possible with the given light. Pay attention to your meter, it will help you decide.

Here's how I determine my settings. I decide how much Depth of Field (DOF) I need. I then set my aperture to a value that should get me close to that DOF (you'll need to read about aperture or experiment to get used to what values give you how much DOF).

Once I have my aperture set, I decide if I need a fast shutter speed. If I'm taking a picture of something moving, or don't have a tripod with me, I'll need a fairly fast shutter. So I set my shutter speed as slow as I think will still render the image well. Then I look at the meter.

Based on what the meter shows (too dark, too light), I determine my ISO. Start with your lowest ISO setting (usually 100 or 200). If your meter is to the left of center, the image will be dark, so you'll need to increase ISO. Keep doing that until the meter is at the center mark. If the meter is to the right (too bright), then up the shutter speed to compensate.

That's not how everyone will do it. That's just how I do it.
Im typically at 200- Lo 1 (ISO 100) on a on a sunny day, with my lens somewhere around f2.8- f4 for a single person portrait. If its really cloudy I may go to ISO 400-800 depending on what lens I am using and what my shutter speed has to be.

The way I expose is I set my aperture for my DOF, set my ISO for the situation (I learned this from shooting film) and use my shutter to fine tune my exposure.
Staying at a low ISO is great for noise, but many photographers are afraid to use the upper ISO for noise. I am very comfortable shooting at ISO 3200. I find the noise totally acceptable, and have not once had a client say "This image is to grainy".

I should mention though, a noise removal program is almost a must in your workflow though.
Thank you for the timely and helpful (to me) post, LCARSx32.

I'm right in the midst of embracing manual focus (ie weaning myself off presets) and this is in line with what I've been gleaning from reading and experimentation.

Maybe the lightbulb is going on at last!
A correct exposure can be had with different interdependent settings for all three. The resulting exposure, although correct in all cases, will create a very different effect. All may be correct, but only 1 will be the most artistically correct.

I think I read that in a book somewhere. ;)
I think I read that in a book somewhere. ;)

LOL - I think I did, too. Just last night, actually!

I think I'm right in the midst of the realization that I should know what I want out of a possible picture and then adjust the 3 parts of the exposure triangle to capture that. For a while I was far too caught up in the mathematics of it all (I'm in software, did you guess) but I think that's actually less important than I thought as well as harder to learn right off.

This is why the idea of DOF, then shutter, then ISO is what I'm trying to use to guide my experimentation. Right now I don't have a "gut feel" to rely on but I'll only get that through experience.
To learn more about exposure, you want to take a look at this book.

[ame=] Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs…[/ame]
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It depend. I have fairly fast lenses so usually I can stay 100 or 125. I have never liked going past 200 though on occasions I have.
As you will soon realize that book is a must for all beginners. I read it twice and need to read it again.
How low can you go?
Let's do the limbo.
I typically only use 100... If I can't use 100, I use 1600. Never anything between...

If I can't use 100, the aperture is already wide open, and the shutter speed is already as slow as I can hand-hold. I have to go straight to 1600 just to get f/2 and 1/50th...
I find going into darker areas, that i turn the ISO as high as the camera allows and take some test pics on a nearby object until you lower it as low as you can safely lower it to reduce film noise then once you view it in your lcd moniter with as little noise as possible keep that as your primary ISO for the lighting conditions as they wont change much but if they do then adjust a little on the fly until its correct.

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