Should I keep ISO as low as possible?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by andytakeone, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. andytakeone

    andytakeone TPF Noob!

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    I know ISO is a sort of artificial amplification of the sensor which adds more grain as it increases,
    but does that mean the ISO should always be kept at 100 unless you absolutely have to increase it?

    I was at a workshop the other week where we were using a flash lighting set up, with a couple soft boxes and a beauty dish and the instructor told us to set our settings to something like f/11, 1/25, ISO 200.

    Why he insisted on the ISO being 200 instead of 100 is what confuses me. If we have a full flash lighting set up, shouldn't exposure not be a problem?


     
  2. EIngerson

    EIngerson Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You should keep it as low as you can while still allowing proper exposure.

    Did your instructor use a light meter?
     
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  3. andytakeone

    andytakeone TPF Noob!

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    Yes, he did.
    So should all studio set ups that have ample lighting be done in ISO 100 then?
     
  4. EIngerson

    EIngerson Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    There is no rule. If he set to ISO 200 and used a light meter I'm assuming he just told you to use the settings he read. You'd be hard pressed to notice a difference between 100 or 200 in a studio setting.

    It could also be that he was wanting to use F11 specifically and needed to get the shutter speed up. 1/25 is slow enough that you'll still rely on your lights to stop motion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
  5. andytakeone

    andytakeone TPF Noob!

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    I see. Thanks.
    So you're saying whether he used ISO 200 or 100 didn't really matter, so he just chose 200 for no particular reason?
    He did want to use f/11 specifically, but what do you mean when you say he needed to get the shutter speed up? He kept the shutter speed at 1/25 at all times, he never wanted anything faster.
     
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  6. sashbar

    sashbar Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It depends on your camera, with modern FF or APS-C cameras you can use higher ISO much more freely than 6 or 7 years ago.
    You may try for yourself, shoot the same scene with ISO 100, 200, 400, 800 etc and compare the IQ. You will be able to decide for yourself how high you would want to allow it without IQ degradation.
    Keeping ISO to basic 100 is one of the most widespread beginners' mistakes these days. You pay for it with slower shutter speed, and end up with blurry images that is much, much worse than hight ISO grain.
    I am shooting with an APS-C FUJI camera and often do not mind shooting with ISO 3200 or even 6400.
     
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  7. andytakeone

    andytakeone TPF Noob!

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    I see, but given you don't have to make any concessions with shutter speed or f/stop, you want it as low as possible right?
    Not necessarily at 100 per se, but at the lowest mark where you don't have to make shutter speed or f/stop concessions, whether that be at ISO 100 or ISO 3200.
     
  8. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If the lights are not very strong an increase in iso may be needed for proper exposure.
     
  9. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There is a possibility that the instructor want to make sure everybody can use the same settings. The base ISO value of some digital SLR cameras is 200 instead of 100 (without boost). i.e. Nikon D300

    Or the instructor tried to lower the flash recycle time.
     
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  10. Scatterbrained

    Scatterbrained Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Generally, the lower iso setting you use the more dynamic range your sensor will display and the less noise will be evident. It's always a compromise, but in general you'll want to keep the iso as low as you can, without going overboard. If you need f/8 and 1/125th then do it, even if that means shooting at iso 3200.
    Shooting with strobes it's unlikely you'd need to shoot over 100-400, depending on the situation. I wonder however why use 1/25th. That doesn't make sense unless you're trying to pull in ambient, at which point it would make more sense to lower the lights output and open up the aperture a wee bit.
     
  11. beagle100

    beagle100 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I agree, shooting at "basic ISO 100" is a mistake --- don't worry about shooting ISO 3200 or ISO 6400 !
     
  12. Dave442

    Dave442 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Even with my older cameras it is hard to see a difference in the ISO 100 to 400 range. With flash I often go to ISO 160 or 200 just to start at. That also lets you drop the ISO back down if you want to. I find it often helps to not be at the limit of any of the settings so you have some room to move.
     
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