We’re back with photo tips! If you missed our last post on ISO, you can find it on our blog.
So you now understand that ISO defines your camera’s sensitivity to light. You know that a lower number means that it is less sensitive and a higher number means that it is more sensitive. So now the question is, why don’t you just use the most sensitive ISO all the time? Things could be so much easier, just keeping on one setting all the time and changing everything else according to that. You could do all your indoor shots without flash, you wouldn’t have to worry about low light situations, and even in brighter light you could have one less thing to think about, right? Well, the problem is that when you change your ISO, you are also changing the quality of your image. When you have a low ISO (ex. 100), the quality of your image is top notch! With film, you would hardly have any film grain, and with digital hardly any noise. But when you use a higher ISO (ex. 800 or 1600) the quality of your photograph is going to go down. You will have a lot more grain or digital noise in your photograph.
Digital camera’s today have come a long way by having better quality with a higher ISO. And the digitalness (I know, that’s not a word!) of the photographs look even closer to grain than they once did, or maybe our eyes are just getting used to it! I often use 800 ISO in lower lighting situations and the images are still high quality. Even 1600 is decent on newer models, but I avoid it as much as I can. However, I don’t recommend 1600 at all with older models such as the Canon 20d.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Sometimes I may decided that I want a grainy photograph and will then purposely use a higher ISO. This can give the image more of a vintage feel. Sometimes people will even go back and add grain to their photograph to give this type of look.
So what is the rule of thumb? Always use as low of an ISO as you can.When you are outdoors in bright light, use 100 or 200. When you are indoors, if you can shoot at 400 with your flash, do it! But if not, use 800. Don’t be afraid of grain either, you can still have a beautiful image with a vintage look. There are also programs out there that can take away some of the grain, but I personally would rather see it than take it away. This was taken at 200 ISO.This was taken at 1600 ISO. Can you see the difference?