Explaining ISO On Your Digital Camera

ISO on your digital camera refers to the film speed. Your digital camera probably does not take film but it still has the same function. ISO determines how sensitive the image sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the image sensor and therefore the possibility to take pictures in low-light situations. The most common ISO settings are 100, 200, 400, 640, 800, and 1600. The lower the ISO number, the slower the speed. The higher the ISO number, the faster the speed.

General rules for ISO settings are pretty simple. If it’s sunny or very bright outside use a setting from 100 to 200. If it early morning, evening, or over cast use a setting from 400 to 800. If its night you will want to use the highest setting available or the photo will appear dark or not at all.

ISO settings can also affect quality. A low ISO will give you a better quality photo than say a setting 1600. It’s best to use the lowest ISO possible when shooting. The higher the ISO the grainier or more noise the photo will have. When boosting the ISO setting the image sensor is able to record fainter light. Unfortunately an image sensor also generates its own noise. Most digital cameras use 1/1.8 in. image sensors so noise at a high ISO is a problem. Digital SLRs use larger image sensors so noise is rarely a problem for these cameras.

You can always use noise reduction software if you have to use a high ISO to capture a photo. This is better than missing the photo altogether. Keep in mind that if you do a lot of shooting in low lighting you can also upgrade to a Digital SLR. We hope this helped if you had any questions regarding ISO.


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