Choosing an ISO Setting

Choosing the best ISO setting
In traditional film photography, you choose film for a certain sensitivity based upon an ISO rating, such as ISO 100 or ISO 400. Digital cameras also enable you to change ISO settings, which are similar to, but not the same as, film ratings. Digital camera ISO settings come from the camera amplifying the signal from the sensor rather than a built-in rating as in film.

This sensitivity affects how you can deal with certain photo needs, from the amount of light to a desired shutter speed. Low settings such as ISO 100 are less sensitive, or “slower,” than ISO 400 because it takes a slower shutter speed to properly expose the image. A higher ISO setting enables an image to be recorded with a faster shutter speed.

Choosing an ISO setting is one of the most important settings that you can make. High ISO settings, such as ISO 800, enable you to shoot in lower-light settings with faster shutter speeds, but you may end up with more digital noise in your photos. Digital noise is similar to grain in traditional photography and is minimized when you choose a low ISO setting.

Although  digital noise  is generally  an unwanted characteristic of a digital photo, you can use  it as a creative  design  element. In the  days of traditional film, photographers often used grain to add  a romantic look to their people and  travel photos.

You generally  get the  best picture  quality by using the lowest  ISO setting your camera offers, such as ISO 100  or 200.  A high setting,  such  as ISO 1600, will have  considerably more  digital noise. When you edit a digital photo with an image editor  such  as Photoshop Elements, you are likely to get more  noticeable digital noise  when you perform steps  such  as increasing contrast, adjusting saturation, and  sharpening an image.
Choosing an ISO Setting | Victoria Knight | 5