One of the biggest advantages of digital photography is that you can quickly change the ISO setting in a digital camera. When using a film camera, the film comes in a designated ISO such as 100 or 200, and that means all of the photos on the roll must be shot at that setting, unless you “push” the film. A digital camera enables you to change the ISO speed setting for each individual photo.

The ISO basically represents the camera sensor’s sensitivity to the light. Being able to adjust it with each image was a dream come true for photographers who used various lighting situations for different shots.

You can take photos in low light and then in bright light by simply adjusting the ISO setting.

The Advantages of Auto ISO

In addition, some digital cameras now come with anautomatic ISO setting. This allows you to focus on taking the shot without having to worry about setting the camera’s dial.

While it’s an ideal situation for many people, the auto ISO isn’t always perfect. For instance, the camera may automatically set the ISO without considering the results of the photo.

This is because an increased or higher ISO setting typically results in noise on your photos, which you may not want. Your camera may be able to reach an ISO setting of 3200, but most people will never find themselves in a situation where it’s needed.

However, the camera may not know you don’t want to go as high as 3200, because of the resulting noise.

However, some cameras with auto ISO now let you put a ceiling on how high you want to go. This means you can put a limit on the ISO setting. This means you will have more control over your images. Depending on the camera and the size of its sensor, when the ISO setting reaches 400 or 800 you’ll notice some noise in your images when viewing them on a computer screen.

However, unlike grain, noise isn’t really considered to be artistic or appealing. Most photographers feel its presence ruins a photo. This makes it important to put a limit on the auto ISO, so you don’t end up with photos full of noise.

If your camera has an auto setting feature you may have to look in the owner’s manual to see how to set it. In fact some people may not even realize their camera has an auto setting feature in it.

It’s quite simple though. If your camera is capable of hitting an ISO speed of 3200 and you want to limit it to 1600, just set it for a limit of 1600 and the camera won’t go over that. You may want to experiment by taking some shots first just to see when noise starts to appear in your images.

You can try taking several shots in various lighting situations with different settings to see what you prefer. If you set the auto dial for 1600 and feel the need to raise it in certain situations, it’s easy to turn the auto setting off and adjust it manually or just raise the auto setting.


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