ISO Tutorial


This tutorial explains ISO.


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Posted on 3rd April, 2016

ISO is one part of the Exposure Triangle.


It is the sensitivity to light by either the film in the camera, or the sensor in digital cameras.


ISO has an impact on the quality of the final image. High ISO values induce what is known as grain or noise into the image. Black and white images usually refer to it as grain, whereas colour images call it noise.


On some cameras, you can manually adjust the ISO setting. There may also be an Auto ISO setting which sets the appropriate ISO for you. You can do this if, for example, you are at the extremes of your shutter speed and aperture settings and can't adjust them further, in order to let enough light into the camera. Or, you might not want to change the shutter speed or aperture, in order to achieve a certain effect.


The image on the left has no noise as it was shot using a low ISO value, whereas the image on the right simulates high ISO.

Low ISO - no noise

High ISO - noisy image

















ISO ranges from approximately ISO 100 to ISO 12800 or even higher.


Try to use the lowest ISO you can to achieve a noise-free image, unless you want to include grain in your picture.


Image: N J Jelley Photography