{Photography} Changing The ISO Setting In Manual Mode

I took this picture earlier this week and wanted to share even though it doesn’t have anything to do with the post.

Last week I talked about using your camera’s meter to help you take pictures in manual mode.  By following the steps I outlined it can be really easy and so much fun!  But of course, there are additional setting you can change on your camera once you are feeling ready.  One of those settings is the ISO.

Remember back in the day, when you had a film camera and you had to buy film for it?  You could choose the choose the speed…typically 100, 200, 400 or 800.  That is essentially what ISO is on your camera!  The lower the number the less sensitive to light your camera’s sensor is.  So, if you are taking a picture and need more light you can up the ISO so that your camera’s sensor is more sensitive to light.
But there is a tradeoff, with higher ISO you get pictures that are grainier or in other words, they have more noise.  If you are looking at an image on your camera’s screen or in a 4×6 print you may not notice.  But if you want to print a picture that is larger than that or if you want to post a large picture online or do a close crop, you might notice the noise.


Bigger Number ~ More Light ~ More Noise

Smaller Number ~ Less Light ~ Less Noise

Once again, this might not make a ton of sense to you so let me show you some examples.  This picture was taken at an ISO of 100 (f/4.5  1/320).

This one was taken at an ISO of 1000 (f/4.5   1/3200).  Right now it is a little hard to see the difference in noise but if I crop the picture it is easier to see.
If you look at the ISO 1000 picture…especially at the grass…you can see how it is grainier or in other words, it has more noise.

So, the question is WHY would anyone want to up the ISO is they lose image quality? 
Because upping the ISO is another way to add more light to an image and because it allows you to use faster shutter speeds.
I took this picture of a tulip with an ISO setting of 100.  The aperture was set at f/4.5 and the shutter speed at 1/1250.  The  picture is way too dark.
I took this picture by upping the ISO to 800 but I DID NOT change the aperture or shutter speed.  Look at how much light was added.  Cool, right?  But don’t forget that the image noise goes up as the ISO goes up!  Another reason that someone might use a higher ISO is that it allows you to use a faster shutter speed but still get the same amount of light.  So in situations where there the subject is moving, you might need to have a faster shutter speed!
To change the ISO on my Nikon, I press the ISO button which is on the left side of the camera and turn the Rear Dial to the left for a lower ISO (smaller number) and to the right for a higher ISO (larger number).
You can see all of my other Photography Tips here!

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  1. says

    Hey Tonia. You know what I’m hoping? I hope you create an e-book with all these wonderful tips so I can go through them, one at a time and try and work out my camera. You have just the right way of explaining things so I can understand them. Thank you.

    Anne xx

  2. says

    Such a great help. I have been taking pictures forever, film and all, and never was able to get a handle on all the numeric aspects of photography. My brain freezes when I see numbers. It’s good to know you have tutorials availablet. There are some things I still struggle with. Thanks for your work to put that together.

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