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Chapter 5 - What is ISO?

As a passionate photographer, I understand how essential it is to master the technical basics of photography. Among these basics, ISO is one of the most important parameters to understand and use correctly to get top quality images. In this article, we'll explore ISO in photography, how it works, and how you can use it to improve your shots. Join me on an exciting journey into the world of ISO!



What is ISO in photography? ISO, short for the International Organization for Standardization, is a standard that defines the sensitivity of your camera's sensor to the light. More specifically, ISO represents the speed at which the sensor reacts to light hitting its surface. It is important to note that the ISO may vary depending on each camera.


How does ISO work? When you increase the ISO on your camera, you increase its sensitivity to light. This means that the sensor captures more light in a shorter period of time, allowing shooting in low light conditions without the need for a longer exposure. However, there is a flip side to this: the higher the ISO, the more likely you are to introduce digital noise into your images.




How to choose the right ISO? The choice of ISO depends on several factors, including the brightness of the scene, the lens you are using and the acceptable level of noise in your photography. Here are some tips to help you choose the right ISO:

  1. Ambient light: If you're outdoors on a sunny day, you can opt for a low ISO (100-200) to get crisp, noise-free images. On the other hand, in low light conditions you will need to increase the ISO to allow more light to reach the sensor.

  2. Lens: Brighter lenses (with a larger aperture) capture more light, which may allow you to use a lower ISO. On the other hand, if you are using a lens with a smaller aperture, you may need to increase the ISO to compensate for the reduced amount of light.

  3. Noise level: Each camera has a different limit in terms of acceptable digital noise. Test your camera at different ISO settings to understand how much noise is present at higher levels. Next, determine your acceptable noise level based on the intended use of your photos.



Conclusion: The ISO is an essential parameter to master to obtain quality images in photography. By understanding how ISO works and choosing the right setting for the shooting conditions, you'll be able to create vibrant shots and avoid unwanted noise. Experiment with different ISO settings and improve your technique to reach new creative heights. Remember, mastering the ISO is a crucial step in becoming an accomplished photographer.

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