ISO, sensitivity, gives you the ability to shoot at high shutter speeds, but at the expense of quality. It is therefore important to choose judiciously. Hence this post.
There are several ways to think about ISO, and I thought I would run them by you again in these dark days of December (and I added “Studio”, as per reader Ray’s suggestion):
1. By absolute starting points:
- Outdoor: 200
- Indoor: 400 (but in a studio, 100)
- Difficult light: 800
And you go up if and as needed, and down if able.
B. Simple, by situational starting points:
- Normally, outdoors: Auto
- When using a tripod: 100
- When in bright conditions: 100
- When in a studio: Indoors: 400
- Sports, night clubs, museums: 800-1600
C. By consequences:
- Motion blur: Increase the ISO.
- Shooting art, or for a magazine, or in a studio, or for large prints: decrease the ISO.
- Getting very fast shutter speeds, faster than you need: decrease the ISO.
By understanding those three lists, you will be able to choose the right ISO at the right time. And that is an essential if simple part of making a good picture.