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How often do you use Auto ISO?

  • All Auto, all the time

    Votes: 2 3.4%
  • Mostly Auto

    Votes: 21 35.6%
  • 50/50 Auto/Manual

    Votes: 5 8.5%
  • Mostly Manual

    Votes: 12 20.3%
  • Only Manual

    Votes: 19 32.2%

  • Total voters

Darmok N Jalad

macrumors 603
Original poster
Sep 26, 2017
Tanagra (not really)
Another poll!

This time, I’m curious how everyone sets their ISO. I’ve been using manual mode more, but I still haven’t gone “full” in that I allow for Auto ISO. I do have a 3200 cap on my camera, as beyond that, it gets too noisy.

Hopefully the choices make sense. I tried to allow for a range for those that mix it up. I will toy with Manual, but very rarely.


macrumors demi-god
Apr 3, 2010
Big Sky country
I'm usually manually set at 100, although, I could go down to 50 on my Canon 5D4. I will use 50 on a custom setting when I'm bracketing a challenging dynamic range photo. I crank up the ISO when I need to in lower light situations or special circumstances when the light and what I want for DOF or shutter speed to slow ro capture moving water warrants it. Or if it is a borderline light situation and I want a faster shutter speed when hand holding my camera. I tried AUTO ISO once at a wedding I was a 2nd shooter in and did not like my results so I've never gone there again.
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macrumors 6502a
Aug 17, 2013
I only do manual ISO when shooting in the night else the camera will up the ISO to 32000 if I'm shooting night photography.

For Milky Way shots, the shutter is limited by focal length so I have to manually select my ISO to 1600, 13 seconds and f/1.4 for my 35mm lens



macrumors demi-god
Jul 18, 2008
Glasgow, UK
On rangefinders I am on manual ISO but my main shooter I have on Auto with a 3200 cap. Also RX100 MK III set to auto with 1600 cap. Spend lot's of time looking at images thinking WTF happened there... keep forgetting to change ISO. :)
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macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2008
My main cameras both have CCD sensors which get noisy very quickly. However, even if they were CMOS I would still be shooting with manual everything and base ISO for 99% of my commercial work. Simply because quality is so important and I will have the time to use tripods and lighting.

For family photos I will use auto ISO capped to 1600 to make sure I get the shot.


macrumors 68030
Aug 2, 2009
Don't think I've ever used auto ISO ,always manual. Generally , I try to keep it set as low as I feel I can get away with considering the circumstances in which I'm shooting.


macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
I limit the upper bounds of the ISO, but I mostly keep it set to auto.
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macrumors 603
Oct 10, 2014
I set the limit of ISO to 1600 or 3200 and let the auto do its thing. I use aperture priority for my shoots. About the only thing I'll adjust on the fly is exposure comp.


macrumors 603
Nov 28, 2013
I remember owning a camera that would read the barcodes on film canisters and allow me to change films before 36 shots were taken - rewinding them with the leading edge still sticking out so they could be put back in the camera later.

I'd take the 100 ISO film out when going into a museum, and put the ISO 800 in - then swap back after. Doing that once ... I gave up and typically bought ISO400 film and called it a day.


macrumors 603
Nov 28, 2013
I now have an iPhone, but when I used to own digital cameras I'd use's in-depth reviews of their ISO capabilities and decide on a personal maximum of the amount of noise I would be willing to tolerate, and set the max to that. It varied, obviously, on the camera. Bigger sensors and newer models I'd allow to go higher than older and/or smaller sensor cameras.
Last edited:


macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
I have 4 custom shooting scenarios on my camera. Those that are for wildlife or other fast moving objects have Auto ISO. Those scenarios that are about objects that do not move have low starting ISO that I will manually change as needed.
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macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2014
SW Scotland
Manual, 99% of the time (I might set to Capped auto generally when taking pics of my kids in harsh, difficult, changeable light) but only as a last resort to save me faffing about.

Everything else, manual.
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macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
I guess I'm used to the film analogy, although digital ISO isn't the same. So I set and forget it, all manual. My camera is ISO invariant anyway, so it doesn't matter that much.


macrumors G3
May 3, 2014
I never use auto, and I suspect that largely comes from what I'd call a "film mindset" where changing it requires a decent amount of effort.

Further to that, on digital I almost always work in aperture priority mode and once I've selected an appropriate aperture(usually maximum sharpness, sometimes max DOF or min DOF) I keep the ISO set to as low of a value as will give me a useable shutter speed for what I'm doing.

BTW, I'm also probably a bit weird in that I generally set my cameras to only change the ISO in full-stop increments(i.e. 100, 200, 400, etc).
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macrumors 68020
Jan 18, 2008
Hawaii, USA
I shoot in Aperture Priority mode all the time. For ISO settings I keep it on automatic almost all of the time. Generally the only time I go manual is when I'm doing low-light work, and even then I'm adjusting it based on the shutter speed, trying to get the ISO to be as low as possible while not getting the shutter longer than I know I can hand-hold. I've also used it to nudge shutter speeds up; theoretically using shutter priority mode or even full manual could have the same effect, but again I'm boosting the shutter speed to an acceptable level without exceeding an ISO value that I'd find unpleasant to process.

Admittedly, part of the reason I work this way is because it's easy to do on my Olympus. The camera is constantly changing the values based on the scene before me in real-time, so if I see numbers that I dislike I can quickly take over and force the ISO to be something else with one of the control wheels. With my Fujifilm it only shows me what the ISO setting is (automatic and what the maximum allowed ISO is); I have to half-press the shutter if I want to see what ISO value the camera has chosen. It's also a bit more annoying to change the ISO values with the Fujifilm than with the Olympus - the Fujifilm has a dedicated dial for ISO that I don't find easy to adjust without looking away from the viewfinder. While the dial does have a setting to allow control of the ISO via a control wheel, the main control dial is either dictating the ISO in some form, or it's in full automatic. Comparison with the way Olympus does it shows why that's inferior: with the Olympus, it's in automatic until I adjust the control wheel I assigned it to... but I can "wheel" back to automatic as one of the settings. It makes a lot more seamless to quickly shift into and out of automatic.

The Fujifilm does have multiple auto ISO presets that I can set and activate quite easily, and I make use of those instead of fiddling with the ISO directly. Olympus lacks that feature (at least, in my model), but that's fine: I prefer the way Olympus does things anyway.


macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2003
Manual for tripod work.

Manual if I'm using strobes.

Auto with an upper limit of 1600 if shooting handheld (with the caveat that I may bump up the ISO manually if the shutter speed is too slow for what I want with the aperture I have available/need to use for other reasons).
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macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2014
SW Scotland
I never use auto, and I suspect that largely comes from what I'd call a "film mindset" where changing it requires a decent amount of effort.

BTW, I'm also probably a bit weird in that I generally set my cameras to only change the ISO in full-stop increments(i.e. 100, 200, 400, etc).

Same here. I always use full stops for ISO, I guess it’s a mild OCD thing. Same with aperture generally but I’m more flexible with it and will go to f9, f13 etc if I have the perfect shutter speed dialled in for my shot.


macrumors G4
Apr 24, 2016
Mostly auto iso with 3200 limit for my shooting needs on my Fujis. Occasionally all manual with base iso.


macrumors 68020
Aug 2, 2014
Vast majority is manual. I focus on aperture and shutter speed for creative control with iso at 100 usually. Only use auto iso (capped at 3200) for casual/difficult conditions.
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