How do you ISO?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Darmok N Jalad, Aug 5, 2019.


How often do you use Auto ISO?

  1. All Auto, all the time

    2 vote(s)
  2. Mostly Auto

    19 vote(s)
  3. 50/50 Auto/Manual

    4 vote(s)
  4. Mostly Manual

    12 vote(s)
  5. Only Manual

    18 vote(s)
  1. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 68000

    Darmok N Jalad

    Sep 26, 2017
    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.
  2. fcortese 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.
  3. cbautis2 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

  4. jz0309 macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2018
    Temecula, CA
    currently using auto with limit set to 1600, 6DII
  5. mollyc macrumors 68000

    Aug 18, 2016
    I’m typically an aperture shooter so I set it first then work iso and shutter speed. My cameras are too old to have auto iso so I am all manual all the way.

    I’m a control freak. :eek::D
  6. deep diver macrumors 68000

    deep diver

    Jan 17, 2008
    Solon, OH
    Ditto. mollyc could be my twin on this one. (Especially the control freak thing.)
  7. kenoh 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. :)
  8. steveash macrumors 6502


    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.
  9. someoldguy macrumors 68000

    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.
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I limit the upper bounds of the ISO, but I mostly keep it set to auto.
  11. steveash macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2008
    By the way, I love this kind of thread. It is so interesting to see how different people work. It is easy to forget that there is no one best way or perfect solution.
  12. stillcrazyman macrumors 68020


    Oct 10, 2014
    In Exile
    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.
  13. adrianlondon macrumors 65816


    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.
  14. adrianlondon, Aug 6, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019

    adrianlondon macrumors 65816


    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.
  15. MCAsan 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.
  16. Mark0 macrumors 6502


    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.
  17. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    100% manual here to. Its easy enough to find the button if it needs changing.
  18. robgendreau 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.
  19. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 20, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    99% manual for me on DSLR. Easy enough to control. And...I'm a control freak. Depends on the situation on my beloved x100f - mostly manual though.
  20. bunnspecial macrumors 604


    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).
  21. Ledgem macrumors 68000


    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.
  22. kallisti 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).
  23. Mark0 macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2014
    SW Scotland
    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.
  24. ericwn macrumors 68030

    Apr 24, 2016
    Mostly auto iso with 3200 limit for my shooting needs on my Fujis. Occasionally all manual with base iso.
  25. anotherscotsman macrumors 68000

    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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