Understanding ISO And Why It Causes Digital Noise

Introducing (2)
The kind folks over at Panvista Productions put together a great informational video aimed at helping us better understand ISO. Most of us already know that we can adjust exposure through ISO, but for many that’s about the extent of what we know about the subject. Panvista’s  9 1/2 minute long clip, however, goes far beyond the basics of ISO we learn in the beginning of our careers. The video gets right down to the nitty gritty as it shows us exactly what’s going on inside our DSLR or micro four thirds camera every time we adjust the ISO setting. This of course leads us into the topic of digital noise (ugh) and why it occurs (interesting). Overall, it’s a well rounded video that’s delivered in a way which is easy to understand and engaging. [Read more…]

OLDSCHOOL: Hacking DX Film Annotations

Back in the days, when we were still capturing images on sheets of plastic, ISO (also known as ASA) was not a button on the back of a camera. It was a chemical property of the film. Some cameras could read the encoding on the film can and set the ISO accordingly. But sometimes you wanted to get more out of a film – to set it to a higher (or lower) ISO. This process is called pushing/puling the film, and if the camera you had could only do auto ISO decoding, you had to hack the film.


Even today, if you still roll your own film, you may find this technique useful. We present – The Full Guide To Hacking DX Film Annotations

[Read more…]

Back to Basics – ISO and exposure wrap up

isoIn the previous few articles, I have discussed some basic aspects of photography. The first subject to get a close look was exposure, and I have discussed two of the three components that control it: shutter speed and aperture. In this article, I will bring in the missing piece – ISO (or film sensitivity). After that I will conclude the exposure subject.

We have learned that the sensor (or film) can get the same exposure if we prolong the duration the shutter is open, but use smaller aperture (or shorten the duration that the shutter is open, while using a bigger aperture). If we want to be absolutely honest (which, at least for now, we do), we have to include the third part of the equation: film sensitivity (AKA ISO).

In short – ISO sets the impact that light will have on the sensor. High ISO will make our exposure brighter, while low ISO will make our exposure darker.

So how can we use ISO to produce better photographs? [Read more…]