Bad Hangovers from Film Days?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
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Re: Bad Hangovers from Film Days?
In reply to Aaron Corey, 4 months ago

Aaron Corey wrote:

I think the way that ISO is handled on a lot of cameras is kind of a hangover from film. For example, a lot of cameras still don't let you do ISO-based exposure compensation in manual mode (although maybe that's starting to change with some manufacturers). Also, on my T3 and 60D, I can watch the exposure meter change in real time when I change my shutter speed and aperture. But when I hit the ISO button, the ISO selection menu takes over the screen (so the meter's not visible in the back or top LCDs anymore), so I sometimes have to change my ISO several times to get the meter reading I want.

It seems like Canon sees ISO as something that doesn't need to be changed that often - select the ISO you want and then shoot a bunch of shots at that same ISO (like selecting a roll of film and then shooting a series of shots on that roll). But now that everything's electronic, ISO is just another variable that can change from shot to shot. So in my opinion, ISO should have equal status to the shutter speed and aperture (i.e. a there should be a third dial to quickly change the ISO). I think some mirrorless cameras already have this ability now, so maybe some of the manufacturers are realizing that not all photographers want their digital cameras to act like film cameras.

Although latest cameras may have that feature, strictly speaking, it should by no means be regarded as an acceptable means of controlling exposure, though in practice that is what many photographers do frequently in the name of expedience.

For one, to all intents and purposes, the ISO changing facility is is essentially an electronic gain control which is used to either attenuate or amplify the signal output of the sensor chip. The sensor chip is what digital photography is all about. The quality of the resulting output can vary a great deal between high and low gain settings, depending on the capability and design of the sensor. On the other hand, varying aperture or shutter speed does not affect the quality of the image formed on the sensor. Thus  it may be because of this that ISO setting as a means of exposure control is not built into cameras. Of course when sensor technology becomes such that a constant high quality output is achieved throughout the whole ISO range, cameras can be expected to capitalize on that in double quick time.

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