ISO Dial Obsession

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
rich789
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ISO Dial Obsession
9 months ago

What is the big deal about finally having an ISO dial on a modern camera.

It was fine on film cameras where you mainly only changed the ISO when you used a roll of film that was a different speed. Surely it is easier and quicker to assign a  FN button to ISO ,no need to take your eye from the viewfinder, look down at the camera to see what you are doing, press a button, turn a dial and maybe want to do it all again for the next shot.

Is it just nostalgia or am I missing something here.

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Al Valentino
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

All I can say is the Function button on my XE1 is set for ISO and the Selector is set for Focus Area, and all this works out perfectly for me. I prefer the minimalist look and feel. The two things I adjust the most are Aperture ring and Focus area. DR is set for Auto with ISO at 400 most of the time so the DR will kick in as needed.

I actually prefer the Function button on top for ISO instead of dial, especially since the diopter is set for my vision and n usually shoot without glasses. I would have to put my glasses on to read a dial.

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skrause
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

One advantage is that you can check and set shutter speed, ISO and aperture (on prime lenses) when you don't hold the camera to your eye, and even when it is turned off. While you look through the EVF, it will show you the relevant settings in the EVF, so no need to take your eye from the viewfinder to change a setting. How practical the lock button for the ISO dial is remains to be seen, of course.

rich789 wrote:

What is the big deal about finally having an ISO dial on a modern camera.

It was fine on film cameras where you mainly only changed the ISO when you used a roll of film that was a different speed. Surely it is easier and quicker to assign a FN button to ISO ,no need to take your eye from the viewfinder, look down at the camera to see what you are doing, press a button, turn a dial and maybe want to do it all again for the next shot.

Is it just nostalgia or am I missing something here.

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vkphoto
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

I can see all exposure settings at a glance even if the power is off.

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Blue Jay
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to vkphoto, 9 months ago

Totally agree with Al's comment, fn button is preferable over the dial for ISO setting.

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Jens Bager
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

rich789 wrote:

What is the big deal about finally having an ISO dial on a modern camera.

It was fine on film cameras where you mainly only changed the ISO when you used a roll of film that was a different speed. Surely it is easier and quicker to assign a FN button to ISO ,no need to take your eye from the viewfinder, look down at the camera to see what you are doing, press a button, turn a dial and maybe want to do it all again for the next shot.

Is it just nostalgia or am I missing something here.

You do have a good point there. While ISO refers to a standard (International Standards Organization) while speaking in terms of digital camera sensitivity it can only be used as a guideline. I would call it: "Equivalent overall sensitivity setting as referenced to the film sensitivity standards". But only in the manuals, of course.

Why? Because there is too much confusion in the market to call it an established standard for digital imaging at this point. Thus you cannot fully compare the sensitivity of competing cameras based on ISO alone if it is not properly referenced to the white clipping point, the black level and to the noise and where these levels are referenced to RAW and JPEG rendering data respectively. To say it bluntly, there is too much room for interpretantions done by the marketing depts.

Unfortunately, ISO it is all we have at this point, so we cannot rightfully call using it nostalgia before we have something better.

But placing dedicated bottons for ISO and +/- EV on the top plate is overdoing it if these are both accessing the same sensitivity settings affecting the RAW to file output. In this respect, it is indeed nostalgia IMHO.

Jens

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Al Valentino
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to vkphoto, 9 months ago

vkphoto wrote:

I can see all exposure settings at a glance even if the power is off.

Good point. Long ago i made a habit of always resetting ISO and aperture to my standard settings before turning off my camera. This way if there is a shot and i quickly turn it on I know my starting point and not something way off. Dials, make this less necessary as you point out.

Of course my only nit is that I forget that the aperture rings have a mind of their own and seem to move when I am not looking 

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nick_webster
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Who changes it very often ?
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

I don't alter the ISO much, if at all, when I'm doing a shoot - the light levels don't change a lot so I'm a bit mystified why people seem to want to change it from shot to shot. If that's what you want why not stick it into Auto ISO ? I control the shutter speed/aperture and exp. comp. and let the camera pick whatever ISO is necessary to ensure a proper exposure.

I like having the dial as vkphoto says - I can see all my camera settings at a glance - no need to turn the camera on.

Obviously YMMV - I can only say how I use a camera,

Nick

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afragisk
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

I change iso all the time, with my flash and vari nd filter or in general. The Fn button is good enough for me too but I wish at least for a scroll or to replace the exposure comp, which I never use, with iso dial and put exposure comp in Fn.
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57LowRider
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

Often when I go manual I'm setting three things in this priority:

1/ Aperture, for the DoF I want.

2/ Shutter speed, especially as a minimum in low light between 1/F and 1/2F, to minimise shake blur.

3/ ISO, finding the lowest available after (1) and (2) are set.

The ISO dial on the X-T1 is a tad more handy than Fn and scroll on my X-E1.

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Chrasmus
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

rich789 wrote:

What is the big deal about finally having an ISO dial on a modern camera.

It was fine on film cameras where you mainly only changed the ISO when you used a roll of film that was a different speed. Surely it is easier and quicker to assign a FN button to ISO ,no need to take your eye from the viewfinder, look down at the camera to see what you are doing, press a button, turn a dial and maybe want to do it all again for the next shot.

Is it just nostalgia or am I missing something here.

I agree, for film cameras it made sense, and I used it for exposure compensation.  Now, I mostly shoot in Manual with Auto ISO.  I did assign ISO to my Function Button but rarely use it.

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sgoldswo
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Re: ISO Dials are great
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

rich789 wrote:

What is the big deal about finally having an ISO dial on a modern camera.

It was fine on film cameras where you mainly only changed the ISO when you used a roll of film that was a different speed. Surely it is easier and quicker to assign a FN button to ISO ,no need to take your eye from the viewfinder, look down at the camera to see what you are doing, press a button, turn a dial and maybe want to do it all again for the next shot.

Is it just nostalgia or am I missing something here.

It's no different from adjusting shutter speed or aperture manually, which is the reason many people like the Fuji X cameras. I own a Nikon Df, which also has an ISO dial, its actually one of the best things about the camera and very easy to adjust with the camera held to your eye. Perhaps I just prefer manual/analogue controls.

Ironically enough it was one of the bits of feedback I gave to Chris Dodkin to take to the Fujifilm stand at CES - not knowing of course they were about to release the X-T1...

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uniball
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

I have an xt1 on pre-order. For me, the iso dial is an unnecessary appendage.  The lock button is an absurdity. I feel the fn button on my xe1 serves as a far more effectice means of changing iso. I change iso frequently and having this cludgy 3 finger dial is one step backwards in an otherwise well thought out body.

Yes, I can see the merit of being able to see iso when the camera is off. However, I tend to turn the camera on when I shoot and fail to understand the desireability of this feature.

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georgehudetz
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

For me, the ISO dial addresses my biggest ergonomic gripe I have with my X-Pro1 when compared to my Nikon D7000.

Now, if you shoot in auto-ISO a lot, it's not a big deal. But my favorite shooting mode is in Aperture Priority, and I like to manually set the ISO in order to get the shutter speed I want. On my D7000, while in "A" mode, I could change the ISO value by simply spinning a dial, and see the SS change in the viewfinder as I changed the ISO. No guessing - you know instantly exactly what SS you are going to get. This is especially important if you are using a zoom lens, where the minimum shutter speed is focal length dependent, or if you move quickly from a static scene to a moving scene, like in a urban shooting scenario.

On the X-Pro1, I have to use a menu, and that sucks, because I have to guess which ISO value to choose in order to get the SS I want. Press the Fn key, use the arrow keys to pick a value, then a half-press of the shutter button to confirm, and then look at the resulting SS, hoping I got it right. If not, do it again and hopefully not miss the shot.  On the Nikon it was simply spin the dial and shoot.  This is what the ISO knob will get a Fuji shooter, and it does make a difference.

Yes, you can shoot in manual mode and use auto-iso instead, but you have to be careful not to under or over expose the shot. Not the end of the world, but also not as convenient and bullet-proof (in terms of nailing the exposure under duress) as the Nikon approach.

In the end, I suspect this comes down to "I don't mind taking my time composing the shot" vs. "I want the camera to be as efficient as possible." I get the former mind-set, and agree with it, to an extent. But this is one area I wish my X-Pro1 would be as efficient as my D7000.

What's really frustrating is that the X-Pro1 (and other X bodies) have a rear dial that could fulfill this function perfectly. A firmware update is all it needs for my shooting bliss. Perhaps after the X-T1 has been out for a while Fuji will see the light and upgrade the older bodies.

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gerard boulanger
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Do you like a PSAM dial?
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

rich789 wrote:

What is the big deal about finally having an ISO dial on a modern camera.

It was fine on film cameras where you mainly only changed the ISO when you used a roll of film that was a different speed. Surely it is easier and quicker to assign a FN button to ISO ,no need to take your eye from the viewfinder, look down at the camera to see what you are doing, press a button, turn a dial and maybe want to do it all again for the next shot.

Is it just nostalgia or am I missing something here.

You could say the same thing about the aperture ring and shutter speed diasl. For example a PSAM dial will let you pick the mode, then you will need to adjust the speed and/or aperture with wheel/knob.

Having an ISO dial let you preselect a setting without having the camera turned on, same for aperture and shutter.

One thing I found strange is the PSAm dial on ther Nikon Df , that one os absolutely not necessary if they added an "A" selection on the shutter speed dial

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DVT80111
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Willing to trade the speed dial for the ISO
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

Don't think the speed dial has much value except retro look.

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Jens Bager
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Re: Willing to trade the speed dial for the ISO
In reply to DVT80111, 9 months ago

DVT80111 wrote:

Don't think the speed dial has much value except retro look.

Exactly. As it is locked it is not that easy to get at, whereas on the XP-1, XE-1 and 2 it is easy enough to press Q or an assigned Fn and operrate the thumbwheel. Not that much need for a dedicated ISO knob film camera style. Come to think of it, I do use it guite often on XP-1 and X20.

Jens

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tesilab
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It's fabulous, obvious, and better than PASM
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

In concept, it is much more relevant to have an easily accessible ISO dial on a digital camera than on a film camera. On a film camera you just set and forget it, unless you are using it as a cheat for exposure compensation. Not so when shooting digital.

It makes perfect sense. There are three parameters that affect exposure, four if you count exposure compensation. Why should ISO be treated differently than shutter speed or aperture today? No reason I can think of. You don't fiddle with it often? That's you.

To me it makes more sense than a PASM dial. If I am shooting raw (and I am) then aside from focus control, I want direct unambiguous control over the exposure by modifying whichever combination of shutter speed, ISO, and aperture makes sense at the time, and leaving the other parameters to automatic.

As far as those who said they don't want to take the camera away from their eyes to look at the dial, that's ridiculous. The info is in the EVF, you don't have to look at the dial if you don't want to.

For those who just want to be able to see the settings when the camera is off, having direct dials for these parameters is only one way to get it done, another welcome way would be on a top plate display instead of the dial. But the combination of having unambiguous, always on access to the most important parameters, and being able to read them with the camera off is pretty attractive.

In practice, it could be that the locking pins are a bit of a pain. That is a matter of personal preference. I think the right way to go on this would have been to design locking pins that could be pushed further down than flush (say with a pen) to put the dials into a free wheeling state to satisfy users who prefer it stay unlocked.

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Beat Traveller
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Re: ISO Dial Obsession
In reply to rich789, 9 months ago

My problem with the X-T1's ISO dial is the combination of placing it on the left hand side with a lock. Adjusting it with the camera up to your eye sounds like an exercise in frustration.

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DVT80111
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Re: Who changes it very often ?
In reply to nick_webster, 9 months ago

nick_webster wrote:

I control the shutter speed/aperture and exp. comp. and let the camera pick whatever ISO is necessary to ensure a proper exposure.

Not the way I shoot. I choose Aperture, ISO, and let the camera choose the speed. When the speed drops too slow, I will bump the ISO up. So ISO dial is very very useful. Speed dial, almost useless.

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