Anybody here using base-ISO exclusively or predominantly?

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nixda
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Anybody here using base-ISO exclusively or predominantly?
10 months ago

I was wondering if anyone here is using predominantly or even exclusively base-ISO.

I am asking, because ETTR is a popular approach, but it's useful at base-ISO only. Also, with many modern sensors, there is the notion that digital amplification to adjust image brightness is a valid approach over using in-camera analog/digital amplification schemes. Base-ISO, of course, has the advantage that noise is lowest and dynamic range is highest. The SilkyPix developers allude to all that and encourage using the approach.

I have personally not yet done a thorough test to see how far the base-ISO-only approach can be taken with my X-E1, so I am curious about other peoples' experiences. I have used my X-E1 at base-ISO for a few days right when I got it, and I wasn't too thrilled about noise in the shadow areas, but these were quite tricky landscape scenes, so I wonder if I encountered a technical limitation of the sensor, or if using base-ISO isn't so appropriate after all.

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Chrasmus
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Auto ISO is so convenient!
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

nixda wrote:

I was wondering if anyone here is using predominantly or even exclusively base-ISO.

I am asking, because ETTR is a popular approach, but it's useful at base-ISO only. Also, with many modern sensors, there is the notion that digital amplification to adjust image brightness is a valid approach over using in-camera analog/digital amplification schemes. Base-ISO, of course, has the advantage that noise is lowest and dynamic range is highest. The SilkyPix developers allude to all that and encourage using the approach.

I have personally not yet done a thorough test to see how far the base-ISO-only approach can be taken with my X-E1, so I am curious about other peoples' experiences. I have used my X-E1 at base-ISO for a few days right when I got it, and I wasn't too thrilled about noise in the shadow areas, but these were quite tricky landscape scenes, so I wonder if I encountered a technical limitation of the sensor, or if using base-ISO isn't so appropriate after all.

It is just so much more convenient for me to use Auto ISO most of the time.  Ideally, I would only shoot at base ISO, and try to do so whenever possible.  However, I find that the light conditions just do not allow me to do so, and the sensors have gotten that good, that one can get excellent results at higher ISO's.  Strangely, in the film days, my favorite film was an Ilford ISO 50.  It worked well, and somehow I managed to get some great shots.

A lot also depends on what kind of photos one takes.  A tripod certainly makes shooting at base ISO easier than shooting handheld in a dimly lit room.  The one instance where I exclusively shoot at base ISO is when I shoot Macros with a flash.

Regards,

Christian

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BRPWS
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Re: Anybody here using base-ISO exclusively or predominantly?
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

I use all Iso speeds depending upon the situation but do want to stay at 200 whenever possible.

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The Davinator
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Depends.....
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

....if I am doing a landscape type shot, then base iso.  If I am doing a portrait session, I often shift to DR400, set exp comp to +1 or more, and if the subject is backlit, spot meter for the skin under their chin.  I get results close to what I can with my F5 and Fuji Pro400H.

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hellocrowley
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Re: Anybody here using base-ISO exclusively or predominantly?
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

I often shoot at base ISO because:

- I shoot portraits wide open when it's still sunny out

- I shoot with flash a lot

A lower base ISO would help as I don't like putting ND filters on.

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PenPix
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Re: Anybody here using base-ISO exclusively or predominantly?
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

I always select the lowest ISO that will not induce blur in my photos due to overly slow shutter speeds.  Sharp pictures with noise is better than fuzzy pictures without noise.

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nixda
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Clarification
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

Thanks for the responses so far.

I am interested in experiences with shooting at base-ISO, even if it means getting a dark image, and then adjusting the image brightness afterwards.

How does it compare to adjusting ISO before taking the shot, and how much darker can the initial image be for the method to give the final image brightness without introducing excessive noise.

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dmaclau
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interesting question
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

If i understand your question it asks if it's better to up the ISO 2X (or whatever) in camera or bump exposure 2X in processing.  I'm thinking you might be the one that tells the rest of us.  I would bet though that adjustments are better made in-camera.

Also,  ETTR might be a popular topic in forums but I've yet to see any practical application for it in photography.

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nixda
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Re: interesting question
In reply to dmaclau, 10 months ago

dmaclau wrote:

Also, ETTR might be a popular topic in forums but I've yet to see any practical application for it in photography.

The practical application is to get the lowest noise possible. With ETTR, the image brightness might be higher than the scene brightness and has to be adjusted down afterwards, if so desired. Lots of people use that approach, even outside forums

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allineedislight
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99% of the time ISO 400
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

I don't use base ISO200 as I like to profit from the DR 200% mode.

But I do most of the time leave the camera at ISO 400.  That is was I am used to from the film days...   It is also very convenient because for ISO 400 I know all the relevant (manual) exposure settings by heart.

Very occasionally I switch to ISO800 or ISO1600, but really only rarely.

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juvx
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Re: 99% of the time ISO 400
In reply to allineedislight, 10 months ago

allineedislight wrote:

I don't use base ISO200 as I like to profit from the DR 200% mode.

But I do most of the time leave the camera at ISO 400. That is was I am used to from the film days... It is also very convenient because for ISO 400 I know all the relevant (manual) exposure settings by heart.

Very occasionally I switch to ISO800 or ISO1600, but really only rarely.

What settings do you usually use inside at base iso 400?

and outside?

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georgehudetz
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Re: interesting question
In reply to dmaclau, 10 months ago

dmaclau wrote:

If i understand your question it asks if it's better to up the ISO 2X (or whatever) in camera or bump exposure 2X in processing. I'm thinking you might be the one that tells the rest of us. I would bet though that adjustments are better made in-camera.

Also, ETTR might be a popular topic in forums but I've yet to see any practical application for it in photography.

In my mind, I see advantages to ETTR when you have a high-dynamic range scene where you want details in both the highlights and the shadows.  While it's true that a full ETTR exposure will result in a too-bright scene as a whole, it also means you have more information in the shadows.  So, you tone down the highlights and the mid-tones, and then bump the shadows less than you would have otherwise, or perhaps not at all, resulting in better IQ in the shadows.

But I agree, if all you are going to do in post is simply drop exposure across the entire scene, then all ETTR has given you is at best a little more flexibility in post, and at worst an extra step you didn't need to do.

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nixda
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Re: interesting question
In reply to georgehudetz, 10 months ago

georgehudetz wrote:

dmaclau wrote:

If i understand your question it asks if it's better to up the ISO 2X (or whatever) in camera or bump exposure 2X in processing. I'm thinking you might be the one that tells the rest of us. I would bet though that adjustments are better made in-camera.

Also, ETTR might be a popular topic in forums but I've yet to see any practical application for it in photography.

But I agree, if all you are going to do in post is simply drop exposure across the entire scene, then all ETTR has given you is at best a little more flexibility in post, and at worst an extra step you didn't need to do.

Absolutely true. When going from raw to JPEG, one will need to do a judicial adjustment of the tone curve anyway, because one has to decide what information to toss. Simply dropping the exposure value alone most likely isn't going to do that in a meaningful way.

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dmaclau
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Re: interesting question
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

as we assess a scene we make adjustments to EV to meet our needs and to take advantage of a cameras capabilities.  That's not ETTR, that's good photography.  If we run into a scene with dynamic range beyond the camera's capabilities we make a series of decisions in exposure and in post processing.  That's not ETTR, that's good photography.

The concept of ETTR is based on faulty logic in my opinion and if it was ever advisable which I doubt then advances in sensor design make it a meaningless concept now..again, in my opinion.  To over ride the camera's or photographer's abilities to constantly overexpose also borders on the danger of blowing out one or more of the channels.  In camera histograms and blinkies are indications of exposure and not guarantees.

Although I've had an ETTR conversation with many photographers over the years I've yet to be shown that it works at all.

But...that's in my opinion.

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Jeff Charles
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Re: Anybody here using base-ISO exclusively or predominantly?
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

nixda wrote:

I am asking, because ETTR is a popular approach, but it's useful at base-ISO only.

The idea behind ETTR is to put as much light on the sensor as possible, short of blowing essential highlights. The technique uses the histogram as a gauge: When it is pinned to the right side, we've achieved "maximum" ETTR.

It's said that ETTR is "useful at base-ISO only", because, although increasing ISO will move the histogram to the right, it does not increase the actual exposure of the sensor. Only changes to aperture and shutter speed can increase actual exposure.

In real life, "maximum" ETTR is rarely possible, because the shutter speeds and apertures we choose are constrained by our need to control motion blur and to get sufficient DOF. However, maximizing the amount of light reaching the sensor should still be the goal. That can be achieved by using the widest aperture and the slowest shutter speed that the situation permits.

In fact, auto ISO can serve as a useful aid in achieving this objective, because it indicates the actual exposure that will result at the shutter speed and aperture we've set. For example, if we set shutter speed to 1/250 and aperture to f/5.6, and auto ISO goes to ISO 6400, it means that the sensor will receive very little exposure at those settings. We can then consider if 1/125 and f/4 would be "good enough." If we decide that they are, that gets us ISO 1600, and much better IQ.

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allineedislight
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Re: 99% of the time ISO 400
In reply to juvx, 10 months ago

My JPG settings on my X100 are as follows: I use Astia film simulation mode (for rich shadows) and use DR200 (for better highlight rendering).

For exposure I set ISO 400 and follow a simple "sunny 11" rule, as detailed in the "Roger and Frances" Film school - see the table for ISO 400 here:

http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps%20basics%20expoguide.html

That's it!  very simply, but gives me very consistent and almost always properly exposed images!

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allineedislight
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Re: 99% of the time ISO 400
In reply to allineedislight, 10 months ago

PS: as Rogers and Frances list is intended for mechanical film cameras, it lacks a column for the higher shutter speed available on the X100.  Instead of 1/250s + f/16 I use 1/500s + f/11 or 1/1000 + f/8 outdoors on a sunny day.

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nixda
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Re: interesting question
In reply to dmaclau, 10 months ago

dmaclau wrote:

as we assess a scene we make adjustments to EV to meet our needs and to take advantage of a cameras capabilities. That's not ETTR, that's good photography. If we run into a scene with dynamic range beyond the camera's capabilities we make a series of decisions in exposure and in post processing. That's not ETTR, that's good photography.

The concept of ETTR is based on faulty logic in my opinion and if it was ever advisable which I doubt then advances in sensor design make it a meaningless concept now..again, in my opinion.

I use ETTR constantly in my professional activities (X-ray crystallography), where it is recognized as  proper technique, and I use it often in my personal photography. Although I'd like to hear about the alleged faulty logic, I did not intend this thread to become a discussion about the merits, or not, of ETTR. In any case, ETTR, like most other photographic approach, is not applicable all the time, and it isn't useless all the time either. As always, one needs to know when to use a tool, and when to use something else. When used at base-ISO, ETTR is quite valid. Hence my OP.

To over ride the camera's or photographer's abilities to constantly overexpose also borders on the danger of blowing out one or more of the channels. In camera histograms and blinkies are indications of exposure and not guarantees.

Although I've had an ETTR conversation with many photographers over the years I've yet to be shown that it works at all.

But...that's in my opinion.

Duly noted

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dmaclau
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Re: interesting question
In reply to nixda, 10 months ago

sorry. I know nothing at all about X-ray crystallography. In fact I can't recall ever seeing or hearing this term before right now. So, if you use ETTR in X-ray crystallography I obviously have no opinion and apologize for muddying the water.

If, however you're speaking about "general" photography....

I first heard about this technique several years back.  It's proponents seemed to have some sort of inside knowledge that sensors were best "to the right" and severely lacking everywhere else.  Not being able to determine this for myself, or get any sensible information from those who proposed it, and coupled with the fact that I've yet to see any photographic "proof" of this technique being beneficial I dismissed it as faulty logic.  If I'm wrong then once again I apologize.

As I said, changing exposure to meet scene requirements is obviously an important and useful tool.  As a general rule..."Always overexpose" is faulty advice.

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Rudi
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Re: 99% of the time ISO 400
In reply to allineedislight, 10 months ago

Not sure if the film settings can be taken for digital sensors also (different definition of ISO values). The best results (avoide highlight clipping / burn outs and shadow recovery) can be obtained using DR400 (from ISO 800 up) and if the shutter speed can´t be matched use the ND filter.

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