Are there any "rules" for using ISO?

Started Apr 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 15,578
I have a couple

GreenMountainGirl wrote:

I have been experimenting with low-light images of moving subjects (mostly deer) and getting mixed results.  Using aperture-priority produces slower shutter speeds, and raising ISO does not seem to work.  Using shutter-priority works better, but still often have to make exposure adjustments in LR4.  Most of these photos are at/close to 300mm, so have not noticed any significant effect on DOF, just need to get a better idea of ISO (and exposure compensation) because there often isn't much time for "test photos"!

My first rule:

A sharp noisy picture is better than a blurred clean picture.

My second rule:

Go to ISO 800 whenever there's a chance of blur. My personal choice of ISO 800 is because my D300 is not bad up to there; other photographers and cameras will have differing limits. "Chance of blur" depends on the situation. If I'm using 300mm handheld, I want my shutter speed 1/500 or faster. If I'm using a tripod, I'll probably want 1/250 for most critters unless they're quite torpid.

My third rule:

See the first rule. If ISO 800 doesn't work, raise it until the shutter speed is fast enough. Deal with the noise in Lightroom.

I don't remember what camera you have, but it's probably much better for high ISO than a D300. You just have to decide what your tolerance is for noise. And "making exposure adjustments" in Lightroom is the same as changing ISO. So if you're limiting the ISO to 1600, and then have to bump the image 2 stops in LR, you've actually taken the picture at ISO 6400.

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Leonard Migliore

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