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05-01-2012, 07:04 AM   #1
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Newbie Question 2 - Auto ISOs

Would there ever be a situation where it is best to leave the ISO in auto mode?

I was playing with user settings and had the ISOs at certain values. The thought was to adjust/tweak the ISO as needed. Then I started wondering if there would ever be a situation where the ISO is best left auto.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

05-01-2012, 07:42 AM   #2
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Early on with my first DSLR (K10d) I shot in P mode with the ISO set to auto 100-400. As I learned more and moved away from this mode, I've tended to use a fixed ISO which I vary with my shooting. My K5 makes this very easy. However, sometimes when I want to be shooting quickly in changing conditions, I will still use auto ISO for one less thing to worry about. There is nothing wrong using it, just control it by considering the range you are using it over. If you consider Sv or Tav modes, they are essentially auto ISO modes and for me during night shoots I'll be using Sv or Tav modes for that reason.
05-01-2012, 07:45 AM   #3
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I can see that you have a K-5 and my answer would be "yes" - but mostly if you use Tav mode (where auto ISO is autmatically chosen for you).

This can be convenient for walk around shooting in situations where lightening conditions may vary quite drastically (for example at a lake-side in a wood or in a street where light and shadow may vary a lot). Here you may want to be prepared for "instant shooting" while securing a fast shutter time (to capture action and/or reduce shake) and a specific aperture (to control DOF).

With the excellent ISO characteristics of the K-5 I have found this feature quite attractive in many situations.
05-01-2012, 07:52 AM   #4
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Good answers above. Test your camera in various lights over a wide ISO range to find your comfort level. I don't mind high-ISO noise in high-contrast B&W shots. I don't see much noise in high-ISO color shots of well-lit subjects with no shadows. But find out for yourself just what you can tolerate. Have fun!

05-01-2012, 08:00 AM   #5
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These answers help in a HUGE way! Even answered a few questions concerning the TAv mode. Thanks everyone! I'm SLOWLY getting there.
05-01-2012, 08:06 AM   #6
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I'll use TAv mode when I'm taking snapshots at an event where I'm most concerned about shutter speed, but where I may also be pushing the limits of the lens that I'm using due to the lighting situation, and where I don't want to use flash.
05-01-2012, 08:34 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
I'll use TAv mode when I'm taking snapshots at an event where I'm most concerned about shutter speed, but where I may also be pushing the limits of the lens that I'm using due to the lighting situation, and where I don't want to use flash.
What about your use of the Tv mode? For speed priority with adequate lighting?
05-01-2012, 08:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sage97 Quote
What about your use of the Tv mode? For speed priority with adequate lighting?
I use TAv when I *know* that the shutter speed and aperture *must* be at certain settings. And not necessarily to capture fast action, although that's the most common application. If TAv drives the ISO up into noisy levels, remember than such noise can be fixed in PP, but motion blur can't. If a scene is well-lit with no shadows, high-ISO noise isn't really noticeable -- it's the shadows that show noise.

05-01-2012, 08:44 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sage97 Quote
What about your use of the Tv mode? For speed priority with adequate lighting?
Certainly possible, but I've not been shooting much where shutter speed was my only priority. I guess if you are pushing low light and fast shutter speeds, Tv and TAv will start to operate similarly since you choice of useful apertures becomes quite limited. If I get a chance at low light shooting I'll give it a try.
05-01-2012, 08:55 AM   #10
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I use Auto ISO when out shooting wild life. For me, I would prefer modest grain in an image over one that lacks the depth of field to keep most of the subject sharp, and can also help with marginal focusing errors, and also still have sufficient shutter speed to eliminate camera shake. Even though I use SR, having a high shutter speed still helps out quite a bit.

when I shoot with my 70-200F2.8 and 2x TC for example, I shoot Tav mode with auto ISO ranging up to 6400 on my K5D, and an equivalent F11 (F5.6 on the lens) and 1/500 shutter. then I let the ISO go where it needs to to satisfy the exposure.

I also consider in some instances auto ISO in other auto modes, where either shutter or aperture is a priority, but you need to be careful, because the camera will use Auto ISO first, and then either adjust shutter or aperture based upon things like 1/FL for shutter speed, or some form of program curve after it can no longer reduce the ISO. Simply put, I don't really trust the camera logic, so when I shoot auto ISO in modes other than Tav I have a fairly tight range, no where near the 200-6400 that I use with long lenses.
05-01-2012, 08:57 AM   #11
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agree with @Lowell_Goudge that you need to worry about range and adjust it on a case by case basis
05-01-2012, 09:21 AM   #12
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I use it when I shoot with a long lens like the Sigma 100-300/4. I will set the range to what I'm comfortable with for the shoot, then I can shootin Av and the program will adjust ISO to keep my shutter speed up high for the long lens. I typically on set the auto range on my K20d to 100-250.
05-01-2012, 09:34 AM   #13
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An important element in all of this is to look at and consider what your P (program) line setting is. This will be the preference that the camera will give metering for, it can be for depth of field, action, MTF (essentially the best choice for the specific lens from the manufacture - if known), and normal whatever that is. The program line setting works for most all metering (P, Av, Tv, etc.) modes and will be affected by things like the ISO setting. Just another thing to learn about!
05-01-2012, 09:36 AM   #14
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After playing with a little more with my K5, I love the fact that even though you may leave it in auto iso, you can set the min to max range you are comfortable with, AND also able to set the iso of the shot for either normal, low or high speed. I find this extremely useful for me to shoot in indoor lowlight with hands free and easily change it for either stationary or moving objects
05-01-2012, 11:05 AM   #15
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I like using auto ISO when I'm somewhere that has highly variable light (like hiking in the woods--one minute it's dark and the next it's light again) and I can't or don't want to take the time to adjust ISO for every shot. Someone else said, somewhere on this forum, that they'd rather have a noisy image than a blurry one. At least you stand a fighting chance of being able to get something usable...

If I had a K5 I'm pretty sure I'd use auto ISO even more than I do now with my K200D...
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