Beginner Auto ISO in A, S, M mode.

Messages
122
Name
Conan
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
Hi everyone, I've been enjoying using my camera since I first got it, and feel I am improving. Still have a long way to go though.

I use auto ISO on my Nikon in Aperture priority, Shutter priority and manual. Does anyone else do this, or do you prefer to set your ISO yourself?

I find it a lot easier with auto ISO, but don't know if I need to practice more without it, like is it 'cheating' to use, or a good thing?
 
Messages
21,662
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#2
Yes, I use auto ISO.

I mostly use Aperture and Manual modes. I use aperture priority until the light level causes the shutter speed to drop too low and then I switch to manual and dial in the aperture and shutter speed settings I want letting the ISO float and adjusting the aperture and/or shutter settings as required.

PS.
I don't see this as cheating, no more so than letting the camera set the shutter speed in Aperture priority or letting it set the aperture in Shutter priority.

Auto ISO is IMO a very nice thing to have.
 
Last edited:

West Camera

Can I be Frank?
Messages
166
Name
frank west
Edit My Images
No
#3
If I were you I would switch to inputting the ISO yourself. It is a good idea in order to test your camera's decision making ability, and to gain confidence in yourself and your own decision making process. There is no 'cheating' involved. It is all about learning. Good shooting.
 
Messages
561
Name
Clint
Edit My Images
Yes
#4
I use auto ISO for street shooting. If you have the option to set a range on your camera I.e 100-1600 that would be better. For something scenic I would set the ISO manually as I would want the lowest possible ISO. I would say it’s cheating if you use it all the time and don’t bother to learn the exposure triangle. At the end of the day no matter how sophisticated a camera is, it can’t always get the right exposure, so you as the user have to learn the limitations and know how to achieve the best exposure.
 
Messages
3,482
Name
Dominic
Edit My Images
Yes
#6
I used to use auto ISO quite a lot, but now set it manually. I mainly use aperture priority and find it very easy (on my camera) to push the ISO button and adjust whilst still looking through the viewfinder.
 

sirch

Official Forum Numpty 2015
Messages
8,670
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
#7
I use auto ISO in the semi auto modes A and S. If using M I'll tend to switch off the auto ISO.
Interesting, I tend to use auto ISO in manual but not other modes.

If you are using Auto ISO in Aperture priority I would recommned setting the the lower limit on shutter speed so that the ISO goes up ratehr than the shutter speed dropping too low.
 
Messages
3,960
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
#8
Like pretty much everything photography related - "It depends". It's good to know how to switch between the two.

Long Exposure? If you slap an ND filter on your camera or try taking pictures at night, the camera will immediately push the ISO through the roof, so you need to flip it to manual to force long shutter speeds.
Landscaper on a tripod? You don't mind low shutter speeds because you have stability, but a high ISO might cause unnecessary noise in your image.
In a studio? The camera will meter for the (generally poor) modelling lights, then when you take the shot, the external strobes will flood your image with light, massively over exposing.

That's at least 3 places where auto ISO will cause more harm than good. For general walkabout stuff though Auto ISO is fab. For anything that requires a reaction type image (sport, street photography, candids at a party) I'd almost always use it because faffing with camera = bad for me.
 
Messages
7,095
Name
Ken
Edit My Images
Yes
#9
It depends also on what you are taking pics of.
In certain circumstances auto ISO will not give you the correct value that is required, or that you want, to get the image you visualise.
I take pics of fire performers (I run the local fire club) and auto ISO would overexpose the fire leaving white trails. A bit of a specialisation, but it teaches you to be aware of what is required to get the image you want.
For general photography auto ISO is fine.
 
Messages
8,482
Name
wayne clarke
Edit My Images
Yes
#10
Personally I don't use auto ISO as I like to have control over what the camera is doing. That said some do use it.
I know a few sports photographers who set the aperture and shutter speed to suit their subject, and let auto ISO sort that out, and at least one wedding photographer who does the same.
It's horses for courses, if it works for you why change it.
 
Messages
21,662
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#12
Just on the exposure triangle and setting things yourself... If all you do is enter ISO settings that place the cursor smack in the middle of the exposure scale I don't see how that's different to letting the camera do it with auto ISO.

The beauty of auto ISO is that it allows you to shoot quickly in changing lighting whilst retaining control (at the expense of shooting speed as you're losing time when changing the settings yourself) as you can alter any element of the exposure triangle by changing the aperture or shutter speed with their dedicated dials and even the ISO the camera selects by twiddling the exposure compensation dial if you're camera allows you to do that. It really is IMO a very useful thing to be able to do which can really speed things up and the camera settings can be over ridden when the situation (changes in light, subject movement or required DoF) warrants it, and of course when you know what you're doing.
 
Last edited:
Messages
33
Name
Peter
Edit My Images
Yes
#13
It depends on the situation for me. If I have time to fiddle, I will set manually but there are times when shutter and aperture are critical and ISO is the only thing that can give. In those situations I may as well let the camera take care of it rather than miss a shot.
 
Messages
2,317
Edit My Images
Yes
#14
With wildlife, I want a fairly short shutter speed and a small aperture so I set those and use Auto-ISO to get the exposure. Gives the the right exposure and allows to me shoot fairly quickly.
With churches, I am using a tripod so I set the aperture to suit the shot, set ISO to 100 and let the camera choose the shutter speed. My frames per second in a church is about one shot per ten minutes.
 
OP
OP
conanthewarrior
Messages
122
Name
Conan
Edit My Images
Yes
#15
Interesting, I tend to use auto ISO in manual but not other modes.

If you are using Auto ISO in Aperture priority I would recommned setting the the lower limit on shutter speed so that the ISO goes up ratehr than the shutter speed dropping too low.
This is one issue I have been having, I am glad you mentioned that! It seems that either the ISO skyrockets when the shutter speed could still go lower, or if I set the shutter speed limit it goes too low with the ISO not changing much.

When you say setting the lower limit, would that mean choosing a fast shutter speed in the menu, or actually the lowest I am willing to go, say 1/30th of a second?
 
OP
OP
conanthewarrior
Messages
122
Name
Conan
Edit My Images
Yes
#16
I used to use auto ISO quite a lot, but now set it manually. I mainly use aperture priority and find it very easy (on my camera) to push the ISO button and adjust whilst still looking through the viewfinder.
Thats an issue with my camera, one I didn't know would be an issue till I actually started learning. I have a Nikon D3500, and to set the ISO I have to press the info button, and use the buttons to go to ISO, click on it, then choose from there.

I tend to be walking around taking photos, so the auto ISO helps me get the shot in changing light. I have bought myself a backdrop, and will next be getting a flash, slowly building up my gear as I am very tight for money at the moment and moving house.

I gather once I have that setup in my house for portraits and similar shots, I will want to manually select the ISO as the external flash will be going off?
 

sirch

Official Forum Numpty 2015
Messages
8,670
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
#17
I'm not familiar with Nikon but in general cameras will prefer the lowest possible ISO, in the menus there is usually a setting that lets you set the lowest shutter speed so that the ISO is cranked up to avoid going below the set shutter speed.

Modern cameras are usually good for at least 4 stops of ISO (100-800) before noise becomes an issue so you have quite a range to go at but just even though it is "auto" you still need to keep an eye on it. There is no magic, if the ISO is going too high you have to let the light in some other way - aperture or shutter or both.

I gather once I have that setup in my house for portraits and similar shots, I will want to manually select the ISO as the external flash will be going off?
Yes you will have to manually set the ISO, but in a studio you get to control the light, so once you have picked an ISO you stick with it and adjust the flash power to get the light you want. Often in the studio you may want to reduce the effects of ambient light so you may be going for the lowest ISO anyway.

Stepping back a little bit, it's all about controlling how much light the sensor captures. Changing aperture changes light hitting the sensor and how much depth-of-field; changing shutter speed changes light hitting the sensor and freezes or blurs motion; changing ISO changes how much the light hitting the sensor is amplified and how much noise is created. Setting any of these to auto doesn't change the fact that to get the shot you want you need to control some of these factors. Flash guns in most circumstances freeze any motion anyway so make shutter speed less important other than it needs to be at (or below) the sync speed, usually 1/125 (there are exceptions to this but I don't want to over complicate it).
 
Messages
4,111
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
Yes
#18
I don't use auto ISO, but then I take mainly landscapes so I usually have plenty of time alter from the lowest setting is it necessary.

Dave
 
Messages
1,416
Edit My Images
Yes
#19
i generally leave the ISo to auto, i keep an eye on whats going on, but for sports and such, the light is constantly changing and action. so just find it easier to let eh camera sort that bit out for me, but i constantly look at shutter/aperture to judge if i feel its right at that point.

but i also spent a few evenings testing ISO from low to high to determine what i would accept and set that as a max, mine around 5k (couldn't be exact) and then really bounce between manual, aperture or shutter depending on the situation.
 
Messages
4,773
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#20
I tend to be walking around taking photos, so the auto ISO helps me get the shot in changing light. I have bought myself a backdrop, and will next be getting a flash, slowly building up my gear as I am very tight for money at the moment and moving house.
For shooting handheld M plus Auto ISO works well most of the time as it lets you set a shutter speed to eliminate/reduce the effects of camera shake and choose how much depth of field you get. With Nikon you can use exposure compensation in Auto ISO for the times you aren't getting the exposure you want.

I haven't found setting a slowest shutter speed in the menu to be very reliable as it can still force it slower than you would like when at the limit.

In a controlled situation (using a tripod for static subjects or flash) then using A to set an appropriate aperture and selecting the ISO yourself (as shutter speed is less critical to eliminate camera shake in these cases) is an alternative to M.

Whatever your settings it's wise to keep checking them to make sure they are what you want - even when you set all three variables they can get changed accidentally!
 
Messages
7,414
Name
David
Edit My Images
Yes
#21
Thats an issue with my camera, one I didn't know would be an issue till I actually started learning. I have a Nikon D3500, and to set the ISO I have to press the info button, and use the buttons to go to ISO, click on it, then choose from there.
Do you have a Fn button, maybe up near the pop up flash button? If so, you may be able to configure it to shoot at a preset ISO
 
Messages
7,414
Name
David
Edit My Images
Yes
#22
I used to do some tabletop photography ... had a technique of shooting in poor light at 100 ISO and up to 30 sec exposure time.
 
OP
OP
conanthewarrior
Messages
122
Name
Conan
Edit My Images
Yes
#23
Do you have a Fn button, maybe up near the pop up flash button? If so, you may be able to configure it to shoot at a preset ISO
Unfortunately I don't :(. This was something I wasn't really aware of when I got the camera/could be an issue. I believe the last D3xxx series camera to have it was the D3400.

@Ed Sutton , wait I can use exposure compensation in manual with auto ISO on Nikon? If I press the exposure compensation dial whilst in manual, it is the button that allows me to switch between the dial controlling shutter speed, or hold the button and then can control the aperture. It would be handy if you know of a way around this, I've looked through the manual but can't seem to see anything but may be missing it.
 
Messages
4,773
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#24
@Ed Sutton , wait I can use exposure compensation in manual with auto ISO on Nikon? If I press the exposure compensation dial whilst in manual, it is the button that allows me to switch between the dial controlling shutter speed, or hold the button and then can control the aperture. It would be handy if you know of a way around this, I've looked through the manual but can't seem to see anything but may be missing it.
Which model Nikon do you have?
 
Messages
4,773
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#26
I have the Nikon D3500.
Maybe not a feature of this model, but checking the manual on line I would expect it to work like other Nikons as it says exposure compensation works in Manual mode. Best thing is to try it and see what happens in Auto ISO.
 
OP
OP
conanthewarrior
Messages
122
Name
Conan
Edit My Images
Yes
#27
Maybe not a feature of this model, but checking the manual on line I would expect it to work like other Nikons as it says exposure compensation works in Manual mode. Best thing is to try it and see what happens in Auto ISO.
I just tried it, definitely doesn't work in Manual mode with auto ISO, but I do notice something strange.

Under the ISO sensitivity settings menu, there are the options ISO sensitivity, Auto ISO sensitivity control on/off, maximum sensitivity, and minimum shutter speed.

I notice if I go into the iso sensitivity menu, there is a greyed out option for "Auto", which I expected if auto ISO is turned on through the Auto ISO sensitivity selection. However, if I turn it off this way, then go into ISO sensitivity, it is still greyed out, and if I try to select it a popup says "This operation is not available at current settings or in the cameras current state".

Is this just how the firmware is? I find it odd there is a setting that is not available for selection and wonder if I need to have the camera set to that Auto ISO and not the other for exposure compensation to work with it in manual?
 
Messages
4,773
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#28
I just tried it, definitely doesn't work in Manual mode with auto ISO, but I do notice something strange.

Under the ISO sensitivity settings menu, there are the options ISO sensitivity, Auto ISO sensitivity control on/off, maximum sensitivity, and minimum shutter speed.

I notice if I go into the iso sensitivity menu, there is a greyed out option for "Auto", which I expected if auto ISO is turned on through the Auto ISO sensitivity selection. However, if I turn it off this way, then go into ISO sensitivity, it is still greyed out, and if I try to select it a popup says "This operation is not available at current settings or in the cameras current state".

Is this just how the firmware is? I find it odd there is a setting that is not available for selection and wonder if I need to have the camera set to that Auto ISO and not the other for exposure compensation to work with it in manual?
Sounds like Auto ISO works differently on the D3500 to the cameras I have used. Sorry if I have misled you.
 
Messages
7,414
Name
David
Edit My Images
Yes
#29
I just tried it, definitely doesn't work in Manual mode with auto ISO, but I do notice something strange.

Under the ISO sensitivity settings menu, there are the options ISO sensitivity, Auto ISO sensitivity control on/off, maximum sensitivity, and minimum shutter speed.

I notice if I go into the iso sensitivity menu, there is a greyed out option for "Auto", which I expected if auto ISO is turned on through the Auto ISO sensitivity selection. However, if I turn it off this way, then go into ISO sensitivity, it is still greyed out, and if I try to select it a popup says "This operation is not available at current settings or in the cameras current state".

Is this just how the firmware is? I find it odd there is a setting that is not available for selection and wonder if I need to have the camera set to that Auto ISO and not the other for exposure compensation to work with it in manual?
Maybe set the ISO sensitivity ... Min @ 100 and Max at whatever's the highest possible. You probably don't need to go there again!

With no Fn button, try using the i button to adjust your ISO whilst shooting.
 
Messages
7,414
Name
David
Edit My Images
Yes
#30
But doesn't the D3500 have touchscreen? maybe that's the way to go!
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
conanthewarrior
Messages
122
Name
Conan
Edit My Images
Yes
#33
Maybe set the ISO sensitivity ... Min @ 100 and Max at whatever's the highest possible. You probably don't need to go there again!

With no Fn button, try using the i button to adjust your ISO whilst shooting.
Thank you, the I button is what I have been using, just have to select from a few options using the buttons on the back after pressing the I button. Not that it really matters when I am going to be shooting in controlled light, just likely to miss a shot doing that if out and about which is why I like the auto.
 
Messages
5,773
Edit My Images
Yes
#34
It depends on the camera model how well they use the Auto ISO setting. Some cameras offer no control over just turning it on, and then you are left with what the programmers set as to how the camera reacts to the changing light whilst changing the ISO setting,normally raising the ISO if the camera's shutter speed were to fall below 1/60th second in low light conditions. I had a Canon compact which would bump the ISO up to thousands when all that was needed was a few hundred increase. :mad: :rolleyes:

I have an older Nikon DSLR which allowed you to set the base ISO, and the highest ISO I wanted it to go up to, and that worked pretty well, though sometimes slightly higher than necessary, when using a wide angle lens for example. A lot of Auto ISO function take 1/60th second as a safe hand holding shutter speed, which would be OK if we all only used 50mm lenses. ;) I found that if I had say a 16mm lens on, it raised the ISO 1-3 stops more than it needed to to get the 1/60th second, when I could probably hand held about 1/20th second. 1/60th of a second is also not fast enough if you are using a 300mm lens even if the camera thinks it is. :rolleyes:

My current Nikon DSLR in Auto ISO takes into account the focal length of the lens when altering the ISO, so as to give a shutter speed that is a reciprocal of the focal length, so on a 50mm lens for example, it wouldn't raise the ISO until the shutter would fall below 1/50th in the lighting conditions. If the lens is at 16mm, it wouldn't raise the ISO until it measured the shutter falling below about 1/20th second, and about 1/300th second at 300mm. You can bias the setting slightly whether you are steadier or shakier hand holder. :) Add to that most of my lenses have image stabilisation, (2 out of 3) and Aperture Priority, IS and Auto ISO work amazingly well 95% of the time, and the occasions when I get blurry images is when I haven't been observant of the shutter speed had haven't been totally concentrating on my hand holding technique. My images are less noisy than my previous camera because of the sensor improvements, (it was 8 years between cameras, so a huge improvement in the ISO performance) but also because it is not raising the ISO more than it needs to at lower focal lengths. :) I think a lot of current mid-high level cameras may implement ISO in this way.

It goes with out saying that if the camera is on a solid platform, and nothing in the scene needs to be frozen by a fast shutter speed, the Auto ISO is off, as is the image stabilisation, the camera is at its lowest ISO, and the cameras takes as longs as it thinks it needs. :)
 
Messages
1,284
Name
Tim
Edit My Images
Yes
#35
Auto ISO can be very useful in situations where the light is changing a lot. One exception is if you use are using flash - the camera has to pick an ISO, mine picks 400, and that is rarely what I need. In the studio I’ll want ISO 100 or otherwise I’ll normally want to expose for the ambient light.
 
Messages
39
Name
Hitogami
Edit My Images
No
#36
I use auto iso (lumix). I also use i (intelligent) Iso which takes subject movement into account. I tog a lot of football.
 
Messages
7,414
Name
David
Edit My Images
Yes
#37
I use auto iso (lumix). I also use i (intelligent) Iso which takes subject movement into account. I tog a lot of football.
Thanks Boss. I'm using Lumix most of the time now but have never looked into iISO.
 
Messages
445
Name
Kyle
Edit My Images
Yes
#38
I use auto ISO on both my nikon D810 and fuji X-E3. I user aperture priority and set a fixed shutter speed depending on the lens I'm using and let auto ISO adjust as necessary. The only time I force an ISO is when I want to either have a longer exposure or the auto ISO is going to skyrocket and I have time to tinker and take a few shots at slower shutter speeds and check for blur. IMO, it's better to have a sharp but grainy image than a blurred one.

Just to note, none of my nikon lenses have OIS and I almost never use flash. My general day to day setting to guarantee a fully sharp image is:
80-200mm f2.8 - 1/640s, ISO 64-12800 with an aperture of my choosing.

If I'm shooting in darker conditions with wider lenses, I'll drop the shutter speed down based on focal length
50-100mm lenses get a fixed shutter speed of 1/250s
wider lenses I drop the shutter speed to ~ 1/60s

The fuji doesn't require such a high shutter speed and I generally get by with 1/125s. OIS helps a lot, though I do find my D810 is far more susceptible to shake induced blur than any other camera I own, including an older D800. I've gotten used to it over the 5 years I've had it and the above settings are what I find I need to use to minimise muck ups due to hurried shots and poor hand holding technique. AF is usually the next point of failure as I rarely get metering failures and that is minimised by having a eyepiece magnifier and being used to manually focusing.
 
Messages
39
Name
Hitogami
Edit My Images
No
#39
I use auto ISO on both my nikon D810 and fuji X-E3. I user aperture priority and set a fixed shutter speed depending on the lens I'm using and let auto ISO adjust as necessary. The only time I force an ISO is when I want to either have a longer exposure or the auto ISO is going to skyrocket and I have time to tinker and take a few shots at slower shutter speeds and check for blur. IMO, it's better to have a sharp but grainy image than a blurred one.

Just to note, none of my nikon lenses have OIS and I almost never use flash. My general day to day setting to guarantee a fully sharp image is:
80-200mm f2.8 - 1/640s, ISO 64-12800 with an aperture of my choosing.

If I'm shooting in darker conditions with wider lenses, I'll drop the shutter speed down based on focal length
50-100mm lenses get a fixed shutter speed of 1/250s
wider lenses I drop the shutter speed to ~ 1/60s

The fuji doesn't require such a high shutter speed and I generally get by with 1/125s. OIS helps a lot, though I do find my D810 is far more susceptible to shake induced blur than any other camera I own, including an older D800. I've gotten used to it over the 5 years I've had it and the above settings are what I find I need to use to minimise muck ups due to hurried shots and poor hand holding technique. AF is usually the next point of failure as I rarely get metering failures and that is minimised by having a eyepiece magnifier and being used to manually focusing.
I find back button focusing and single stage shutter release improves my hand held sharpness immensely.
 
Top