Camera Sensitivity

Sensitivity or ISO is referred to the ability of the sensor picking up the light hitting on it. For conventional film camera, it is depend on the film. For film camera, in order to change the ISO, user will need to change the film, whereas in digital camera, ISO setting can be change easily by a press of button.
 

In film camera, lower ISO film means it need more light for sufficient exposure and it produces photo with finer grain. However for film with higher ISO rating, then lesser light is needed for sufficient exposure, but the photos will be grainier.
Same theory applies to the DSLR nowadays. With lower ISO, more light is needed by the sensor and the photo produced is lesser noise. However for higher ISO, less light is needed but the photo will create more noise.

Coincidentally, both got the same outcome, less ISO will need more light and produce better photo, high ISO will need lesser light but suffered grainy output in film camera and higher noise in digital camera. For digital camera, when ISO is higher, less light is needed as it is amplified at the sensor. However, the noise is amplified together and causing a noisy output.


Example of photo with ISO100

Example of photo with ISO3200
Noticed the noise resulted in the photos with ISO3200 compare to the other one with ISO100. The noise that is produce has blurred the water drops on the tomatoes and the texture of the table that it is sitting at.
The normal ISO setting is as below,
ISO50, ISO100, ISO200, ISO400, ISO800, ISO1600, ISO3200

The difference between the ISO settings is 1 EV. For example the sensitivity of ISO 200 is twice as much as ISO 100 and sensitivity of ISO 800 is twice as much as ISO 400. Similar to aperture and shutter speed setting, the different between each ISO setting is consider as one stop. For example, ISO200 is one stop higher than ISO100.
As discussed in how the exposure value works, ISO setting is take into consideration when we change it to achieve sufficient exposure.

For example: F4, 1/30s, ISO800 = F2, 1/30s, ISO200
Both will gives the same exposure level, as the aperture size goes up two stop and ISO dropped two stop.

Controlling the ISO setting enables us to take photos in low light environment. However, increasing the ISO setting gives us a pain in the back - the increase of noise in the photos. Hence for photographers that seek quality photos, they tend to use lower ISO setting together with tripods.
 

More about Camera Setting


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