ISO in the Camera: Camera ISO Range and Sensitivity: What is It?

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ISO in the Camera

Digital cameras have one significant difference from film cameras. It consists in using an electronic matrix instead of photographic film. In this article we’ll discuss ISO in the camera. At first, the cameras used the simplest sensor with a strictly fixed sensitivity value. But now the situation has changed. The ISO value can be changed even in cheap cameras.

What is ISO in the Camera?

Not everyone understands what ISO is in a camera, and often beginners never change this parameter, relying on automation. By this they essentially limit themselves. Remember how you used a film camera. If shooting was planned in nature, then the cheapest photographic film with ISO 100 was purchased. If the camera was supposed to be used in low light conditions, then the film was bought with ISO 400. It was more expensive, but the sensitivity could boast of a stronger one.

ISO in the Camera
ISO in the Camera

ISO is a parameter for light sensitivity. The matrix of modern cameras is capable of providing a fairly wide ISO range. This parameter is changed by pressing a pair of keys. The higher the value, the more detail will increase in low light conditions. The sensitivity is increased by a special electronic component. To do this, it increases the voltage applied to the matrix. Unfortunately, the highest parameters begin to influence the image negatively, as the photocells begin to come into close connection with each other, causing the appearance of digital noise. This is why some photographers choose to shoot at the lowest ISO setting. They increase detail by opening the aperture or increasing the shutter speed.

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ISO – The Sensitivity of the Camera

So, ISO is the sensitivity of the camera, but still not everyone understands the essence of this proposal. Some people do not understand how the matrix can better perceive details after pressing a couple of buttons. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at any sensor of a modern camera.

The matrix is ​​located in the back of the chamber. It is with its help that frames are fixed. The sensor consists of a certain number of photocells – pixels. Initially, their number was in the hundreds of thousands. Now the bill goes to tens of millions. Many people believe that higher resolution is only beneficial for the camera. But they forget about the simple law. It makes no sense to increase the number of photocells without increasing the size of the matrix. For example, an ordinary camera contains a 1/2.3-inch sensor. It usually has a 14MP resolution. If the number of photocells increases to 18 million, then you can forget about shooting at high ISO values. As the voltage rises, the photocells begin to interfere with each other. After that, digital noise appears in the picture – a lot of extra colored dots.

ISO - The Sensitivity of the Camera
ISO – The Sensitivity of the Camera

In the most expensive SLR cameras, the sensor size is identical to the frame area of ​​35 mm photographic film. But even such a sensor rarely has a high resolution. The smaller it is, the higher ISO the photographer can use. Only in the last couple of years have the creators started to make compromises, increasing the resolution of the full-frame sensor to 36 megapixels.

What is ISO Range?

Now let’s figure out what the ISO range is – you can find this parameter in the characteristics of almost any camera. The fact is that no camera can provide the user with an infinite increase in sensitivity. First, the battery and the aforementioned electronic component cannot provide very high voltage. Secondly, the maximum amperage could simply burn the matrix. Third, there is little sense in shooting at high ISOs, as there is an abundant amount of digital noise. A software squelch is trying to cope with this problem, but the quality of its implementation directly depends on the cost of the camera.

ISO Range
ISO Range

It is for these reasons that the manufacturer endows its cameras with a specific ISO range. Budget compact cameras provide the maximum opportunity to shoot at ISO 1600. Expensive solutions and mirrorless cameras can offer ISO 3200. But professional DSLRs are very well thought out in this regard. Their sensitivity range can be limited to ISO 102400 or even ISO 204800. But such devices are extremely expensive. Such cameras are good for shooting the starry sky and night landscapes.

ISO Sensitivity – What is It?

Many manufacturers provide their cameras with a separate ISO button. Pressing it allows you to switch to the sensitivity change mode. The value is selected by pressing the “Up” and “Down” buttons. Professional DSLRs even allow you to manually enter the numerical parameter of interest.

ISO - The Sensitivity of the Camera
ISO Sensitivity

Sometimes the camera lacks an ISO button. In this case, the sensitivity is changed in the menu. Any camera has an automatic sensitivity selection mode. When this parameter is set, the device automatically selects one or another ISO value. You shouldn’t really trust this regime. The camera can easily make a mistake in determining the exposure, after which the sensitivity is decreased or increased, which will directly affect the image quality.

ISO sensitivity and what it is – you can now easily answer this question. If you are shooting in low light conditions (without using a flash), then you should choose a higher ISO value. In all other cases, it is recommended to shoot at ISO 100. Try increasing the detail by increasing other parameters. And good shots to you.