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Old Oct 28, 2006, 1:32 AM   #1
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Hi everyone. I just purchased an E-500 with 2 lens kit a few days ago. I'm loving the camera so far, but there's one issue that is bugging me. I set the ISO to AUTO, but no matter what the lighting condition, or what shutter or aperture I set, the camera ALWAYS uses ISO 100.

This results in one of two things: one: in low light the image is always extremely dark (when manually setting the shutter to, say, 1/20th second for natural light handheld shooting); or two: the image is very blurry, because the camera chooses a very long shutter speed in Program Auto mode (like 1 second) to compensate for using ISO 100 instead of a higher ISO automatically.

When I manually set the ISO, everything is fine. I just thought that by setting the upper Auto ISO limit to 800, that the camera would go as high as ISO 800 to keep up the shutter speed in low light (by low light I'm talking indoors, smallroomincandescent lighting, no flash used).

I'm new to digital SLRs, but I understand the basics of photography. Is this normal behaviour for this camera? If so, I don't understand why there would even be an AUTO ISO option at all, if it simply uses ISO 100 no matter what.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 1:39 AM   #2
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I wanted to add something else:

I tried setting the camera to full auto mode on the mode dial, with the flash disabled.

Even in that mode, the camera always chooses ISO 100, even in low light. The camera will use a shutter speed of about 1 second rather than raise the ISO above 100.

I set the upper ISO limit at 800.

Am I missing a setting that will allow the camera to automatically up the ISO?
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 3:55 AM   #3
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Try shooting in Shutter-Priority mode ('S' on the turn dial)?

That way, the camera adjusts aperture (f-stop) and ISO to match your shutter speed needed (using 1/f rule-of-thumb timing?) and also to the desired exposure bias.

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Old Oct 28, 2006, 7:09 AM   #4
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Auto ISO is one of those things that isn't explained in the manual. Auto ISO only operates in conjunction with the flash. Otherwise it stays at ISO100.
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 8:59 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies!

In response to cjtune's comment, I have tried shutter priority mode. Flash disabled, shutter speed set to 1/20th second. In this configuration, the camera ALWAYS uses ISO 100, even in low light (I'm trying to do handheld natural light photos in my house... 1/20th second is about the slowest shutter speed I can handhold without blur). Anyway, the image is always very dark because the camera opts for ISO 100. If I manually set ISO to, say, 1600 the image is properly exposed.

As to Mikefellh's comment - that makes sense given what I'm experiencing. I'm just wondering what your source is for that information? Or is this something that is common to all digital SLRs? My main concern is that I have a defective camera, and I want to determine that while I'm still in the store's return period.

Can any other E-500 users confirm that they're experiencing the same thing I am?
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 9:56 AM   #6
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Hi, I tried mine and it responds just as yours. I guess I hadn't noticed because I usually set the iso...Donna
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 10:24 AM   #7
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Yes, as Mikefellh has stated, the so-call "auto" ISO only operates in conjunction with the flash. Fortunately, I happened upon that little tidbit of information very early in my camera ownership so it wasn't a problem. But calling the ISO mode "auto" is a bit misleading since Olympus doesn't seem to explain why it functions the way it does.

Luckily, in the big picture (pun intended) it's really a non-issue since I wouldn't really feel comfortable with an ISO setting that changed with every exposure according to the command of the camera. It's one of those settings I'd want to control. Even it was truly automatic, I'd still want to set it myself. My standard "walking around" ISO is 200 which takes care of 90% of my needs...I change it manually if conditions require.

Your camera is operating normally.
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 10:38 AM   #8
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Thanks again for all the replies!

I agree Brent; I would also prefer to manually set ISO myself. I was thinking if I wanted to hand it over to my girlfriend or someone who was photographically illiterate, it would be nice to have a true fully-automatic mode.

I'm happy with the camera the way it is.
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 12:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
As to Mikefellh's comment - that makes sense given what I'm experiencing. I'm just wondering what your source is for that information? Or is this something that is common to all digital SLRs? My main concern is that I have a defective camera, and I want to determine that while I'm still in the store's return period. Can any other E-500 users confirm that they're experiencing the same thing I am?
Online discussions with many other Olympus users...this question comes up a lot in forums from E-300 and E-500 users as it's not covered in the manuals.

FYI, while my avatar is a C-700 I've been an E-300 user for 15 months.
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 1:13 PM   #10
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ajaubin wrote:
Quote:
Thanks again for all the replies!

I agree Brent; I would also prefer to manually set ISO myself. I was thinking if I wanted to hand it over to my girlfriend or someone who was photographically illiterate, it would be nice to have a true fully-automatic mode.

I'm happy with the camera the way it is.
Actually, if I were to hand my camera to my girlfriend, I would manually set the camera to ISO 400, which is still a perfectly good setting, even formy "old"E-300 and is a good general ISO setting. Not too fast for bright sunlight and not too slow when you move into shadows or indoors.
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