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Old Mar 22, 2006, 9:02 AM   #1
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In an effort to combat noise (yeah, I'm one of those people who notice it), I've been thinking of locking the ISO sensitivity at 100 (or even 80, but I'm a bit too used to ISO 100 film) instead of leaving it on the default Auto setting, in order to prevent the camera switching to the higher-noise levels in low light. In the past when I've taken photos where the camera has auto-switched to ISO 200 or 400, the pictures have been so bad that I deleted them, so I figure I'm not losing anything. Can anyone think of any downsides to this?

(Yes, I know I'll lose the ability to take some types of low-light shots, but since I found the chroma noise so bad when I tried this at higher ISO settings that I deleted them anyway, I don't consider this a problem).
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 9:23 AM   #2
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I think if you took a survey here you would find that most of use keep our cameras set to one of the two lowest settings for ISO. I personally only change ISO when I must have more sensitivity. That would be if my shutter speed dropped below about 1/13 on a stationary subject, or if I'm experimenting with other settings.
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 9:41 AM   #3
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Great, thanks! Is there much noticeable difference between ISO 80 and 100 in terms of noise reduction? Normally I'd experiment a bit at different ISO settings and light levels, but I'm off to explore some abandoned mines for the next three days (assuming the weather holds up) so I don't have that luxury available at the moment.
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 12:46 PM   #4
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Lens Flare wrote:
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Great, thanks! Is there much noticeable difference between ISO 80 and 100 in terms of noise reduction? Normally I'd experiment a bit at different ISO settings and light levels, but I'm off to explore some abandoned mines for the next three days (assuming the weather holds up) so I don't have that luxury available at the moment.
I don't see much difference between the two. However, I would think an abandoned mine is going to be pretty dark. If you need to use the flash anyway just go for ISO80 and be done with it. If you may be able to take some pics without using the flash then ISO100 will make that task a little easier.

-Brett
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 9:03 PM   #5
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Inside a mine, I would go for long exposures. I recently posted a topic that illustrates how the FZ30 can be used to take 1 second exposures without a tripod, as long as you're patient, willing to take more than one attempt, and have the camera zoomed all the way out. You definitely don't want to use anything above ISO 100 for long exposures though, the noise gets way out of hand.

You can also get good looking results by setting the flash to a much dimmer setting to use as a fill light. Combined with a somewhat slower shutter speed like 1/6, you can get reliably sharp and bright pictures without the harsh contrast of a regular flash photo. You'll probably need to get pretty comfortable with manual mode though.
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 9:50 PM   #6
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Just to clarify my earlier post, I'm not actually planning to go inside any abandoned mines (that would be somewhat unwise), just exploring the vicinity to get shots of abandoned workings, rusting mining relics, whatever I can find that looks interesting. The workings tend to be located in steep gorges with little direct light and much of the area is covered in thick bush, so I'll see how it goes. Having followed some of the HDR threads I'm almost tempted to haul a tripod out there, but I think I'll end up regretting that once I'm several up some steep valley... maybe next time.
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Old Mar 26, 2006, 11:08 PM   #7
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Lens Flare wrote:
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Just to clarify my earlier post, I'm not actually planning to go inside any abandoned mines (that would be somewhat unwise), just exploring the vicinity to get shots of abandoned workings, rusting mining relics, whatever I can find that looks interesting
So the whole thing was more or less spoiled by the first autumn storm, hanging around in narrow mountain gorges prone to flooding isn't a good idea so we left again after only one day. Mostly to prove I was there, here's a not-terribly-interesting shot of the remains of a generating plant that used Pelton wheels to produce power for one of the batteries used to crush and refine gold.
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Old Mar 27, 2006, 7:36 AM   #8
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Just another point of view ....I use auto almost all the time about the only time I do not is when I want to use ISO400.

But that may have a lot to do with the type of photos I take and where I live....I like to take wildlife photos and a lot of time in less than perfect light....so shutterspeed becomes much more important than noise.....The reason I wanted to mention that ,is for someone just starting with an ultrazoom, I believe they should leave it on auto until they are sure they do not want it there.

I just think people should see the great photos the camera can take before they try to improve them.....which many feelthey can do.

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Old Mar 27, 2006, 9:07 AM   #9
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genece wrote:
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But that may have a lot to do with the type of photos I take and where I live....I like to take wildlife photos and a lot of time in less than perfect light....so shutterspeed becomes much more important than noise
I mostly do landscape photos, so I've got the opposite goal. For example in the photo below I'd have been really annoyed to have the black silhouette area speckled with chroma noise, which is what happened in a comparison photo I took with the ISO level set to Auto. When I locked it to ISO 100 I got the noiseless black silhouette that I was hoping for.
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Old Mar 27, 2006, 9:30 AM   #10
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Beautiful photo and a point well taken.....but as I said you know why you chose the setting you did.

I just feel many people lock the setting and then are upset because of motion blur...

Your example makes a strong point for your point of view.

I use center weight meter or at times spot and I am not sure the FZ30 would have chose a higher ISO....but maybe it would.
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