Everyone’s heard of it, yet its exact meaning is not as well known: ISO values. Besides the aperture and exposure time of a camera, the ISO value plays a very important role in both analogue and digital photography.
Of course you can just select the automatic mode on your camera and take photographs without having to think too much, and without any previous knowledge. Attractive photographs can also be taken this way thanks to the outstanding pre-sets on most cameras. For those who want to get the most technical potential out of their camera, however, you’ll have to plunge a bit deeper into the fascinating world of camera settings, including ISO and shutter speeds, as well as getting acquainted with terms such as lens aperture and focus.
For your efforts, you’ll be rewarded with fantastic photos and almost infinite configuration possibilities when taking pictures. Depending on your camera’s settings, emphasis will be put on different sections of your photo due to lighting and sharpness. Interesting effects can be produced in your photos featuring moving objects by varying the shutter speed. If you want to take a “sharp” photo despite a lot of movement, you can choose a shorter shutter speed of the aperture to make sure that your motif is, so to speak, “frozen” in the picture. If you choose to use a longer shutter speed for your motif, such as a tenth of a second instead 1/250 of a second, then your motif will appear blurrier. You can use this effect to create impressive photos.
Besides the fully automatic and manual modes available, most cameras offer other camera pre-sets which are optimally calibrated for various motifs and other dedicated functions. An example is the white fader pre-set which is optimised for ambient light. Self-explanatory symbols illustrate the lighting conditions of the surroundings, such as clouds for twilight, or a light bulb for artificial lighting. If you choose the symbol for the current light conditions, most cameras will automatically adjust the white balance accordingly. Besides these self-explanatory symbols, many cameras feature other symbols that can be a bit cryptic for laymen. Do you know which programs on the camera are labelled as “A”, “S”, “M”, or “P”?
In this category we’ll explain the symbols found on your camera and the various automatic and manual setting possibilities as well as how to use them correctly.
Thanks to this information, you’ll be able to take better photos and make full use of the technical potential of your camera.