Sunday, January 16, 2011

OK, now I'm wondering...

I've bought this nice camera, which I love, just in case I haven't mentioned that...but now I'm wondering if I've been overthinking the settings all along. Should I have left the ISO setting and the WB settings on AUTO? It is difficult to try to reset everything every time I take a photo, and I know that the WB can be taken care of in Photoshop. The pics I played around with today definitely look better when I let the camera decide what ISO to use. Here's a photo I did the settings on. I used an ISO of 200 and a daylight WB. It's shot at an f3.2 and 1/15.

Then, I put the camera on automatic, which on my camera is the "P" setting, and I took a few more photos. This next pic is one the camera chose the settings on and I think the colors look better. The camera chose f2.0 and 1/80 at ISO 2500! The colors are more vibrant and at the small size I made the image for the blog, none of the noise is evident.

So, what I got from this brief exercise is that I'm confused, and that I need to repeat this until I gain better understanding of my camera's settings. I'd love it if I can stay on AUTO for ISO and WB. I'd love to hear from others what your experience has been. I'm so thankful that WB can be "doctored" with processing, at least in Photoshop. But what about ISO--are our cameras better judges of what ISO they need than we are? 

And, I've just got to say it--Kat, you've done it again! If all of these lessons are going to be this good, I'm going to have to start taking vitamins or something! You're the real thing! This is education/instruction at it's best and I'm so glad I signed up for this course!



  1. Thank you so much for the note, I am so happy that you are enjoying this class!

    ISO is always a noise trade-off - it really depends on what you are going to do with your pictures and what the other settings are. In your first image, the shutter speed of 1/15s means that you probably had some blurriness due to the movement of the camera while you took the image. The second image, while it has a higher ISO setting, was taken at a faster shutter speed of 1/80s and won't be subject to camera shake. It looked sharper when I enlarged the image.

    You have a newer camera (T2i right?) and they have good noise properties. If you are going to print your photos at enlarged sizes the noise could become an issue but for web viewing I honestly can't see any noise at all in the second image. The focus is sharper and the exposure looks nice!

  2. Oh, this is fascinating - I love seeing what you got out of this exercise! It's really interesting how much the camera settings affect our images, much more than I think about from day to day really.

    WB is one of the things I need to learn more about; I've never ventured out of auto-WB myself.

    ISO I set manually; 100 outside and otherwise for as long as I can manage, and then 200 or 400 if I really need to. More than that and I get, in my opinion, the most horrid noise (I have a fairly old camera).

    I would love an auto-ISO setting, actually. It happens too often that I up the ISO when I'm shooting inside, and forget to put it back when I go shoot outside in the sun...


  3. I am a bit confused by all the ins and outs of exposure too...but trying to focus on the basics and learn bit by bit. I've always used auto settings and it will be a struggle to remember to change all the settings for each photo. I guess it will all come naturally after a while.
    p.s. The second photo does seem brighter.