How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Auto ISO

cc-truckMy friend Mark Toal is a big fan of using the Auto ISO setting and wrote a post for our sister blog Mirrorless Photo Tips that you can read here. I even wrote a counter-post about why I didn’t like this feature and that’s mainly because the programs used by cameras at that time favored higher ISOs (and higher noise.) But I’ve changed my mind.

Over the last several months, I’ve been doing a lot of low light and nighttime photography, mostly while testing fast f/1.4 lenses for Shutterbug magazine and after my first disappointing outing, it because clear to me when shooting under this kind of iffy light where you don’t have time to put the camera on a tripod or have to work fast and get the shot, Auto ISO removes one more piece of the exposure puzzle. Like shooting in the cloudy light at January’s Cars & Coffee.

Case in point was last week’s Cars & Coffee at the Vehicle Vault: It was 27 degrees and overcast with a light breeze that made the most popular vehicle at the event the Coffee Wagon, not the Maserati Levante SUV that had me transfixed.


So did Mark convince me I was wrong. Partly, I would say ‘yes’ but there’s nothing more than the school of hard knocks to make a photographer have a reality check. So now, I’m a fan of Auto ISO and I’m not going back to my old ways when shooting in questionable and changeable lighting conditions but when the weather is bright and shining, I still prefer to pick my own (low) ISO setting

Attendance was way down at this cloudy, cold Cars& Coffee and nobody won the door prize: LensPen donated several of their eyeglass cleaning tools called Peeps that will be used as door prizes at upcoming Coffee & Camera meetups. If you wear glasses, even subglasses, just walk up to me at next month’s Cars & Coffee and ask me for a set and you’ll be a winner.

Along with photographer Barry Staver, Joe is co-author of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s now out-of-print but new copies are available at collector (high) prices or used copies for giveaway prices—less than two bucks—from Amazon.