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Camera Fundamentals: What is ISO?

Caleb Ward

With this helpful video tutorial on ISO, you’ll be turning that dial to manual in no time.

ISO is a funny measurement that can certainly be confusing to new filmmakers and photographers. In its most basic form ISO is a measurement of the sensitivity of your image sensor; higher ISO being more sensitive and lower ISO being less. When an ISO number is high (3200+), you can expect to see an overall brighter/noisier image. On some video cameras this is measured as gain.

The following video created by the camera experts at Adorama gives us some better insights into how ISO works. It covers:

  • Reducing Noise
  • Shooting in Low Light
  • Disadvantages of High ISO Numbers

ISO is just one of the three big factors in what is known as the “exposure triangle”.

This video was first shared on Adorama’s YouTube Channel. Thanks for sharing guys!

As the video states increased ISO numbers have historically been associated with increased noise, but new cameras such as the Sony A7S offers incredible performance at high ISO numbers with minimal noise. So who knows, maybe in the future ISO is going to go the way of the dinosaurs, or the DV tape for that matter.

If you want to be a real master at exposing your images be sure to read up on ISOShutter Speed, and Aperture, here on the Premiumbeat Blog.

Have any tips for working with ISO? Share in the comments below.