Flirting with Auto ISO

flirting with auto iso new growth koru on a NZ bush fern alongside the grandjeans walkway
flirting with auto iso new growth koru on a NZ bush fern alongside the grandjeans walkway

I have always been aware that most digital cameras have an Auto ISO feature but was never inspired to work with Auto ISO as my default setting.

This came about in part because I soon discovered that my first DSLR – a Nikon D5100 – didn’t perform too well at higher ISO settings, so I slipped into the habit of using ISO 200 as the power-on default.

In my experience, the D5100 performed okay up to and including ISO 1600, when a little bit of “grain” started to appear in photographs, but by ISO 3200 it was really noticeable. Above that quality was bad so I rarely ventured there!

But to get back to flirting with Auto ISO..

This story was inspired by an article I recently read called How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Auto ISO.

So yesterday, a beautiful sunny day here in Greymouth, I took a walk up the Grandjeans Walkway with my Panasonic Lumix G95 set to Auto ISO to see how it handled the rapidly changing light conditions in the bush, and to see if I could get to love auto ISO.

rusty drum taking on a life of its own as new growth swallows it up
Rusty drum – bright sunlight; Auto ISO 200
new growth koru on a NZ bush fern alongside the grandjeans walkway
Koru – open bush; Auto ISO 250
a sprouting koru - NZ bush fern - in the bush alongside the Grandjeans Creek walkway in Greymouth
Sprouting Koru – open bush; Auto ISO 800
sunlight on ferns
Sunlight on ferns – mottled shady bush; Auto ISO 1250
a tree growing in the middle of the grandjeans walkway path
A split in the path – mottled shaded bush; Auto ISO 4000
almost dry grandjeans creek walkway
Almost dry – heavily shaded bush; Auto ISO 6400

The bottom line is this. The Auto ISO setting worked well, with the Lumix G95 producing very high-quality images even as the ISO crept up to 6400, so I will be definitely happy to leave it set to Auto ISO for the foreseeable future.

Spoiler alert!

All images were tweaked in On1 PhotoRaw 2022, and the NoNoise AI was used on all the above images, except for Rusty drum.

Not that the images needed any noise reduction applied but because On1 Photo RAW is so good at helping me get the best out of my photos.

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