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What does ISO stand for in Photography

What does ISO stand for in photography is one of the most asked questions by new photographers and new students. The term originated in the film days and was used to measure the films sensitivity to light. At one time the “film speed” was referred to as the films “ASA”, then it was changed to ISO which is derived from the Greek word “Isos” meaning equal when the major film manufacturers decided to standardize the film speeds across the market. This was accomplished by the international organization for standards.

In digital photography the same term is used to set the sensors sensitivity to light by boosting the signal going to the sensor. The higher the number the more you can capture in lower light conditions. The newer digital cameras have reduced one of the major problems with shooting at higher ISO and that is noise. Some older cameras, that being 2-3 years and older cameras had a problem with noise at just over 400 ISO. Noise is in the form of random color specks particularly in darker areas of your capture. Now with the newer cameras the noise issue at higher ISO settings has been reduced and in many cases eliminated.

Click on the links below to receive additional information for books on the topic.

Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition)

The Digital Photography Book

Click on this link to see all the books available at Amazon.com on photography:

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One Response to “What does ISO stand for in Photography”

  1. […] Read more here:  What does ISO stand for in Photography « Fotosbyfeliciano's Blog […]


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