The ISO was only 400 — but the tiny sensor on this bridge camera could not handle it well.

What newbie wouldn’t be scared of ISO?

On one hand, it promises you brighter, better photos. . .

. . .but the other hand takes them away with great big blobs of grain.

Up to now, I simply ignored this third leg of the exposure triangle.

I figured that by keeping the ISO low (200 or below), I wouldn’t have to worry about grain.

But that limited my photos to bright light only, which brought new problems.


Even ISO couldn’t rescue this photo shot in harsh oblique light.

Adjusting the WB and/or using a CPL didn’t really fix things because I am still having a hard time distinguishing harsh light from bright light — until I see the evidence in my photos.

And no matter how I adjusted the white balance, cloudy-day photos were just too dark.


It didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed to face the problem of ISO like a big girl — and the sooner the better.


ISO 800!  A number that used to make me shudder in fear!

So, I took a deep breath and jumped in.  After scouring the Internet, I found that just because a camera boasts a wide range of ISO doesn’t necessarily mean that it handles it well.

In fact, I found that sensor size is an important factor in ISO performance.  So, forget bridge cameras — those tiny, less-than-an-inch sensors just won’t handle ISO well at all!


I decided to set my cameras to Auto ISO but with a limit to just how far it could go.

On my Canon 77d, which has an APS-C sensor, I found I could go as high as 128000 before the graininess became unacceptable.

But on my MFT cameras, I was better off setting the upper limit to 3200.

And the last remaining bridge camera I have — the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 — well, maybe I’ll sell it. It’s a great bright-light camera, but that’s all.  For now, though, I think it will just sit on the shelf for a while.

P8050095Maybe these settings will change as I improve my technique. . .

. . .but for now, this is where they are going to stay

These small changes were quite effective!

I saw IMMEDIATE improvement light-wise.

Autofocus works better, now that there is no low light to struggle through.

Distinct detail is much better to achieve now that autofocus isn’t struggling.  No more big, blobby subjects!

See for yourself!

All photos, including those above, were taken with the OM-D EM5iii wearing the Panasonic Lumix Vario OIS 100-300.


Poor little fishie!  But froggie is breathing a sigh of relief 😉


ISO 1000!  P.S.  Nice reflection, no? 😉


Another at ISO 1000.  So pleased that I am getting the hang of this!


ISO 640


I love letting the camera worry about the light — except when it clips the highlights!




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