Nikon Americas USA

121ArticlesRemaining

4.0 Rating
ISO Control

For digital photography, ISO refers to the sensitivity of the camera's sensor. The ISO setting is one of…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Understanding Auto ISO

Auto ISO can simplify shooting under changing lighting conditions

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Understanding ISO Sensitivity

Photography is built on the three pillars of exposure: shutter speed, aperture and…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Capturing or Freezing Motion in Photos

Learn how to freeze the motion in an action scene or capture a blur to show…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
A Basic Look at the Basics of Exposure

The relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO is the basis of every…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
3D Color Matrix Metering II

This system of evaluating light determines the best possible exposure for a particular…

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.9 Rating
Exposure Compensation When Using i-TTL Gets Easier with the D4/D4s

Exposure compensation and flash compensation can be…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Photographing Dogs: Capturing Action

Tips for taking better photos of your dog in action.

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Shooting Long Exposures:

Deborah Sandidge on shooting long exposure landscapes and cityscapes

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Photograph the Classic Holiday Light Bokeh Effect

Tips for shooting lights as soft globes of color

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
Action and People Photography

For those who want to take better people and action photos

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Vibration Reduction

Vibration Reduction (VR) is an image stabilization technology that minimizes blur caused by camera…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Prime Lenses

What is a prime lens? Well, it's a lens that isn't a zoom. A prime lens has a fixed focal length which means…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
COOLPIX Cameras and Cool Lighting with Speedlights

Lucas Gilman shows you how to use Speedlights with COOLPIX cameras

NEW
Read
Viewing
0.0 Rating

Be the first to rate

For Great Nature Photos, Look Close to Home

Carol Freeman on photographing nature in your "backyard"

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Using legacy NIKKOR lenses with the Nikon Df

How to set the Df to accept legacy Non-Ai or Ai lenses

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
Canyon Country Shooting

Tips for taking great photos of the Southwestern United States

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Marketplace: Step by Step

Taking it easy with the D3200

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
Going Solo: A Two-Wheel Photo Journey Across Asia

Photojournalist Eleanor Moseman documents vanishing cultures

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Let the Sun Shine In!

Bambi Cantrell's quick exposure tips in bright sunlight

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
For Memorable Family Vacation Photos, Focus First on Family

Tamara Lackey on taking great photos during family vacations

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Taking Better Photographs of the American West

When you get a chance to visit the open prairies, and photograph ranchers…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
Destination Europe: Do a Little Research, Then Go Light on the Gear

Blaine Harrington on travel photography in Europe

NEW
Read
Viewing

ISO Control

ISO originally referred to the sensitivity of film—it's "light gathering" ability. The higher the ISO rating, the greater the film's ability to capture images taken in low light. High ISO film was called fast film—it required a shorter exposure than a low ISO film. For digital photography, ISO refers to the sensitivity—the signal gain—of the camera's sensor.

The ISO setting is one of three elements used to control exposure; the other two are f/stop and shutter speed. In most cases manually setting the f/stop and shutter speed, or using one of the camera's automatic exposure controls (aperture- or shutter-priority, for example) is all you'll need to do. But when the situation calls for a shallow depth-of-field and, thus, a wide lens opening, and/or a fast shutter speed, that combination may not allow enough light to reach the sensor. Or, in the case of photographing a concert performance, the widest lens opening and slowest hand-holdable shutter speed may not enable enough light to reach the sensor. The solution for both instances: boost the ISO to increase the sensor's sensitivity to light.

With film cameras, using a higher ISO film, such as ISO 400 to 1000, often resulted in noticeable grain. With digital photography, the equivalent is noise. Fortunately, many Nikon D-SLRs, using Nikon's EXPEED image processing concept, are capable of image capture at high ISO settings—800, 1600, 3200 and even higher—without noticeable noise.

Selected Nikon D-SLRs offer auto ISO control, a feature that will maintain a selected shutter speed range. Here's how it works: In aperture-priority operation, for instance, choose ISO control and set a base shutter speed of, for example, 1/250 second—meaning that you don't want the shutter speed to go below that setting. When the light level in the scene requires a shutter speed slower than 1/250 second, the camera will automatically kick up the ISO to maintain that shutter speed.

So don't forget that along with f/stop and shutter speed, ISO is an important element of exposure control.

Welcome to
Nikon Learn & Explore

We've made it easy to find all the videos, tutorials &
stories you care about, get tips and advice from pros,
learn new shooting techniques, discover classes and
workshops—in short, help you find new inspiration
every time you visit. (And we hope you visit often.)

Get the Learn & Explore iPhone App

Access all the photography techniques, advice and inspiration of Nikon's Learn & Explore anytime, anywhere with the free app for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad®.
photo of two iPhones with the Nikon L&E app on the screens

Take Today's Poll

Make your opinion count and check back often to participate in new polls.

Attend Nikon School

Take your photographic knowledge to the next level; get a working understanding of your camera's features; learn how to create DSLR videos; discover how to edit your images using Capture NX2 software and more.

Nikon School logo and Brian Skerry underwater photo of fish on a reef

Subscribe to the
L&E e-Newsletter

And get great tips and techniques to try next time you go shooting!

L&E e-newsletter examples graphic

Learn photo & video terms!

Learn & Explore features an expansive glossary of over 800 photographic terms. Visit the L&E glossary to learn about specific Nikon camera features or more general photographic or video terms and definitions. Browse the glossary by letter, number or icon.
glossary graphic