Best ISO for Video - B&C Camera

What is the ideal ISO setting for video? A more complex question to answer than one would think. Firstly – what is ISO?


ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. What does that mean?



What is ISO?

The sensitivity of your sensor to light is known as ISO. The ISO setting you choose depends on the amount of light in the situation you're capturing. You may lower your ISO if there's a lot of lighting in the shot or raise it when there isn't enough light. 


ISO is one of the essential camera settings to grasp. In most modern cameras, ISO numbers range from 100 to 6400. A few cameras have a maximum ISO of 80, while others can reach 25,000+ (bananas)!


Changing your ISO between different videos you capture is one of the most significant advantages of digital videography. You couldn't change your ISO (or ASA, as it was known) with film, so you had to choose a film based on its native ability to capture light and then take all of your photos at the same ASA rating. Using film made capturing scenes in a variety of lighting conditions difficult.


How to Choose the Best ISO?

Here are some helpful guidelines for choosing an ISO:

On a bright and sunny day, you can use a lower ISO setting because there is so much light. Less light is available on a cloudy day, so you must raise your ISO. Indoor photographs have even less light than outdoor photos, so if you don't want to use an external light or led light, you may increase your ISO to compensate for it.


Best ISO for Video?

A basic guide for best ISO for video:

  • 100 or 200 is the best ISO for a sunny day or bright setting with lots of light.
  • 400 ISO for cloudy days or indoor shots.
  • 800 ISO for indoors without an external light.
  • 1600+ ISO for low light situations. 


However, this is extra tricky to follow because it depends on your camera's capability, which changes from brand to brand. So you'll have to research what your camera can do and then test it. For some cameras, 1600 is NOTHING, and you can get perfect images. For other cameras, 1600 is a maxed-out ISO, and you'll start to see digital "noise" in your picture, and that's a no-no.


Can I Use Auto ISO?

Why shouldn't you just use Automatic ISO, you may be wondering?

Sure, use Auto ISO if you don't know how to use the manual settings and are in a hurry. But I recommend keeping an eye on your video noise levels. Auto settings don't consider the noise level, they try to get exposure, and you can ruin your photo or video in the process.


Whether you're a photographer moving to digital photography or a videographer about to shoot a low-light wedding, use your ISO extensively but sparingly. The golden rule is 'add light when you can' and rely on ISO as little as possible. 


Other than that, it's a great tool and an essential side of your exposure triangle.


Happy (and bright) shooting!


Related article: The 3 Most Important Camera Settings

Related article: Best Camera Settings for Video

Related article: Best ISO for Portraits


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