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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Canon Power Shot SX10IS - Changing ISO

My articles about using the Canon Powershot SX10IS are not likely to proceed in logical order from simplest to most complex, rather they will just show up as I discover and use the features.

I was trying to take pictures of some of my houseplants this week. On the automatic setting the camera insisted on flash, and the shot below shows how the light bounced off the "Desert Rose," creating a hot spot that I don't like.

succulents with flash burn spot

So I decided to switch the camera to Manual and see how difficult it would be to increase the "film speed." The larger the ISO number, the less light is required to take a good picture. In film developing ISO (formerly ASA) referred to the film's sensitivity to light. So for film with a high ISO you could keep the shutter open a shorter length of time. In digital technology the terminology has been retained and an arbitrary relationship between the exposure and sensor data has been created so people with long familiarity to film to not need to rethink the entire photographic process.

Therefore, since the plants were in rather low light, I wanted to increase the ISO so that I would not need to use the flash. Here is the result of changing the ISO to 1600, the highest regular setting allowed on this camera. Now, I've eliminated the hot spot, but overall the shot is a bit dark. (Supposedly there is a way to get the ISO to 3200 for special situations, but I haven't figured that out yet.)

succulents at ISO 1600

Canon Power Shot SX10IS selection wheelIt was very easy to make this change. With the selection wheel on the top right of the Canon Powershot SX10IS, move the wheel to M rather than AUTO.

Canon Power Shot SX10IS control buttonPress the ISO button on the rocker control button on the back right of the camera. You will see the display change to the screen shown below. If you do not see this, press the DISP button once, and it should change. You can now push the ISO button several more times to change the ISO through values of 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600. You could alternatively change that number by rotating the wheel that surrounds the control button. I chose 1600 and then took my picture.

 Canon Power Shot SX10ISISO display screen

Below is the final result after I had lightened the shot a bit with photo software. Overall it is a bit dark and dramatic, but I eliminated the hot spot caused by the flash and I am satisfied.

succulents final picture lightened with photo editing software

See Canon Power Shot SX10IS - Out of the Box

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