How I did it with my own damn camera: ISO

Just a reminder: I’m working my way through the 31 Days To A Better Photo clinic over at but focusing (get it, focusing, Ganuf) on how to do it specifically on the D5000. The camera is “newish” to me, I’ve had it since January and my an amazing new  18-200mm VRII  lens to use as my primary lens. So my goal is to get to know my camera better and get used to this new lens.

So 4 was ISO. ISO happens to be the one thing I ever learned to play with on my old D50. In searching for a way to improve my daughter’s indoor basketball photos I stumbled across ISO and learned that make some quick adjustments on the fly did a lot for those pictures. If you don’t understand ISO or want to learn more please visit Darcy’s blog and read the ISO Entry then come back here and I’ll talk about how I worked her clinic on my camera.

On the D50 it was easy to quickly adjust by pushing a button next to the display and turning the command dial so of course when I got my D5000 tried the same thing. No go. That button combo didn’t do the same thing. It didn’t work the same way and I could not find a similar substitution.

Adjusting the ISO on the D5000 involved firing up the information panel. Navigating around the screen, going into a menu and then choosing a setting. What a pain, so I left it on “Auto” mode and let the camera choose it’s ISO setting from then on.

Until yesterday.

Knowing I was going to write this and not wanting to look like fool I went back to the manual (the PDF version) and searched the term ISO. By doing this I found ALL the places that ISO was discussed in the manual not just the one I read before I got bored and wanted to go take pictures.

IMG_0211 What I learned was that I could program the FN button on the front/side to work the same way as the old method on the D50. By default it’s the timer button and I think in reading the paper manual the first thing I came across that it could be switched to was burst mode adjustments and I did that.

So the first take away here for me was – search the PDF version of your manual when you want to look a particular topic. It’s a quick and less painful way to isolate your particular subject. If you want to know more about what the FN button can be programmed for look at page 163 in the manual.

10-6-2010 8-43-05 AMBefore I go any further I will mention that the menu system for adjusting the ISO on the D5000 is really nice though if you have the time and energy to navigate to it. It on that left column in the information menu.

Once in the ISO menu it’s self you can scroll up and down the various speeds and there will be a little pictures displaying the kinds of subjects that work well at that speed. For example at 300 there is a picture of a guy on a jet ski but on 1600 the picture is of someone playing a piano in a concert hall. The ISO range is 200 to 3200 but there are some Lo and Hi setting that simulate as low as 160 and as high as 6400.

Okay so are you bored to death yet?

I was, so me and my newly reprogrammed FN button went back outside to the fountain. I started at 200 and doubled up each time until I reached 3200. Then for fun I tried the Hi2 which simulated 4000. Spun the cameral to auto and let it have it’s way, it chose 320.

10-5-2010 12-38-37 PM copy

The one at 1000 turned out to be my favorite



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