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Chad Perkins: For most cameras there is a sweet spot when it comes to ISO. Basically what that means is there is ISO settings that just get better results. This is referred to as the native ISO. Brian Liepe: So for Canon cameras these are multiples of 160. So 160, 320 and so on, which means you'll probably get less noise at an ISO setting of 320 then you will at 200. Chad Perkins: One thing to be aware of, at least on these Canon cameras at least, is that for some crazy reason native ISO values conflict with something called Highlight Tone Priority mode.
I love Highlight Tone Priority mode. It's basically a way that we can manage highlights and make them look better with these DSLR cameras. And we'll get into that a little bit more when we talk about the limited latitude of these DSLRs, but this is a real annoyance because if we want to turn Highlight Tone Priority mode on, it again disables those ISO values. Now a lot of professionals recommend that you actually do that, that you turn off Highlight Priority Mode so that you have access to all those native ISO settings. I disagree.
From my experience, it's way easier to get rid of a little extra noise than it is to recover damaged highlights. But the choice is yours whether you want to have a little extra noise or damaged highlights.
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