Do we miss kind of iso auto in manual mode?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by alaios, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Hi all,
    I have a nex-f3 so I am not sure if the same applies to all the other nex cameras.
    There are times that I think I am missing the auto iso option.

    For example, I am outside using a 135mm lens.. I need then to have a shutter speed around 1/250.
    If I turn my camera on shutter priority the used aperture might not be enough for the depth of field I would like to capture.
    If I turn my camera on aperture priority, typically get very short shutter speeds like 1/60 which will just give blur shots.
    If I turn then my camera on manual mode, I can set the shutter speed 1/250, the aperture where I need it and then set the ISO. Yes but

    in shutter priority and in aperture priority mode the auto iso gives you also more options. For example you might get an iso of 1250, or 2500 options that are not available in manual mode. Why do I care because in such high shutter speeds I need high iso and having more options would allow me to have only the needed noise I want to accumulate and not much more. Typical example going from 1600 to 3200 when setting iso manually and missing this lovely option of iso 2500 reducing also the noise you get.

    Am I correct here? Do you also luck this auto iso after setting manually shutter speed and aperture?

    I would like to thank you in advance for your help

  2. Mellow

    Mellow TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 18, 2013
    Florida or Wyoming
    First post here, since I've recently bought a NEX-5N, but am a long-time m43 user (and still am). This topic comes up from time to time on the m43 boards because Olympus has it and Panasonic doesn't.

    In a nutshell: you're correct--it's very useful, and a shame it's not standard on all cameras. Not only for the scenario you describe, but for shooting indoors--when you often want a fast shutter speed to freeze action, but the widest aperture possible because the light is dim. This is one of those features I absolutely love on my Olympus cameras and miss like crazy on others. I'm not very familiar with the NEX yet, but I'm not surprised it doesn't have it either. Too bad.
  3. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2012
    None of the current models has that ability/feature and yes I would like it or at least be able to set ISO at more increments in M mode. Defining a highest ISO would also be nice.
  4. Luiz Curcino

    Luiz Curcino TalkEmount Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    Uberlandia-MG Brasil
    I have Nex5N and Nex6.
    As I like to use manual lens and when shooting in low light condition, I set the Nex to speed priority mode (S) and so I control the shutter speed and aperture manually. Thus, the auto ISO operates up to 3200. Because the auto ISO in manual mode (M) does not work.

    Below photo I set f1.4, 1/250s to freeze and auto ISO worked to the will up to 3200.

    auto ISO 2000
    Nex5N, Rokinon 85mm f1.4 @1.4 por Luiz Curcino, no Flickr

    auto ISO 400
    Nex5N Rokinon 85mm f1.4 por Luiz Curcino, no Flickr
  5. lowbone

    lowbone TalkEmount Regular

    Oct 21, 2012
    Nice shots.
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs TalkEmount Regular

    Feb 9, 2013
    To me, auto-ISO is one of the incredible tools enabled by the great new sensors we're all shooting with that really hasn't begun to be fully taken advantage of by the camera companies yet. Or at least MOST camera companies, Sony among them. For the street shooting I do a lot of, auto-ISO, when really well implemented, is an amazingly useful tool. The camera that's really turned my head around on its potential is the little Nikon Coolpix "A", which I believe uses the same approach to auto-ISO as the Nikon DSLRs - I've never spent any time with one of their DSLRs so I don't know how fully it copies that system, but its pretty incredibly good, regardless. It trumps the Nex system in both manual mode and aperture priority mode, trumps the RX1 in aperture priority mode, trumps the Fuji cameras in both, trumps any m43 camera I've used in both, etc. The only other maker that's coming pretty close seems to be Ricoh/Pentax, which is as good in manual mode and close but ultimately not quite there for my needs in aperture priority mode.

    The Nikon in aperture priority mode allows for a user-designated base ISO, maximum ISO, and minimum shutter speed (which, amazingly and importantly, can be set as high as 1/1000 of a second). For me, this is perfect. I'd imagine it could also be key for action shooters, particularly with long lenses, sports shooters, wildlife shooters, etc. For street shooting, I like a shutter speed of at least 1/500 because I often shoot while I'm moving and the combinations of my movements and the subject's movements seem to cause blur a little too often at lower shutter speeds. By 1/500, it almost never happens. So I can set the Nikon in aperture priority with a max ISO of 6400 and a minimum shutter speed of 1/500. Then I set my aperture for the right DOF (I use zone focus, so DOF is critical) and just go shoot. I know the camera will select the lowest ISO that will still allow a 1/500 shutter speed in decent light. As I move into low light situations I use a larger aperture and know my "zone" of focus will be narrower (but still workable) and I know that the camera will maintain as high a shutter speed as possible. When there's enough light, it will continue to maintain that 1/500 shutter speed all the way up to ISO 6400 - once it's pegged at 6400, if there's not enough light for a proper exposure, it will THEN lower the shutter speed below 1/500 but only as much as is needed at that ISO. Essentially the camera is using the same balance of tradeoffs that I would use if I was making the ISO and/or shutter speed adjustments manually. But I don't have to think about them, except that in low light I have to monitor it so I can adjust my shooting once the shutter speed does start coming down. This has been truly liberating. The Ricoh is designed very similarly and comes close, but it's highest minimum shutter speed is 1/250 - not fast enough for me, but still the same basic logic and very effective for those satisfied with a minimum shutter speed of 1/250. The Sony's, any of them I've used, don't allow any selectable minimum shutter speed in auto ISO - the Nex and RX100 seem to default to 1/60 whenever possible, the RX1 to 1/80. Some of the Fujis allow a minimum shutter speed but limit it to 1/125, the other models don't allow a user selection at all. Nor do the m43 models, except that Olympus allows a workaround that gets you close to that...

    In manual mode, the key thing to me is that exposure compensation be enabled with auto-ISO. This makes it something other than a "manual" mode I realize, but without that, its pretty useless for changing light situations as you move in and out of shadows, shoot with the sun and then into the sun, etc. The RX1 does this. The Nikon does this. The Ricohs do this (the GR even has its own mode for this, in addition to manual). The Fuji's don't do this. Panasonic nor Olympus do this in the m43 world. And the neither the Nex or RX100 even allow auto ISO in manual mode, so needless to say they don't either.

    I honestly think Nikon is the gold standard that all cameras should model their auto-ISO implementation after. It seems to me that most companies just haven't fully considered the possibilities that a good auto-ISO implementation opens up with the incredible high DR and high ISO sensors they're putting in cameras now. When auto-ISO first started showing up, the sensors were barely able to take advantage of it, let along like they can now. But now its a potentially powerful tool. And it would seem the programming needed for an implementation like Nikon or Ricoh is using wouldn't be particularly difficult to add to any camera in firmware. But I just don't think they're thinking about it yet. They should. Sony and others as well...

    This, along with the lack of any sort of distance scale for use with manual focus is what has kept me from owning another Nex in recent years (I had one of the original Nex 5 cams for a while after they came out). But I keep checking to see if they add these features - I quite like the cameras otherwise, but these are deal-breakers for me.

  7. Mellow

    Mellow TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 18, 2013
    Florida or Wyoming
    Great review Ray.
    With regard to m43, all that's missing--as I understand it--is AEC in M-mode, right? I use my m43 cameras as you describe them, and adjust both the maximum ISO and set the shutter speed. I agree it would be enormously useful to be to compensate exposure, and it seems as this would be an incredibly easy firmware fix (for Olympus? yeah, right!).

    Heck, for all manufacturers it seems like this would be an incredibly easy firmware fix. The cameras already compute exposure, and allow it to be compensated--how hard could it be to make ISO the adjustable parameter instead of A or S?

    Here's hoping we see it in the new NEXs, or even better as a firmware upgrade for the old ones.
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs TalkEmount Regular

    Feb 9, 2013
    Actually, I haven't used my m43 gear for street for a while, and for most other stuff that I personally shoot, almost any of the auto ISO implementations will work well enough for me in aperture or shutter priority. But I just went back and checked my OMD. Auto ISO isn't available at ALL in manual mode, exposure comp or not - basically the same as the Nex. In aperture priority mode, however, its basically as good as the Ricoh, although its tougher to figure out how to set it up, as is usually the case with Olympus. You can set an upper and lower limit on ISO and then you can also set a minimum shutter speed but only up to 1/250. But you have to use the "flash slow limit" menu item to set this minimum shutter speed. I'd have NEVER figured this out on my own but there was an article on DPR that pointed it out not long after the OMD was introduced. I don't have a Panasonic body at the moment, so I don't know exactly what the newest ones do, but IIRC they have an auto ISO and something like "intelligent auto-ISO" and the intelligent setting emphasizes a faster shutter speed, but I still don't think its particularly user-configurable, although you can sort of express a preference...

    So, really almost every camera that I've used or tried to use comes up short in some way other than the Nikon. The Ricoh comes closest and the Olympus is as good as the Ricoh in aperture priority mode. A few cameras are equally good in manual mode, including the RX1. Unfortunately, Sony hasn't seen fit to put ANY of this functionality into the Nex bodies, as far as I can tell. The Nex 6 is the only recent Nex I've spent any real time with but I seriously doubt that basic functionality would be put in any of the other Nex models if its not in the Nex 6...

  9. Mellow

    Mellow TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 18, 2013
    Florida or Wyoming

    Actually, this isn't true with the Olys--you can engage Auto-ISO in M-mode, though it's a hard option to find so I'm not surprised you missed it. You have to set Auto-ISO to "ALL", meaning in all modes, A, S, and M. Then when you use M mode the camera will automatically select the ISO to set exposure. Unfortunately you can't use AEC in this mode, which sucks.

    The Pannys don't have this option at all, which has been a source of frustration to some Panny owners.
  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs TalkEmount Regular

    Feb 9, 2013
    You're right - thanks for pointing that out. It should have been obvious, but nothing's obvious in the Oly menus. I can usually find something if I go looking for it, but I hadn't gone looking for that and missed it entirely.

    Its academic for my use, but definitely good to know. Thanks again...

  11. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Interesting discussion. I haven't had the experience with more advanced cameras that many of you have. My Nex-5R is my first non-P&S, although my previous Sony super-zoom had limited manual settings that I used from time to time. My picture taking tends to be pretty simple: I select the ISO I want for the light conditions, then choose my aperture based on the DOF I want, and adjust the shutter speed up/down to get the EV I want. Thanks for the discussion on how to do things differently.

  12. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    In short, yes. Canon has it, so not like it's hard to do.

    Using a legacy lens with camera in S mode works like M with auto - you can set the aperture on the lens, shutter speed on camera, and ISO gets set automatically.

    Nothing for the native lenses, though. Also, it's very annoying that Next doesn't go back to Auto ISO when switching from M to another mode.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
  13. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Re: the original question- do I miss auto ISO in manual? Nope, I don't miss something I've never had. ;)
  14. jcdoss

    jcdoss TalkEmount Regular

    Jul 6, 2013
    Same here! It's easy to forget to lower shutter speeds sometimes, though, because the ISO shows as AUTO instead of the number without a half-press.

    edit- Of note, Pentax has a unique TAv mode on the dial, which allows control of aperture and shutter while allowing ISO to float in a user-defined range. Unfortunately, NEX works with old manual lenses better than Pentax's own DSLRs, hence here I am with a NEX-6.

    Sent from my MB855 using TalkNEX mobile app
  15. Benjamin

    Benjamin TalkEmount Regular

    Im never a fan of the camera picking out the iso. Thats one thing I ALWAYS want control over.
  16. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2012
    Giving auto ISO in manual doesn't take away our ability to set it though and there's no 'fine tuning' We can choose 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 but auto ISO can pick something in-between. 1000, 1250. It would be great to be able to choose that.
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs TalkEmount Regular

    Feb 9, 2013
    Depends on what I'm shooting. For some types of shooting, I want to control it manually. For others, I'm VERY happy to let the camera choose it as long as I can set the parameters / limits, etc. It's just one more exposure variable that I can decide to control or let the camera handle it...

  18. porchard

    porchard TalkEmount Rookie

    May 8, 2013
    Yes, I agree - having the choice is the point here. There are times when I want full manual, and times when I want to control Av and Tv, and let the ISO float.