Digital Camera with a Low ISO
May 11, 2016 11:10 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to find a digital camera with an available ISO below 80. All the rage is high ISO ratings for low light photography. I want a low ISO so I can use slower shutter settings in brighter light. Any ideas?
posted by zzazazz to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know off-hand of a camera with an ISO setting below 100, but some have a "neutral density filter" setting, which mimics the effect of a physical neutral density filter, allowing you to shoot at slower shutter speeds.

One of my cameras, a Pentax MX-1 has this. This review has a paragraph and sample photos about it.
posted by The Deej at 11:13 AM on May 11, 2016

Yes, why not just buy a neutral density filter for your existing lenses?
posted by praemunire at 11:18 AM on May 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Leica has cameras that go to ISO 50, but they are budget-busters. I'm kind of wary of anything not Leica that boasts a low ISO anyway, so I think your best bet is using actual neutral density filters on something like a Canon 5D or Nikon D7000.

Sorry, I don't have a lot of info on cameras that aren't pro-quality SLRs/medium-format/mirrorless with interchangeable lenses.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:21 AM on May 11, 2016

Looks like I will get an ND filter. I've been using digital cameras for so long I haven't thought about filters in forever.
posted by zzazazz at 11:27 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Nikon D810's native ISO is 64 and the D750 has a mode that is ISO 50. However, if you want really long exposures for things like smoothing out water, you do want ND filters.
posted by Candleman at 11:33 AM on May 11, 2016

A lot of dSLRs will have an expanded ISO range which will let you get the ISO down to 50 and up to whatever extremely high number they are at these days. I don't know how it actually works but treat it somewhat analogous to being able to push/pull when developing on film.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:39 AM on May 11, 2016

ND filters are great. That said, many of the Canon line of DSLRs allow you to go down to ISO 50.
posted by dwbrant at 1:18 PM on May 11, 2016

The Fuji X100 (and X100s and X100T) have a lowest ISO setting of 200 when shooting raw which expands to 100 if you shoot jpeg (the jpeg converter is amazing). It also has a built-in 3 stops ND filter (an actual physical filter that goes in front of the lens at the press of a button).

Those donĀ“t have exchangeable lenses, but other Fuji mirrorless cameras have them and I think they have the same features.
posted by Promethea at 3:03 PM on May 11, 2016

The Panasonic LX7 has the capability to use a built in 3 stop digital neutral density filter. (effectively increases exposure time by 8x). Some samples.


ISO100 is just the baseline reading from the sensor: higher ISO settings are just taking the result from from the sensor and amplifying the signal from it. The greater the amplification the greater the noise.

If a camera shows something below ISO100, what it's doing is actually over-exposing the image and then applying a de-amplification function on it, effectively discarding some of the information.

You can do this manually, for example, shooting something at ISO100 overexposed by one stop in RAW (effectively making it ISO50) and then using the Lightroom / whatever RAW converter you want to reduce the exposure back one stop, pulling the imagine back to normal again. The RAW file contains around 4000-8000 levels (from pure black to pure white) and even if you discard some of that information that got clipped its usually enough to construct a good enough JPG image (which only needs 256 levels of light / dark) - give it a try!
posted by xdvesper at 5:18 PM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

^^ Good point - you are using Raw aren't you?
posted by GeeEmm at 4:38 AM on May 12, 2016

I have not messed around with the raw format. I did that and I can push the camera a couple of stops lower. That is a great tip.
posted by zzazazz at 7:18 AM on May 14, 2016

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