Photography Podcast

PhotoNetCast #43 – ISO, Panormas, Fine Art papers, Books On-Demand, Kit lenses, and how long will it take until the birds start coming?

Posted in PhotoNetCast Shows on 24-03-2010 | 13 Comments

In the past weeks we have been getting some questions from our listeners, which are very much appreciated. Unfortunately we did not have the time to dedicate the time to them as they deserve, so #43 is a catch-up on those unanswered questions.

A wide variety of topics came up, from ISO to stitching panoramas, assembling and printing books on-demand, comparing kit lenses to more expensive ones, Lightroom and bird photography.

To help us with the task, we invited Aggie Villanueva and Joan Hunt to join us on the call. Thanks gals, it was a pleasure.

And here are the questions that we’ve tried to answer:

  • Daniel Roberts: Hi photonetcasters. I know that one of the settings in my camera allows it to select an ISO value, for a certain aperture and shutter speed. Somehow this feels like giving up too much control. Are there any benefits or disadvantages for using this setting?
  • Isabella Campbell: When I shoot several images from one location intending to stitch them together for a panorama, I get the usual distortion on the sides. What is best, to compensate for the distortion on PS or shoot from different locations trying to get all the frames "front facing"?

  • William Watson: Hello photonetcast crew and listeners. I’ve noticed that you don’t approach too much the subject of printing on the show. It would be good to dedicate one show to the topic as I’m sure many listeners would like to know more about it. The question i have for you is, for fine art prints, what paper do you use/recommend? Is there a main brand you use? What about whitening substances, do they affect the outcome of the print?

  • Barton Ebanez: Hi guys. I want to print a coffee table style book with some of my work. Is there any service you recommend for this? I don’t want any mass production or anything like that, just a copy or two. Still on the topic, is there any process to help me select what images to include? I have way to many that I’d like to see included. Thanks and keep up the great work.
  • Rob Rega: I’m thinking about purchasing lightroom and have a few questions: 1) Can I selectively change exposure of one area of the photo (i.e., assume I have a backlit shot with the main subject underexposed)?; 2) does it include traditional photo editing functions like selecting objects, cloning, removal, etc.?; and 3) does the educational version support raw files from a Canon 40D?
  • Mateo Walburn: I just upgraded from a small camera to a dslr and one of the advices the salesman gave me was to invest in some good lenses since the kit one is usually bad. Is this true? And if     so, if you had only one lens that you could buy which one would that be?
  • Joseph Miller: Hello. I’m interested in wildlife photography, in particular bird photography. I’ve been reading online that one of the best ways to photograph smaller birds is to assemble a bird feeder and photograph the birds while their approaching or standing nearby. Any of you have any experience doing this? I mean, how long will it take until the birds start coming? I know this is a weird question, but any insight is appreciated.


Show Notes


Selected from the Web

Comments (13)

Just wanted to drop a note and say how much fun it was to do the show with you all. Have the best day ever.

Yes it was Aggie. Thanks for taking the time to join us.

I did really enjoy the show with Aggie and Joan.
To the panorama topic I have to say, that PanoramaStudio 2 Pro is correcting the distorsion of the images automatically by the information of the exif datas stroed in the RAW files. You can find the programm here:
It does directly use the RAW files, so you don’t have to convert them first, and it is very easy to handle.

Greetings from Ludwigsburg (Germany)

Hi folks,
to the Question of Daniel Roberts:

The “new” Auto ISO is a very good thing to me, because it spreads the other settings e.g the aperture priority. Let’s say you are taking pictures of an wedding indoor and you dont use a flash. You set your aperture to 2.8 on your 85mm lens and you don’t want the shutter speed get lower than 1/100sec to avoid camera shake. The best thing ist to turn on the ISO automatic and let the camera do the rest. So you can concentrate on the people you photograph.

Greetings from Germany

Hello Jochen,
thanks for the comment. When I mentioned sports or fast action photography, weddings did not even cross my mind.
I guess the feature can be used basically with any kind of documentary photography.
Thanks again.

Hi Antonio,
wedding documentary was also only an example for “in action” were you don’t have the time to check carefully all the settings before every “klick” again. But autoISO is also an great thing if you use “M” and you wish to have full controll over aperture _and_ time, as long as your subjekt allows you to trust your camera metering.

btw: Excuse my poor english, my listening is much better than my writing, and that ist what counts when it comes to podcast 😉


Jochen, thankx so much. Glad you enjoyed the show. I also enjoyed your comments, especially about auto ISO. Thankx for sharing your knowledge.

Another great show, folks – I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion!

I suspect most of you are Canon shooters (or, at least, not Nikon shooters) since no-one mentioned the awesome auto-ISO feature that Nikon has on many (if not all) their DSLRs.

If you are in a situation where you want to use aperture priority to control the depth-of-field while also maintaining a fast shutter speed, you can set the auto-ISO feature to force a particular minimum shutter speed. If the exposure required (given you aperture choice) would cause the required shutter speed to fall below this, the ISO is increased just enough to get you back to where you need to be.

The only time I use this is when shooting sport. I will set the base ISO to 200, set the auto-ISO threshold to 1/500 or 1/1000, open the lens wide and shoot. If there’s enough light, the camera will hold 200 ISO and use higher shutter speeds but, if the light level falls, it will ensure that my shutter speed remains no slower than the threshold value I set.

Hi Dave,
I am a Nikon Shooter (D700) and do not know the Canon Solution. Do you kown the differences between the two systems regarding Auto-ISO? Your sports example is very good, what else do you expect from an (nikon) auto-ISO?



Sorry – I’m a Nikon guy and have not used a Canon DSLR so can’t comment on their auto-ISO handling. I use auto ISO only when I’m shooting sport or in low light situations and I find that it works beautifully for me. I can keep the ISO as low as possible but have the camera help me out in really tricky situations. Another plus is that the sensitivity changes only as much as is needed to achieve your shutter speed goal – you don’t see full stop or even half stop jumps in sensitivity if only a quarter stop change is needed.

I actually used auto-ISO for something new yesterday. I was doing some concert photography in a very dark hall and it worked pretty well. In this case, I was shooting with a 50mm f/1.4 wide open and with auto-ISO set to allow sensitivities up to 3200ISO, I was still having problems keeping a shutter speed above 1/100th.

The beauty of the Nikon system for me is that it allows me to use Aperture Priority but mix in an element of shutter priority in that I can fix a minimum shutter speed. This lets me concentrate on depth of field and be comfortable knowing that I shouldn’t have too may slow shutter speed problems.

In an earlier post, you talked about using auto-ISO in manual mode. Does this work? It would surprise me if this was supported since the camera would then be overriding your manual exposure choice – if you wanted to deliberately over- or under-expose, how would the camera know your intention and how would it set the ISO? That said, an automatic mode like this would make sense given that we already have auto modes which allow you to set 2 of the 3 exposure variables while the camera picks the 3rd.

Hi Dave,

auto ISO works very well in manual mode. It works like the other automatic modes and corrects the exposure as far as your settings allows it. If you wanted to deliberately over- or under-expose you have to do it by the manual override +/-. This ist a little unusual, but you get used to it very fast 😉


Thankx guys. I have learned so much about ISO just by following your comments.

i.e., assume i have a backlit shot with the main subject underexposed -> ca you explain ? 😉


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