From The Blog

I get what the ISO numbers are. What’s H1, H2?

On my Canon I have ISO numbers from 100 to 6400. Then there are those confusing things like H1, H2, and L1. What the heck? When I go from ISO 100 to...

On my Canon I have ISO numbers from 100 to 6400. Then there are those confusing things like H1, H2, and L1. What the heck?

When I go from ISO 100 to ISO 200, I have made my camera twice as sensitive to light. Then to 400, it doubles. Ditto for going to 800.

Well, the same thing happens when I go from ISO 6400 to H1. It makes the camera twice as sensitive… so I guess the number becomes ISO 12500 or thereabouts. And H2 is ISO 25000. Going the other way, if I go from ISO 100 to L1, the ISO is actually 50.

For Nikon you will see ISO settings like H.3 and H.7.  The ISO setting H.3 means ISO 1600 (or whatever your highest actual number is) plus one third (or 0.3) of a full stop. That works out to ISO 2000. ISO H.7 is ISO 1600 plus 2/3rds (0.7) of a stop = ISO 2500

ISO H1 is ISO 1600 plus a full stop = ISO 3200.

You’ll likely have to turn off AUTO ISO to get to the really high stuff. Also, most of the fully automatic modes will likely never go there.

Why don’t Canon and Nikon call is something other than H1, H2, and L1? I just don’t know. Maybe it’s to keep beginners from getting really noisy/grainy photos and thinking something’s wrong with the camera.