Canon PowerShot G12, Raising the ISO: The Simple Solution

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Let’s begin with the obvious ways to keep shooting when the lights get low.

One option is to use the flash, but its limited range (15–20 feet) might not work for the situation. Also, the light from the built-in flash can too often be harsher than what you’re looking for. You could be in a setting where flash is prohibited, or at least frowned upon, like at a wedding or in a museum.

What about using a tripod in combination with a long shutter speed? That is also an option, and we’ll cover it a little further into the chapter. The problem, though, is that it performs best when subjects aren’t moving. And tripods aren’t exactly discreet: Just try to set up a tripod in a museum and see how quickly you grab the attention of the security guards.

That leaves us with raising the ISO (Figure 8.1). By now you know how to change the ISO: Turn the ISO dial on the top of the camera. In typical shooting situations, you should keep the ISO in the 100–400 range. This will keep your pictures nice and clean by keeping the digital noise to a minimum. But as the available light gets low, you might find yourself working in the higher ranges of the ISO scale, which could lead to more noise in your image.

The G12 performs decently at higher ISOs, so you can probably get away with shots made at ISO 800 or 1600. Turn the dial to ISO 3200 for the most light sensitivity, although the amount of noise may be unacceptable. Shooting with the Low Light mode can crank the ISO above 3200 (such as 12800!), but again, the camera will introduce a lot of noise.