ISO variables on the Sony DSC-H10 (alt title: The Day I PWNT Mensa LOL)

Digital noise.  You’ve got to hate them like the smell of sun-baked scalp poised under your nose while you travel via the MRT, one typical rush hour Friday. 

I’ve been toying around with the ISO settings of the Sony DSC-H10, an 8.1 mega pixel point and shoot camera with 10x optical zoom and full manual settings, under a normal, single, energy saver light. To judge whether it is up to the challenge of capturing clarity under feeble lighting, I took several shots of a letter I recently received under different levels of ISO. Now, don’t go whining about my choice of subject. Its importance, we will later on find out.

At ISO 400:

(Just look at that full regalia of stamps! In the now where electronic email has probably rendered the snail mail obsolete, getting mail the old fashion way is a treat!) If you observe carefully, there are some ugly noise levels going on in the midtones and whites of the image but it’s nothing that Photoshop CS4 can’t handle. The thumbnail on the right shows us just that. Adjusting “curves” and softening the “noise” give me this “ho-hum” version. *yawns* boring picture.

Owing to the Sony DSC-H10′s manual setting function, levels for record mode (where users may even opt to set the cam to shoot thrice in bursts with .03, .07, or 1 different levels of exposure. Now, that’s hot technology right thurr right thurr!), color mode (normal, vivid, quiet, sepia, and B&W), ISO (up to 3200), metering mode of the exposure function (balanced, center, spot), focus (multi, center, spot, or .5m, 1m, 3m, 7m away, or at an unlimited distance), white balance (auto, daylight, cloudy, three levels under fluorescent lighting, incandescent, and flash), flash level (adjust flash levels from -2.0 to +2.0 of the normal flash level), red eye reduction (auto, off, or always on), contrast (decrease, normal, increase, or auto), sharpness (minus, normal, or plus), and steady shot (at half-press when shooting, always on, or off) can all be set depending on the user’s needs. Since I practically got grainy shit with ISO 400, let’s see how well the cam’s sensors can capture image at ISO 800.

At ISO 800:

Setting ISO levels at 800, the image appears to obviously look brighter and yet digital noise is reduced to a more manageable threshhold (unlike this one Verzio model I used where all my photos turned out to be REALLY SERIOUSLY worthless. Not to mention grainy).

It took a few fine tuning with “curves” and some not-so-serious tweaks on the “noise” level to come up with the image on the right.

So, what could happen if we up the ISO further at 1600?

At ISO 1600:

If you observe the elements of the image closely, not only will you notice that there is practically no noise left, you will also read about my passing the Mensa IQ Challenge I took last November 15. HUZZAH! HUZZAH! HUZZAH!

That’s it for ISO levels. Tune in next time for more exciting news (read: more gloating LOL) only here at

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