Canon 5DMKII - ISO 50

So today I feel incredibly stupid.

Whilst looking at some stunning long exposure black and white shots in a UK photography competition I see something that catches my eye. In the info for one particular shot it shows the photog has a Canon 5D MKII ( which I have had for a year or so now ) and has taken a shot at ISO 50. First thought was this must be a mistake, I have never heard of this capability, after a quick Google search I see it's a function/ability I have over looked.

In the off chance that I'm not the only 5DMKII owner that does not know about this feature I thought I would write this brief article.

Why would you need ISO 50? Well recently I bought a range of ND filters to help reduce light intake thus enabling longer exposures in daylight to generate motion blur like here :

So how do you find this elusive ISO 50? Well first you have to go into your camera's menu and choose the 8th icon from left to right as they appear on your camera's screen, it's an orange box with a camera icon in it. It then lists 5 functions, you need function 1 displayed as C.Fn I :Exposure, hit your set button in the middle of your wheel dial and you see this is for ISO expansion, select on so it goes blue, press set to allow you to make a change and hit set again once selected, press menu twice now to get out of menus and back to your normal screen.

Now when in manual check out your ISO capabilities, you will see a new setting now between ISO AUTO and ISO 100, you know have ISO L which I believe is the ISO 50. I have not used it yet or looked it up on t he net.

Please share any knowledge you have on this function here if you have time :-)

You learn something new every day, well I do at least. Happy snapping :-)



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May 29, 2012


50 is simulated so depending on what you are photographing/how big it will be printed/displayed it may actually harm the image. I talked with a camera engineer once and he said to stay with the 100, 200, 400, 800, etc intervals because the gain is incremented for each of those. Non standard intervals, the camera over exposes then adjusts down (which you can do in post with full control instead).

May 21, 2012


It's a great camera, you will be very happy with one :-)

May 21, 2012


Very good, this is my next purchase aswell

May 21, 2012


Thanks Shamtor, glad others know of this feature :-)

May 21, 2012


I use 5D mark II too and 90% of the studio shooting are in 50 ISO, with the other canon too I use the lowest ISO possible.

May 17, 2012


Brett, thanks for the tip. I'll explore it too.

May 17, 2012


Thanks Brett, it is a cool feature to explore.

May 17, 2012


Beautiful image Ian, I'm still quite excited at my little find yet embarrassed I did not know it was there. :-)

Great tip Brad cheers, hope South Korea is treating you well ?

May 17, 2012


Brett, here is one I took recently using ISO 50
Evening lighthouse

May 17, 2012


Interesting. I've read all over the place that you give up dynamic range and so on when you go to ISO 50, but I've never really seen proof. I spent a few minutes looking, and based on reputable sites that measure these things it actually seems to increase dynamic range. So rather than warning you, I'm going to congratulate you on the find :) it is like getting a free new tool - I wish the micro four thirds cameras didn't have such 'high' low ISO minimums (160 and 200)...

It is also handy for fill flash in daylight since you can use an aperture one stop wider and stick to your sync speed...

May 17, 2012


Great information

May 16, 2012


Super cool info !!!!! Thanks for sharing, gonna try it now ....

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This article has been read 2001 times. Photo credits: Jacek Chabraszewski, Ron Sumners.