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Author Topic: ISO and not I.S.O.  (Read 801 times)

Tronhard

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ISO and not I.S.O.
« on: June 04, 2021, 06:09:36 pm »

I actually posted this on the forum for beginner questions, and i hope I am not breaking any taboos by repeating it here.  I thought it worth doing so because a lot of experienced photographers  may not use that forum, but might find this worth reading.  I hope you do!  :)

I continuously come across folks who spell the letters associated with sensor sensitivity and thought it was apropos in this forum to set the record straight.  How much it will come up in conversation varies a lot, but as an educator myself, I use it frequently: both in explanations and analysis of others' images.

Many people think that ISO is an acronym for a body called the International Standards Organization and thus spell it out.  Actually, it is NOT an acronym, there is no such body name International Standards Organization, and it is a word that is supposed to be pronounced as a word!

So, let's find out what the actual derivation is.  Back in the 1940's, as global trade began to flourish again after WWII, national standard bodies such as the German DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung), and ASA (American Standards Association) - in fact, 165 national standards organizations, formed an umbrella group, for which they had to find a name.  The intent of the group was to create documents that could assure consistency across the globe on measurements, values, and standards for process, products and protocols.  Because each country would likely create a different name for the group based on their language, it was decided to create a name that was short, and easy to pronounce.  The one they chose is based on the classical Greek word for 'same". 

To quote from the website Target Tech Website:
According to ISO, ISO is not an abbreviation. It is a word, derived from the Greek Isos, meaning "equal," which is the root for the prefix iso- that occurs in a host of terms, such as isometric (of equal measure or dimensions) and isonomy (equality of laws, or of people before the law). The name ISO is used around the world to denote the organization, thus avoiding the assortment of abbreviations that would result from the translation of "International Organization for Standardization" into the different national languages of members. Whatever the country, the short form of the organization's name is always ISO.

On film canisters it was common to see references to DIN, and ASA, and some were also given ISO references.  When digital came along, ISO was asked to provide international standards relating to the measurement and sensitivity of sensors, and this is alone is seen in such references.  There are two such documents that I can find on a casual search:

ISO 12232:2019: Photography — Digital still cameras — Determination of exposure index
https://www.iso.org/standard/73758.html
and
ISO 15739:2017: Photography — Electronic still-picture imaging — Noise measurements:
https://www.iso.org/standard/72361.html?browse=tc 

What confuses many is that the word is capitalized.  This is because ISO is used frequently in long, technical documents and being able to identify ISO references is assisted by the fact they are capitalized - a feature in the printing industry known as SHRIEKING.  It makes the words stand out, but does lead to the temptation to mis-identify it as an acronym, or based on one.  It is also registered as a trade mark and copyright symbol. Furthermore, by capitalizing the word, it is separated from a colloquial use of the word that might be found in search engines or tools.   ISO are quite explicit and clear on this, as they say in their own web page ABOUT US: ISO: ABOUT US which I quote from below:

IT'S ALL IN THE NAME
Because 'International Organization for Standardization' would have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation), our founders decided to give it the short form ISO.

ISO is derived from the Greek 'isos', meaning equal. Whatever the country, whatever the language, we are always ISO.


Finally, what ever happened to DIN and ASA?  Well DIN is alive and well and still issuing standards.  ASA had to get renamed as it clashed with the acronym for the Audiology Society of America and became ANSI -the American National Standards Institute.

SO... to summarize:  ISO is a term based on a word and should be pronounced as such.

Doubtless, there will be many who are entrenched in their old use of spelling it out, and I doubt that for some this will change their mind, but the derivation and intent are crystal clear and well documented!
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 11:18:31 pm by Tronhard »
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2021, 07:17:13 pm »

It is good that you are reposting this here, where more "advanced" (but misguided) photographers like me will see it.

I did read it in the beginner's section and I responded there. So this post is essentially the ISO (i.e., "same") as the post there.

-Eric
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digitaldog

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2021, 07:39:03 pm »

Now we just need to inform the misguided photographers that ISO isn't exposure and the exposure triangle is a misguided construct and higher ISO doesn't necessarily equate to more noise. 
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rabanito

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2021, 04:29:03 am »

THANKS. Nice to learn something new!!!

"SO... to summarize:  ISO is a term based on a word and should be pronounced as such."


But, I hear that some people are pronouncing it eye-so, that's the english pronunciation
It seems that the rest of the world pronounces something like ee-so, like in the original Greek.
Where is "consistency" gone then?  ???

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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2021, 04:47:57 am »

 ;D ;D  ;D

Already Shakespeare knew that: “Much A Do About Nothing.”

rabanito

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2021, 04:48:45 am »


I did read it in the beginner's section and I responded there. So this post is essentially the ISO (i.e., "same") as the post there.

-Eric
;D
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Tronhard

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2021, 05:36:24 am »

THANKS. Nice to learn something new!!!

"SO... to summarize:  ISO is a term based on a word and should be pronounced as such."


But, I hear that some people are pronouncing it eye-so, that's the english pronunciation
It seems that the rest of the world pronounces something like ee-so, like in the original Greek.
Where is "consistency" gone then?  ???

Dialectics are different from this issue.  The thrust of my post is that it is not an acronym.  I am not commenting on how people pronounce the word - it is inevitable it will vary.  Try potato or tomato, for example.  If you really want a headache try getting a consensus on van Gogh!
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Tronhard

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2021, 06:21:26 am »

;D ;D  ;D

Already Shakespeare knew that: “Much A Do About Nothing.”

And yet you took time and effort from your busy day to give us your perspective.  Thank you, that's really appreciated!  ???
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2021, 06:52:24 am »

And yet you took time and effort from your busy day to give us your perspective.  Thank you, that's really appreciated!  ???

Oh, you are welcome. But that's nothing, wait till I find the time to really write a response.

rabanito

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2021, 07:51:15 am »

Dialectics are different from this issue.  The thrust of my post is that it is not an acronym.  I am not commenting on how people pronounce the word - it is inevitable it will vary.  Try potato or tomato, for example.  If you really want a headache try getting a consensus on van Gogh!

Hmmm..
First of all: I value your first posting very much. As I said before, I learned something new to me.

But:
As you can see, I quoted what you wrote about the pronunciation.
I can add that even if in English you write ISO and pronounce eye-so, in Russian, say, you would write ИСО and pronounce ee-so (as written in the russian version of the ISO Website), different in BOTH ways!
This would somehow defeat the intentions of the wise men at ISO

Furthermore, the first lines at the ISO Website are
"We're ISO, the International Organization for Standardization...", which might add to the confusion. (Bolds are mine).

All this A-DO tongue in cheek.
No offence meant :-)


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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2021, 08:34:45 am »

...This would somehow defeat the intentions of the wise men at ISO

Furthermore, the first lines at the ISO Website are
"We're ISO, the International Organization for Standardization...", which might add to the confusion. (Bolds are mine)...

Hence my laughter, at the "wise" men. Otherwise known in common parlance as smart-asses.

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2021, 11:06:58 am »

I avoid all this confusion by reverting to good old ASA (pronounced ee-saw, of course) and i get all my memory cards in either  35mm cassettes or 4x5" film holders (or 8x10" film holders if I'm doing a long session.)

 :-\  :P  ::)  ???  8)  :o  :(  ;D  :D  ;)  :)
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Chris Kern

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2021, 11:59:46 am »

What confuses many is that the word is capitalized.  This is because ISO is used frequently in long, technical documents and being able to identify ISO references is assisted by the fact they are capitalized - a feature in the printing industry known as SHRIEKING.

I already knew ISO wasn't I.S.O., but I didn't know ALL-CAPS is known in the printing trade as "SHRIEKING" and I appreciate that useful factoid.

rabanito

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2021, 12:28:30 pm »

I already knew ISO wasn't I.S.O., but I didn't know ALL-CAPS is known in the printing trade as "SHRIEKING" and I appreciate that useful factoid.
I would have called it "shouting" or "yelling".
I didn't know that one either.
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Tronhard

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2021, 02:33:47 pm »

Hmmm..
First of all: I value your first posting very much. As I said before, I learned something new to me.

But:
As you can see, I quoted what you wrote about the pronunciation.
I can add that even if in English you write ISO and pronounce eye-so, in Russian, say, you would write ИСО and pronounce ee-so (as written in the russian version of the ISO Website), different in BOTH ways!
This would somehow defeat the intentions of the wise men at ISO

Furthermore, the first lines at the ISO Website are
"We're ISO, the International Organization for Standardization...", which might add to the confusion. (Bolds are mine).

All this A-DO tongue in cheek.
No offence meant :-)
Well, first know that I appreciate that it is tongue in cheek.  However, since others seem to be determined to use your comments with more serious intent and undermine the explanation, I will point out that you have selected only part of the statement the whole thing reads:

"IT'S ALL IN THE NAME

Because 'International Organization for Standardization' would have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation), our founders decided to give it the short form ISO. ISO is derived from the Greek 'isos', meaning equal. Whatever the country, whatever the language, we are always ISO."   

The elements I have bolded come really to the crux of the issue.  People seem to WANT to perceive it as an acronym,  but it's not: ISO is a word and a brand, and that is clearly explained by THEM.  I didn't invent this, I am simply explaining the facts that are not well known and backing them up with clear and irrefutable documentation.

As far a pronunciation is concerned, I certainly accept that different countries will have different dialectics and cultural variations on saying the word.  My only point is that when pronouncing it they don't need to say it as three distinct  letters but as a word. Frankly, for the purposes of its business ISO is used in written format. Nevertheless, if one was going to an ISO conference, doubtless it would be expressed verbally, but I bet the delegates would all be on the same page as regards using it as a word and could figure it out from there.  Certainly, within one linguistic block I would expect the meaning to be colloquially accepted and applied

This reminds me of a story told to me by my late wife, who was an expert linguist (she spoke fluently English, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese and some Korean).  She was talking to a colleague in Hong Kong about the tonal nature of  Chinese language and discovered two phrases that sounded virtually identical (certainly to my untutored ear). One meant: "Put your hands up or I will shoot", and the other meaning was "If there is no meat I will open the window".  They agreed that the tonal variations were so subtle that in the heat of the moment they would be lost. Obviously, the recipients of this communication would apply contextual significance and apply the appropriate interpretation!  ;)
« Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 03:30:54 pm by Tronhard »
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Tronhard

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2021, 02:51:32 pm »

https://uxmovement.com/content/all-caps-hard-for-users-to-read/

I absolutely agree with the article you quoted, and thank you for posting it!

I learned of this about thirty years ago when a study indicated that Canadians, on average, read at the level of a 10 year-old. I thought this was quite low but the study continued that this included lawyers, doctors (!), pharmacists, teachers, academics and other highly educated and assumedly functional people.   As the article explained when we first start to read we look at individual letters and spell out the words, but as we improve our reading we identify the shapes of words by their overall characteristics of up, down and round elements as a SET.  The result is that we scan documents rather than reading them more slowly and carefully.  We also skip words in documents, especially in very long lengths of text - such as I am generating now!  ::)

However, when someone writes whole documents in all caps it reduces the reading level significantly (by at least  a year), and that is because we are no longer able to identify the word shapes the letters form. While it is not good practice to write large amounts of text with the caps lock on, it IS acceptable to use capitals SPARINGLY to get readers to slow down and to emphasize specific words or phrases.

Obviously, it is used for acronyms, but it can also be used in SMALL doses for emphasis.  It is also used by come companies for trade names: an obvious example being ILFORD, the film company that shares that word with a place in the UK.  They chose to use all caps to distinguish themselves from the place name and it is their trade mark.   So using all caps is an accepted tool in identification, both for emphasis (because you have to slow down to read it) and to differentiate from other words that might cause confusion.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 03:26:18 pm by Tronhard »
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Tronhard

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2021, 03:36:30 pm »

I avoid all this confusion by reverting to good old ASA (pronounced ee-saw, of course) and i get all my memory cards in either  35mm cassettes or 4x5" film holders (or 8x10" film holders if I'm doing a long session.)

 :-\  :P  ::)  ???  8)  :o  :(  ;D  :D  ;)  :)

I have been writing a course on the history of photography and as part of my research I came across a reference that film cannisters became available in the 1930's, allowing for daylight film changing.  However, a video by the curator of the Kodak museum (a highly-regarded institution), said that Kodak issued film on rolls, for a similar purpose, in wooden cannisters in the latter part of the 19th century, although not initially for 35mm film.
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PeterAit

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2021, 03:47:52 pm »

It has another meaning: "I seek out." As in "ISO young attractive woman with boat. Send photo of boat."
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Tronhard

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Re: ISO and not I.S.O.
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2021, 04:31:42 pm »

It has another meaning: "I seek out." As in "ISO young attractive woman with boat. Send photo of boat."

It reminds me of the man who went to a second hand store looking to get a camera for his wife.  The proprietor showed him a great camera and the man said that was what he was looking for.  The vendor said: 'Well, if you are looking for a camera for your wife we know this is what you want, so bring her in and I'll give you an evaluation for the swap!'  ::)
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