Will We Have Higher Dynamic Range ?

Started Jan 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
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SixteenBit
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Will We Have Higher Dynamic Range ?
Jan 9, 2012

From what I understand, dynamic range or DR is related to two main factors, full well capacity or maximum saturation capacity and minimum read noise. Pixel size normally varies with saturation capacity as some people prefer bigger pixel for better DR. However, read noise is also the important factor for DR since high read noise can cause poor dynamic range. I got these numbers for sensorgen.info for quick reference. Not sure how accurate they are anyway. From what I see, read noise seems to affect DR more than saturation capacity. Currently, D7000 at ISO100 has the best total DR 13.95 stops among Nikon DSLRs. D3s has very big pixel but, with high read noise at ISO100, DR is not outstanding. If D3s with the capacity of 83732 electrons had the minimum read noise of D7000 (3.1 electrons), that would yield 14.72 stops of DR or +3 stop of improvement. Can Nikon make one like this ?

Hopefully, manufacturers will try to reach 15+ stops of total DR in the near future. That is what I am really expecting, 13+ stops of usable DR. I have no idea if current technologies can improve DR to the much better level than what we have now e.g. adding more readout channels, using 16-bit ADC, lowering clock speeds, etc. Or are we getting stuck at approx 14 stops / 14-bit ADC and need to wait for the future technologies to push DR to the higher limit ? What do you think ?

Nikon D3S Nikon D7000
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