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JPEG Tone Curves / dynamic range

Our Dynamic Range measurement system involves shooting a calibrated Stouffer Step Wedge (13 stops total range) which is backlit using a daylight balanced lamp (98 CRI). A single shot of this produces a gray scale wedge from the camera's clipped white point down to black (example below). Each step of the scale is equivalent to 1/3 EV (a third of a stop), we select one step as 'middle gray' (defined as 50% luminance) and measure outwards to define the dynamic range. Hence there are 'two sides' to our results, the amount of shadow range (below middle gray) and the amount of highlight range (above middle gray).

To most people highlight range is the first thing they think about when talking about dynamic range, that is the amount of highlight detail above middle gray the camera can capture before it clips to white. Shadow range is more complicated; in our test the line on the graph stops as soon as the luminance value drops below our defined 'black point' (about 2% luminance) or the signal-to-noise ratio drops below a predefined value (where shadow detail would be swamped by noise), whichever comes first.

This page features our new interactive dynamic range comparison widget. The wedges below the graph are created by our measurement system from the values read from the step wedge, the red lines indicate approximate shadow and highlight range (the dotted line indicating middle gray).

Cameras Compared

The EOS 700D uses the same tone curve we've seen many times before from Canon - including that found on the EOS 600D. It has a dynamic range of around 3.3 stops EV above middle grey and a gentle roll-off as you move towards the highlights. Overall this is exactly what we're used to seeing from Canon DSLRs, meaning a bit less highlight range by default than is typically obtained from Nikon and Sony competitors as well as the best of the Micro Four Thirds offerings we've seen.

Color Modes

The 700D has five discrete Picture Styles, in addition to an Auto option. The Neutral (shown by default in the graph above) and Faithful Picture Styles offer a different tone curve compared to the others, employing slightly lower contrast in the upper mid-tones but clipping a bit more abruptly to white (although at the same point relative to middle grey).

Highlight tone priority mode

The Highlight Tone Priority option (Custom Function II.3) offers a method for capturing more information in the brightest parts of the scene. It does this by applying less amplification to the signal coming from the sensor, then compensating for it by using a different tone curve to ensure the correct brightness in the final image. Turn this on and the 700D captures an extra stop in the highlights, resulting in a dynamic range that is at least the equal of Sony and Nikon DSLRs.

Because it works by using a lower signal amplification, HTP cannot be employed at base ISO. The minimum value that can be used is ISO 200. When used at ISO 200, the effect is the same as underexposing an ISO 100 shot by one stop, then pulling up the mid tones and shadows to compensate. The result is an image at a 'normal' exposure but that retains the extra highlights you've captured. This approach - common to many other manufacturers - comes at the potential cost of increased noise in shadow regions. We discussed the real world benefits and consequences of activating HTP in our earlier review of the Canon EOS 600D.

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Comments

Total comments: 13
RyanBoston

How is it that the 550D scores higher than this camera? Even in the compare to score section, raw scores higher on the 550D. I find it weird that a camera 3 generations newer scores worst.

My girlfriend sold her 550D and wants a new touchscreen Canon, but it feels like the quality has not moved ahead in years.

0 upvotes
Nien

The score, as you can see by the review, takes into account not just the performance of the gear itself but also it's performance when compared to the others in the same range, below and above.

So, when 550D was launched for example, its features were, overall, considered better than average in a way that it scored a gold award of 77%.

This model however, has shown many good features too but a few (irrelevant for me) not so good features when compared to average.

Yet, 77% to a 76% in my opinion, in this case, is a absolutely irrelevant difference.

Its a good camera.

0 upvotes
Kishore Pratap Sanghvi

I am graduating from a bridge camera to a DSLR. Have been a hobby photographer for many years primarily doing landscape photography but I do it only when on a vacation that would be twice a year. I was a little confused whether to buy a Canon 700D or a Nikon D5300. I have always used Canon cameras before and after going thru many reviews comparing the two cameras I am not wiser. I also understand that once one buys a DSLR one continues to buy cameras of that family so that it can save money on lenses. Assuming that the quality of photos is not much different in the two cameras is the touch screen in 700D so useful that I should buy a Canon or the WIFI-GPS so important in the Nikon. As there anything else that help me decide between the two. Your advice would be most helpful.Tx. You can reply directly on my mail - drkpsanghvi@gmail.com

0 upvotes
ravi pratap

since u have been using canon , it is better to go for 700d as u r familiar with canon system and picture style and may have canon lenses with you. i find canon 700d is nice cam with cleaner sharper image with better color than nikon.

0 upvotes
zdenek nostalgig

Nikon always have bean a crap for landscapes...I mean in case we talking about cheaper model DSLRs. Nikons green color is absolute joke and ISO stuck ....stay with canon...Nikon is great for moving objects r portraits...but as a landscape photographer I will never ever go for Nikon unless I can buy D4.

0 upvotes
ravi pratap

canon 600d or 700d ?
i have been carefully seeing 1000s of photos taken by 600d and 700d on flickr and other review sites including this top cam site, in review images 600d looks better on most parameters notably sharpness and color but on flickr photos 600d pix looks a bit less sharp to 700d pix which is more evident on night landscapes shots.
Especially a few shots on 700d plus canon 18-135 of hongkong night landscape is very sharp with great color...which none of nikon, sony or pantex match...i m in dilemma , can the 600d with 18-135 canon match 700d?
experts are requested to clear the doubt, thanks!

0 upvotes
tophy42

its very great camera and the new design is beautiful
my bro buy one yesterday and till this moment never stopped shooting

Really great product

0 upvotes
Neo111

An outstanding review as usual. I just wish camera makers would let cameras be cameras and camcorders be camcorders. All I want is a camera. Take away the video mode gubbins and we would see a big drop in price. I can buy a pocket camcorder if I need urgent video. Why stick it in a camera at all? Better buffers could be included and also better features by knocking out the video stuff. Well, that's what I think anyway.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
rinkos

blah blah blah ..cannon stays cannon ..all the new shiny freaks will rush on buying a camera that is basically the same as the one they had 3 years ago .
no true innovation from cannon for a long while now .

just for once i wish they would atleast try to innovate something new

2 upvotes
Dave Smith Trelawnyd

A nice camera that replaced my 600D after it ingested yellow steam on a volcano!
The camera does everything I ask of it including astro photography, and the touch screen is used far more than I thought it would be, all in all an excellent camera.

0 upvotes
Pepe Le Pew

The Rebel series are getting worse and worse every year

3 upvotes
PDBreach

How so? This is an upgrade..

0 upvotes
cor ela d obe x6Ps6

@pepe... then, what is the best DSLR?

1 upvote
Total comments: 13