Testing my GH2's sensor

Started Feb 20, 2011 | Discussions thread
kenw Veteran Member • Posts: 5,350
Re: Testing my GH2's sensor

Kikl wrote:

Now people continuously talk about dynamic range, but how much dynamic range does the sensor really need?

There is eventually a limit set by the optics since all lenses have a "veiling flare" that will fill in the shadows. Figuring out exactly what this limit is can be a bit dicey, but reading through papers that have measured it and try to take those measurements into a more useful "photographic" domain it would seem that using the DxO DR measurement (based on 0dB) sensors with even 16eV of dynamic range would still be useful with prime lenses.

That is how much dynamic range is perceptible to the human eye in a single scene/picture?

Absolutely enormous amounts of dynamic range because of the way we see and scan a scene. Typically the human eye can handle about 17 stops of dynamic range in a single scene (and that would be roughly equivalent to 19 stops in DxO's measurements).

Can this dynamic range be reproduced in printing or on a screen?

No, but that doesn't matter. Typically a scene with high dynamic range will either be compressed into the print dynamic range through a combination of tone curve, burning/dodging, or local tone mapping. Only local tone mapping is a recent digital invention, tone curves and burn/dodge have of course been used in the darkroom for a century. It is always a bit dicey comparing different dynamic range measurements, but print films can have a dynamic range of over 16 stops and darkroom practitioners have been able to get all that DR onto a print in the past.

Personally, for me, I rarely found my self very "handicapped" by the "limited" DR of the G1. I just didn't take photos that required wide DR. Since I spent a lot of my film days shooting slide film (which has a strong tone curve and thus much lower DR than print film) I guess I'm just familiar with the "limitation".

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Ken W

Rebel XT, XTi, Pany G1, LX3, FZ28, Fuji F30, and a lot of 35mm and 4x5 sitting in the closet...

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