Dynamic Range: D5100/D7000

Started May 21, 2011 | Discussions thread
Zane Paxton Veteran Member • Posts: 6,947
Re: Zane's shots, a question about the spotmeter calibration to you and ENO

rhlpetrus wrote:

The first one is very very impressive, the other are also good examples. I agree with you and Eduardo, at ISO100 the D7k is really outstanding regarding it's ability to recover shadow detail.

I want to get your views on this: at least my sample seems to have a different calibration re spotmetering than I'm used to. If you center the exposure scale with SM, I get the central peak to the right of the midvalue of 127 for the histograms. That's pretty consistent across the color range. A simple way to test it is to put a piece of white paper against a dark background, SM it and check histogram. Consistently I get the peak at 1/3 to 2/3 above central line, with the D80 I get exactly centered.

It's not a shutter calibration, the exposure is actually higher on the D7k. Have you both tested your spotmeter readings on the D7k?

No, but I should!

I've learned to shoot with matrix mode then I dial in EV to compensate by eye and by using the histogram. I've shot enough that I can pretty reliably predict what the RAW file will be like by using the histogram and avoiding the hard-right edge spikes. Usually, -0.3 EV is sufficient to control highlights, sometimes -0.67 is needed. In a few rare cases I've shot up to -1.0 EV, but usually that is too much back at the computer in ACR.

Then I check how far I go with exposure up until blinkies start to show: same distance for both, about 2 1/3 stops. But when I add the extra 1/3-2/3 stop I started with for D7k, that means that from same reference, D80 gives 2 1/3 stops of distance from midtone to clipping and D7k gives 2 2/3 to 3 stops.

We know the blinkies actually appear before RAW clips, so the RAW file has more than that. In my tests I found that going 2/3 above clipping point with D7k still provides for total color recovery, so that's a practical 3 1/3-2/3 HLs range from midtone.

If you couple that with the LLs' recovery abilities of the D7k, which seems to go forever, as Zane and others have shown, including Eduardo's test showing it keeps colors and noise better than D700 in that respect, we have an outstanding tool for high DR shooting. I'm pretty confident of sending bright clouds in a landscape to +2 2/3 stops over central reading with spot on my D7k (which is at least 3 stops up from typical midtone rendition, as I mentioned) and still recover detail and color balance fully.

Now try to do that to a D80. A D300/D90, well, I can't do it, but I think the D7k beats them as well.

The DR is really quite remarkable.... The Fuji S5 has finally been bested!

For me, since I shoot mostly at ISO 100, the D7000's DR is way more useful to me than high ISO-Low Noise shooting.

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Nikon D7000 & D2x
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 Zane Paxton's gear list:Zane Paxton's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR +2 more
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