Dynamic range of a camera

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
mostlyboringphotog Veteran Member • Posts: 9,520
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

Mare_333 wrote:

Hi all, hope everyone had nice Thanksgiving. I got a question about dynamic range. I understand what it is - the range from blackest black to whitest white. And I understand that different cameras have different dynamic range depending on the sensor and other factors (as compared to the actual dynamic range of the subject). My question is - shouldn't then dynamic range of a given camera be shown as one of the specifications for that camera. I am looking to buy a full frame camera and I don't see anything about dynamic range in the specifications (I looked on several photography stores) Is it just me or is it really the case? Thanks for your help.

"THE FORMAL DEFINITION ISO 15739 describes the basic calculation for determining dynamic range this way (my notes in square brackets): . . . the camera dynamic range is obtained by measuring the camera signalto-temporal-noise ratio using a 2.0 density “black reference” [i.e., at a luminance of 1/100 of the maximum recordable luminance]. The measured signal-to-black temporal noise ratio is then multiplied by the ratio of the camera maximum level to the camera level from the “black reference”. The result is reported as the ISO DSC [digital still camera] dynamic range. "

Perhaps that is why camera vendors just list its ADC bit depth such as 14 bit and call it the DR.

Even the 14 bit luminance level cannot displayed on the 8 bit JPEG display monitors.

Link to the article -


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