BEST dynamic range at ISO X at YOUR dslr?!

Started May 18, 2010 | Discussions
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Photo_Joe Contributing Member • Posts: 708
BEST dynamic range at ISO X at YOUR dslr?!

Hi!

What is your experience at your DSLR what ISO settings get the best and biggest dynamic range?

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Best Regards,
PhotoJoe

:: Shoot in RAW because memory is cheap, but memories are priceless. ::

kb2zuz Veteran Member • Posts: 3,201
Base ISO

The base ISO (recommend/default/lowest that isn't an extended low setting) always has the highest dynamic range. Most Canon's this is 100, many (but not all) nikons and the higher end sony's this is 200. Many medium format digitals will be 50. Some P&S will be 80 or 64.

Going above (or below, such as on a canon using the extended ISO range to go to 50 ISO) will either be (in simplified terms) over-driving or under powering the sensor, in these cases the sesnor is not performing at it's optimum and will not have the most dynamic range. You can see this for any sensor at the DXO Mark Sensor test. While I have some issue with the way they do their tests, if you go to the "dynamic range" tab for any sensor comparison you will see how dynamic range degrades at higher ISOs.
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/DxOMark-Sensor
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Photo_Joe OP Contributing Member • Posts: 708
Re: Base ISO

Yes, I see about same Dynamic range for Canon EOS 550D at ISO 100 and 200:

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Canon/EOS-550D

But at 1D mark IV have better DR at ISO 100 than 200.

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Osvaldo Cristo
Osvaldo Cristo Veteran Member • Posts: 4,109
Dynamic range at ISO X at MY DSLR

from Bill Claff's site at http://home.comcast.net/~nikond70/ .

Hope you enjoy.
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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
The D90 has a greater DR than a D3?

... Am I reading the chart correctly???

Yidahoo Regular Member • Posts: 344
Re: The D90 has a greater DR than a D3?

I suspect the D3 is losing a little dynamic range at ISO 100 because this is below its base ISO speed. From its base at 200 it seems to pull away from almost anything.
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milt95033 Regular Member • Posts: 362
Re: Dynamic range at ISO X at MY DSLR

The D90's base ISO is 200. This chart seems to say that when digital pushing is used to get 100, the dynamic range is increased. This is so strange I suspect something is wrong with the chart.

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Mike Fewster Veteran Member • Posts: 5,563
Re: Dynamic range at ISO X at MY DSLR

Tricky question. Actually the best Dynamic range seems to be coming from manufacturers who are using the British Apical technology (except they never say that it is Apical technology that they are using under licence and they give it some sort of house acronym. Nikon and Sony both use it. Sony call it DRO+ In their top end cameras (A700 and upwards) Sony is getting very impressive extended dynamic range with this technology. They seem to get more out of it because they have a dedicated chip inside just for it. It isn't the same as just tweaking curves PP. Check the Apical homepage for details on how it works, essentially, each pixel can have its ISO set individually and by a user selected amount. It is curious that camera reviewers never seem to bother to really explore and compare results with this technology engaged.
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chuxter Forum Pro • Posts: 21,146
Re: Dynamic range at ISO X at MY DSLR

milt95033 wrote:

The D90's base ISO is 200. This chart seems to say that when digital pushing is used to get 100, the dynamic range is increased. This is so strange I suspect something is wrong with the chart.

I agree...the data is suspect. I was curious how he got this mixed up, so I went to his site and found the following:

" Photographic dynamic range is a practical measure of the ability of the sensor to capture an image that will have acceptable noise at a normal enlargement and viewing distance.

This is distinctly different from dynamic range as defined in engineering terms. "

He does some strange (to me) "adjustments" of the data...for example, the:

" SNR values are adjusted for the Circle of Confusion (CoC) that is appropriate for the sensor size. "

I didn't find a good description of exactly what he did or why he thought this was necessary.

BOTTOM LINE: William J. Claff invented a different definition of "Dynamic Range" to suit his purposes. Personally, I ignore people and stuff like this.

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Charlie Davis
Nikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D50, Nikon D300
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collection of random observations and lucky moments...
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krikman Regular Member • Posts: 404
Re: Dynamic range at ISO X at MY DSLR

The D90 "magic" dynamic range is fancy urban legend dependent on measure method.
The method as on DXO site is based on SNR value.

I.E. if we'd found a way to blend pixels at hardware level we can make any dynamic range. The cost is picture clarity and sharpness.

Because DR is a brightest highlights/deepest shadows ratio with predefined SNR.

As a long time D90 user I can confirm that D90 RAW files looks as they were noise reduction already applied, smoothed and blurred. And expect no tiny details. D300 is much better.

And for topic question:
The base ISO is not so perfectly calculated.

In case of D90 the best DR achieved at ISO Lo-1 (1/3 stop) or ISO160 as marked in EXIF.
Same seems for my D300s.

chuxter Forum Pro • Posts: 21,146
Re: Dynamic range at ISO X at MY DSLR

krikman wrote:

As a long time D90 user I can confirm that D90 RAW files looks as they were noise reduction already applied, smoothed and blurred. And expect no tiny details.

I hope you are wrong. I wanted Nikon to be above NR of RAW files.

D300 is much better.

But I'm glad at least a have one of the last Nikon cameras that doesn't "fiddle" with RAW data before writing it to a file...

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Charlie Davis
Nikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D50, Nikon D300
HomePage: http://www.1derful.info
“...photography for and of itself – photographs taken
from the world as it is – are misunderstood as a
collection of random observations and lucky moments...
Paul Graham

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