Dynamic range of a camera

Started 2 months ago | Discussions
Mare_333 Regular Member • Posts: 166
Dynamic range of a camera

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.

QuietOC
QuietOC Veteran Member • Posts: 4,494
Re: Dynamic range of a camera
2

Photons to Photos is a good reference with user-supplied data for many cameras.

It possible to expand image dynamic range by combining shots. Cell phones are using that method. Single shot base ISO dynamic range is becoming less meaningful. That said I am not very interested in those older Canon cameras that had limited low ISO dynamic range because of their hardware design.

 QuietOC's gear list:QuietOC's gear list
Pentax Q7 Sony a7 III NEX-5T Sony a7R II Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II +109 more
mostlyboringphotog Veteran Member • Posts: 9,507
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 -

http://dougkerr.net/Pumpkin/articles/ISO_Dynamic_range.pdf

 mostlyboringphotog's gear list:mostlyboringphotog's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Nikon 1 J5 Pentax 645Z Canon EOS RP Fujifilm GFX 50R
mostlyboringphotog Veteran Member • Posts: 9,507
Re: Dynamic range of a camera
2

QuietOC wrote:

Photons to Photos is a good reference with user-supplied data for many cameras.

It possible to expand image dynamic range by combining shots. Cell phones are using that method. Single shot base ISO dynamic range is becoming less meaningful. That said I am not very interested in those older Canon cameras that had limited low ISO dynamic range because of their hardware design. - bold added

I think that is because the ADC is located off the sensor on canon cameras (higher read noise floor) but canon has 45% of the market share; so many photographers must like something other than the base ISO DR

 mostlyboringphotog's gear list:mostlyboringphotog's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Nikon 1 J5 Pentax 645Z Canon EOS RP Fujifilm GFX 50R
bclaff Forum Pro • Posts: 11,161
Re: Dynamic range of a camera
2

Mare_333 wrote:

... My question is - shouldn't then dynamic range of a given camera be shown as one of the specifications for that camera. ...

One problem is that there isn't agreement about which form of dynamic range to use in such a specification.
The Engineering Dynamic Range (EDR) of an individual pixel is probably the easiest to measure/provide but it's really not appropriate for comparison purposes.
This is why things like Photographic Dynamic Range (PDR) exist.
You may find the sort-able table below the chart useful as well.

-- hide signature --

Bill ( Your trusted source for independent sensor data at PhotonsToPhotos )

OP Mare_333 Regular Member • Posts: 166
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

Thank you everyone who replied. I think I have a better understanding now.

Krusty79 Senior Member • Posts: 2,242
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

I found an article that lists the cameras with the greatest dynamic range. The Nikon D850 and D810 are at the top at 14.8 stops. The Sony A7R3 and A73 are next at 14.7 (got a message saying the domain in the link is banned).

After that, the Nikon Z7, Panny DC-S1 and Nikon Z6 were all > 14 stops of range.

-- hide signature --

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gkphotos79/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/greg79
"You can't be young forever, but you can always be immature" - Larry Andersen

 Krusty79's gear list:Krusty79's gear list
Canon EOS 60D Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM +4 more
bclaff Forum Pro • Posts: 11,161
Re: Dynamic range of a camera
3

Krusty79 wrote:

I found an article that lists the cameras with the greatest dynamic range. The Nikon D850 and D810 are at the top at 14.8 stops. The Sony A7R3 and A73 are next at 14.7 (got a message saying the domain in the link is banned).

After that, the Nikon Z7, Panny DC-S1 and Nikon Z6 were all > 14 stops of range.

Sounds like DxOMark-style numbers.

Here's from PhotonsToPhotos PDR mentioned above:

-- hide signature --

Bill ( Your trusted source for independent sensor data at PhotonsToPhotos )

mostlyboringphotog Veteran Member • Posts: 9,507
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

bclaff wrote:

Krusty79 wrote:

I found an article that lists the cameras with the greatest dynamic range. The Nikon D850 and D810 are at the top at 14.8 stops. The Sony A7R3 and A73 are next at 14.7 (got a message saying the domain in the link is banned).

After that, the Nikon Z7, Panny DC-S1 and Nikon Z6 were all > 14 stops of range.

Sounds like DxOMark-style numbers.

A bit of layman (photographers ?) explanation of EDR and PDR would be helpful, if I may add.

I take it that DxOMark-style is EDR? Engineering Dynamic Range.

...

 mostlyboringphotog's gear list:mostlyboringphotog's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Nikon 1 J5 Pentax 645Z Canon EOS RP Fujifilm GFX 50R
bclaff Forum Pro • Posts: 11,161
Re: Dynamic range of a camera
4

mostlyboringphotog wrote:

bclaff wrote:

Krusty79 wrote:

I found an article that lists the cameras with the greatest dynamic range. The Nikon D850 and D810 are at the top at 14.8 stops. The Sony A7R3 and A73 are next at 14.7 (got a message saying the domain in the link is banned).

After that, the Nikon Z7, Panny DC-S1 and Nikon Z6 were all > 14 stops of range.

Sounds like DxOMark-style numbers.

A bit of layman (photographers ?) explanation of EDR and PDR would be helpful, if I may add.

I take it that DxOMark-style is EDR? Engineering Dynamic Range.

...

This is a quick overview.

Engineering Dynamic Range (EDR) is pixel level dynamic range where the low level is determined by read noise.

DxOMark Landscape Dynamic Range is a normalized (to 8MP) version of EDR that is intended to compensate for different pixel sizes. I consider it a flawed approach and the values are unrealistically high.

Photographic Dynamic Range (PDR) is not based solely on read noise but on all noise sources including photon noise and Photo-Response Non-Uniformity (PRNU). The low level is based on a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) which is set based on the Circle Of Confusion (COC) for the sensor size. PDR values tend to run about 3 stops lower than DxOMark for the same cameras.

-- hide signature --

Bill ( Your trusted source for independent sensor data at PhotonsToPhotos )

mostlyboringphotog Veteran Member • Posts: 9,507
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

bclaff wrote:

mostlyboringphotog wrote:

bclaff wrote:

Krusty79 wrote:

I found an article that lists the cameras with the greatest dynamic range. The Nikon D850 and D810 are at the top at 14.8 stops. The Sony A7R3 and A73 are next at 14.7 (got a message saying the domain in the link is banned).

After that, the Nikon Z7, Panny DC-S1 and Nikon Z6 were all > 14 stops of range.

Sounds like DxOMark-style numbers.

A bit of layman (photographers ?) explanation of EDR and PDR would be helpful, if I may add.

I take it that DxOMark-style is EDR? Engineering Dynamic Range.

...

This is a quick overview.

Engineering Dynamic Range (EDR) is pixel level dynamic range where the low level is determined by read noise.

DxOMark Landscape Dynamic Range is a normalized (to 8MP) version of EDR that is intended to compensate for different pixel sizes. I consider it a flawed approach and the values are unrealistically high.

Photographic Dynamic Range (PDR) is not based solely on read noise but on all noise sources including photon noise and Photo-Response Non-Uniformity (PRNU). The low level is based on a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) which is set based on the Circle Of Confusion (COC) for the sensor size. PDR values tend to run about 3 stops lower than DxOMark for the same cameras.

Thank you very much for that

 mostlyboringphotog's gear list:mostlyboringphotog's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Nikon 1 J5 Pentax 645Z Canon EOS RP Fujifilm GFX 50R
OP Mare_333 Regular Member • Posts: 166
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

Thanks again everyone.

JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

Mare_333 wrote:

My question is - shouldn't then dynamic range of a given camera be shown as one of the specifications for that camera.

My take is there is not an industry standards body for non-industrial digital cameras that has defined a Dynamic Range standard and measuring method the camera manufactures can measure against so the consumer gets apples to apples specifications.

-- hide signature --

I believe in wabi-sabi : a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. I appreciate beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" in nature.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/billpoplawski/albums/with/72157716942456506
https://www.youtube.com/c/twelfthavenuecuisine

 JeffSlade's gear list:JeffSlade's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Fujifilm X-T1 GoPro Hero7 Black Canon EF 35mm F1.4L II USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +7 more
strawbale Senior Member • Posts: 1,496
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

bclaff wrote:

mostlyboringphotog wrote:

bclaff wrote:

Krusty79 wrote:

I found an article that lists the cameras with the greatest dynamic range. The Nikon D850 and D810 are at the top at 14.8 stops. The Sony A7R3 and A73 are next at 14.7 (got a message saying the domain in the link is banned).

After that, the Nikon Z7, Panny DC-S1 and Nikon Z6 were all > 14 stops of range.

Sounds like DxOMark-style numbers.

A bit of layman (photographers ?) explanation of EDR and PDR would be helpful, if I may add.

I take it that DxOMark-style is EDR? Engineering Dynamic Range.

...

This is a quick overview.

Engineering Dynamic Range (EDR) is pixel level dynamic range where the low level is determined by read noise.

DxOMark Landscape Dynamic Range is a normalized (to 8MP) version of EDR that is intended to compensate for different pixel sizes. I consider it a flawed approach and the values are unrealistically high.

Photographic Dynamic Range (PDR) is not based solely on read noise but on all noise sources including photon noise and Photo-Response Non-Uniformity (PRNU). The low level is based on a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) which is set based on the Circle Of Confusion (COC) for the sensor size. PDR values tend to run about 3 stops lower than DxOMark for the same cameras.

Thank you!

May I ask what the Low Light ISO and Low Light EV values in the other two columns reflect?

 strawbale's gear list:strawbale's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P7800
bclaff Forum Pro • Posts: 11,161
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

strawbale wrote:

bclaff wrote:

mostlyboringphotog wrote:

bclaff wrote:

Krusty79 wrote:

I found an article that lists the cameras with the greatest dynamic range. The Nikon D850 and D810 are at the top at 14.8 stops. The Sony A7R3 and A73 are next at 14.7 (got a message saying the domain in the link is banned).

After that, the Nikon Z7, Panny DC-S1 and Nikon Z6 were all > 14 stops of range.

Sounds like DxOMark-style numbers.

A bit of layman (photographers ?) explanation of EDR and PDR would be helpful, if I may add.

I take it that DxOMark-style is EDR? Engineering Dynamic Range.

...

This is a quick overview.

Engineering Dynamic Range (EDR) is pixel level dynamic range where the low level is determined by read noise.

DxOMark Landscape Dynamic Range is a normalized (to 8MP) version of EDR that is intended to compensate for different pixel sizes. I consider it a flawed approach and the values are unrealistically high.

Photographic Dynamic Range (PDR) is not based solely on read noise but on all noise sources including photon noise and Photo-Response Non-Uniformity (PRNU). The low level is based on a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) which is set based on the Circle Of Confusion (COC) for the sensor size. PDR values tend to run about 3 stops lower than DxOMark for the same cameras.

Thank you!

May I ask what the Low Light ISO and Low Light EV values in the other two columns reflect?

Low Light ISO is the ISO setting at which the PDR curves crosses the (somewhat arbitrary) value of 6.5
Low Light EV is Low Light ISO expressed in stops which makes values easier to compare.

-- hide signature --

Bill ( Your trusted source for independent sensor data at PhotonsToPhotos )

strawbale Senior Member • Posts: 1,496
Re: Dynamic range of a camera

bclaff wrote:

strawbale wrote:

bclaff wrote:

mostlyboringphotog wrote:

bclaff wrote:

Krusty79 wrote:

I found an article that lists the cameras with the greatest dynamic range. The Nikon D850 and D810 are at the top at 14.8 stops. The Sony A7R3 and A73 are next at 14.7 (got a message saying the domain in the link is banned).

After that, the Nikon Z7, Panny DC-S1 and Nikon Z6 were all > 14 stops of range.

Sounds like DxOMark-style numbers.

A bit of layman (photographers ?) explanation of EDR and PDR would be helpful, if I may add.

I take it that DxOMark-style is EDR? Engineering Dynamic Range.

...

This is a quick overview.

Engineering Dynamic Range (EDR) is pixel level dynamic range where the low level is determined by read noise.

DxOMark Landscape Dynamic Range is a normalized (to 8MP) version of EDR that is intended to compensate for different pixel sizes. I consider it a flawed approach and the values are unrealistically high.

Photographic Dynamic Range (PDR) is not based solely on read noise but on all noise sources including photon noise and Photo-Response Non-Uniformity (PRNU). The low level is based on a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) which is set based on the Circle Of Confusion (COC) for the sensor size. PDR values tend to run about 3 stops lower than DxOMark for the same cameras.

Thank you!

May I ask what the Low Light ISO and Low Light EV values in the other two columns reflect?

Low Light ISO is the ISO setting at which the PDR curves crosses the (somewhat arbitrary) value of 6.5
Low Light EV is Low Light ISO expressed in stops which makes values easier to compare.

Thanks again!

 strawbale's gear list:strawbale's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P7800
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads