Could someone please explain to me what elements of the D50 sensor determine the range between the whitest white and the blackest black in a single shot and how this changes in the progression through the higher level cameras?
There's a thing called dynamic range, and each generation of silicon has increased range. More modern sensors nearly always have slightly more DR than earlier ones. This is usually based on a physical property of the sensor design and mostly cannot be controlled. For most sensors I know of, more ISO = less DR, although a newer generation of sensor may be so noiseless that its high ISO may have more DR than an older sensor's base... Right now the sensor with the most DR (at least from Nikon) is the D3s, with the other FX senors packed right behind it.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
Right now the sensor with the most DR (at least from Nikon) is the D3s
I don't think so. I think the order listed in my Sensor Characteristics table is approximately correct. Current models are grouped at the top in bold.
You can expect a plea for more Photographic Dynamic Range results shortly as I'm returning to Nikonians after a 2 1/2 year break. (You're exempt because I already have D3 numbers and because you use a Mac )