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micro Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Mar 2008Mon 02-Dec-13 08:35 PM
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"dynamic range"


walkertown, US
          

been studying a little on dynamic range since I have noticed it being referenced quite a lot here on nikonians.from what I gather thru all the confusion is that the larger each pixel is on the sensor the more dynamic range the camera has.If this is true, does the D-7000 have better dynamic range than the D7100 considering that the sensors are the same size?The D-7000 must have bigger pixels in order to fill the sensor? Troy

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: dynamic range
William Rounds Gold Member
02nd Dec 2013
1
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dm1dave Administrator
02nd Dec 2013
2
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micro Silver Member
03rd Dec 2013
3
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jbloom Gold Member
03rd Dec 2013
4
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micro Silver Member
03rd Dec 2013
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Chris Platt Silver Member
04th Dec 2013
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PerroneFord Silver Member
04th Dec 2013
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km6xz Moderator
07th Dec 2013
8

William Rounds Gold Member Nikonian since 25th Mar 2011Mon 02-Dec-13 08:45 PM
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#1. "RE: dynamic range"
In response to Reply # 0


Rambouillet, FR
          

I believe the D7000 has a very slight edge in dynamic range versus the D7100. I doubt it makes much difference in real world photography. If I remember correctly it was on the DxOmark site that I saw this.

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Mon 02-Dec-13 09:19 PM
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#2. "RE: dynamic range"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 03-Dec-13 02:14 AM by dm1dave

Lowden, US
          

>> “what I gather thru all the confusion is that the larger each pixel is on the sensor the more dynamic range the camera has”

This is true only when comparing sensors of the same generation. In other words; if the underlying technology is the same and the only difference is pixel size then - bigger pixels = better dynamic range.

Using older technology you may have larger pixels and less dynamic range.

For example a D50 is a 6 mega pixel camera – its pixels are substantially larger than the D7100 but the D7100 still has much better dynamic range.

The real difference is how efficiently the sensor gathers light. Increase efficiency and you increase the dynamic range.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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micro Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Mar 2008Tue 03-Dec-13 10:04 AM
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#3. "RE: dynamic range"
In response to Reply # 2


walkertown, US
          

thank you for the replies and thanks Dave for the simple example.I got more from that than my searches and hrs of reading. Troy

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jbloom Gold Member Awarded for the continuous and generous sharing of his high level expertise and his always encouraging comments in several forums. Nikonian since 15th Jul 2004Tue 03-Dec-13 03:11 PM
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#4. "RE: dynamic range"
In response to Reply # 2


Wethersfield, US
          

>>> “what I gather thru all the confusion is that the
>larger each pixel is on the sensor the more dynamic range the
>camera has”

>
>This is true only when comparing sensors of the same
>generation. In other words; if the underlying technology is
>the same and the only difference is pixel size then - bigger
>pixels = better dynamic range.

That's not strictly true. The usual explanation given is that a larger pixel gathers more light, but that overlooks the simple fact that when the pixels are smaller, a given pixel may gather less light than a larger pixel would but the light it fails to gather is instead gathered by the other nearby small pixels. (Similar reasoning applies to shot noise.) Overall, the same amount of light is gathered by the sensor whether the pixels are large or small.

So if you look at an image on a pixel-by-pixel basis, it may appear noisier, but if you look at the image overall, it's not. And it's the "overall" that matters for the vast majority of uses.

If you want a graphical display of the difference, you can get one at DxOMark. Compare the D7000 and the D7100, for instance, and look at the graphs for "SNR 18%" measurements. (Be patient, those pages can take a while to load.) There are two sets of SNR graphs, selected by clicking the "Screen" or "Print" buttons. The "Screen" graphs show the 100% pixel-peeping view, and there the D7000 appears to have a SNR advantage. But click on the "Print" button to get the overall view, and the advantage disappears.

There are other differences between sensors, of course, even within similar generations since the manufacturers are constantly making improvements. For example, switch over to the dynamic range comparisons of the D7000 and D7100 at DxOMark. There, the D7000 wins by a little at the low ISOs while the D7100 wins by a little at the higher ISOs. Clearly, there is more going on here than just pixel size. So, really, it's best to evaluate each sensor based on its actual performance rather than on individual characteristics such as pixel size. Or just shoot and not worry about it.

>The real difference is how efficiently the sensor gathers
>light. Increase efficiency and you increase the dynamic range.

Exactly.

-- Jon
Wethersfield, CT, USA
Connecticut High School Sports Photos

  

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micro Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Mar 2008Tue 03-Dec-13 11:11 PM
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#5. "RE: dynamic range"
In response to Reply # 4


walkertown, US
          

Thanks for the info Jon.I'm going to make a statement because I was not real clear about what I was looking for and I don't want this post to possibly go in the wrong direction.My intent is to learn what dynamic range is,what affects it,how things affect it,and what I can do to maximize it if I can at all.I am not trying to compare cameras and only used the two as an example due to their sensors.I'm just looking for knowledge as to how it all works.Thank you and please keep this post going. Troy

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Chris Platt Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Sep 2012Wed 04-Dec-13 02:36 AM
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#6. "RE: dynamic range"
In response to Reply # 5


Newburg, US
          

You can maximize dynamic range by keeping your ISO setting as low as possible for the conditions. Dynamic range decreases substantially at higher ISO settings.

You can attempt to maximize the dynamic range your camera can capture, or manipulate (compress) the dynamic range of a scene by using graduated neutral density filters or flash. The neutral density filters can be used to tone down the brightest parts of a scene like a sunset, while flash can be used to lighten up foreground objects in a backlit scene.

You can also learn to manipulate dynamic range in captured images by adjusting exposure curves in post processing.

Just one more thing to think about along with all the other considerations in our photographic golf swing..

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PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011Wed 04-Dec-13 05:10 AM
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#7. "RE: dynamic range"
In response to Reply # 0


Tallahassee, US
          

All these answers are well and good, but no one has even told the man what dynamic range IS.

Simply put, dynamic range is the ratio between the brightest light your camera can record, and the darkest black your camera can record without "clipping.

Let's assume for a second that you are in a cave with ABSOLUTELY ZERO ambient light available. This is black, black, black. You need a certain amount of light present before your camera can actually register it. Wherever that amount of light is, let's call it zero. That is the darkest image your camera can register. So we turn up the light without changing camera settings. Eventually, we get to a point where the camera sees that light as pure white. Any further increase in light does not change what the camera is recording, but a slight decrease in the light is recordable.

This range between "zero" and "pure white" is the dynamic range of the camera. It is often measure in "f stops" or EV. Back when I started shooting film, the range was something like 8 stops. Current film emulsions are in the range of 13 stops. DXOMark lists the D800E at 14.3EV.

Why is this important? Because Dynamic range allows us to shoot in bright sunlight and still get information in the shadows. Think of a scenario where the sun is behind or to the side of your subject. On a sensor or film with low dynamic range, the bright side of the face or the sun will be pure white with no detail. The dark side will be pure black with no detail. As we move to more dynamic range, details will start to show in those whites and blacks. The more dynamic range, the more detail will emerge.

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sat 07-Dec-13 08:01 AM
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#8. "RE: dynamic range"
In response to Reply # 7


St Petersburg, RU
          

To further complicate the concept, pure black is not possible since the sensor has a noise floor that generates a random stream of data that is numerically greater than pure black. That impacts useful dynamic range a lot since one sensor technology might generate more noise as a minimum output. The D7000 and D800 sensors are known for very low base noise so benefits the DR measurements and in practical use.
Think of DR is the loudest your stereo will play without distortion and the quietest signal that is not covered by internally generated noise. The low level hiss sound is from identical causes as sensor noise. There are 3 main types of noise that makes up both. I will not go into the details of the noises, that would really complicate this but the results are the same, the noise sets the lowest recordable actual light level, that is not covered by internally generated noise. Great progress has been made in lowering internally generated noise, and noise in the electronic amplification and errors in the analog to digital conversion, in both sound equipment and sensors.

Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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