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Photographic Dynamic Range

bclaff

Vancouver (WA USA not BC Canad, US
9691 posts

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bclaff Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources Registered since 26th Oct 2004
Wed 16-Jan-08 01:03 PM

With the help of a number of Nikonians who responded to my request for Dynamic Range Collaboration I now have a relatively complete chart.

This chart confirms in an 'objective' way what most people have been reporting; although there are some interesting features.

The numbers are based on raw data taken from NEF files.

One way to interpret the chart is to choose a camera with which you are familiar and an ISO at which you were satisfied with your results.
Then holding that Dynamic Range value constant examine other camera models.
For example, you should get about the same quality of image from a D200 at ISO 200 as the D300 at ISO 560 (1.5 stops) or the D3 at ISO 1600 (3 stops).

Another interpretation of the chart is to choose a camera with which you are familiar and an ISO at which you were satisfied with your results.
The holding ISO constant you can get a sense for Image Quality (IQ) improvement.
This improvement is mostly relevant if you intend to crop or enlarge more.
So again, from the D200 at ISO 200 the D300 is about 1.5 stops better IQ and the D3 about 2 stops better IQ.

From the chart we can make some generalizations.
All the 'older' cameras are pretty tightly bunched with the exception of the D50 which stands out as slightly better.
Then the D300 is a substantial improvement with the D3 even better by a wide margin.
It's interesting to note that gap between the D3 and D300 is narrower at low ISO.


Bill

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Visit me at Photons To Photos

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