Maximising Dynamic Range

The key to maximising dynamic range is to shoot at the base ISO of your sensor and nailing the exposure to protect what your really interested in.

Some scenes are too much for any camera so you have to pick and choose, protect the shadows or the highlights the choice is yours.  Picking the base ISO of your sensor seems the easy part.

Any exposure other then the base ISO results in reduced dynamic range and more noise.  We are used to cameras now with extremely high dynamic range and an extraordinary high ISO values and low noise, the problem is that camera manufactures now seem to think they know best and make adjustments, Sony seem to have the best high ISO performance but thats because of aggressive noise reduction that hides key detail.  It would be better to give the photographer the choice and leave the noise reduction to either a menu option in camera or for the photographer in post production.

Leica has a similar issue with the M10.  A number of users have reported blown high lights at the base ISO of 100.  At 200 the dynamic range seems better.  It turns out that the base ISO of the the sensor in the M10 is about 160-180 ISO.  Now 100 is not far off but it is a pull setting and using an ISO setting of 200 gives you better dynamic range.  Unfortunately the base ISO is inaccessible.

 

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