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Old Mar 15, 2006, 8:07 PM   #1
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In digital photography, what is dynamic range? And what effect does it have on pictures?

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Old Mar 15, 2006, 9:05 PM   #2
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Dynamic range is the difference in the darkest to lightest parts of a scene. A bright, sunny day with shadows has a large dynamic range, which is often greater than the sensors in digital cameras are able to distinguish. This leads to either dark areas which look black, and without detail, or highlights that are washed out, or both.

There are ways to recover detail in shadows, but highlights that are blown are usually gone for good.

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Old Mar 15, 2006, 10:37 PM   #3
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The above definition is correct.
I wanted to add that the human eye can see a much wider range of dynamic range than a camera can. This is one of the many challenges of photography. You really can't capture what you can actually see.

So if you get your image back and think "why does it look like this? That is not what I saw" that is why.

The human eye can also see in less light than a camera can.

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Old Mar 15, 2006, 10:46 PM   #4
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Not all cameras have the same dynamic range. DSLRs generally have greater range than many of the modern high megapixel/small sensor fixed lens cameras - one of the reasons why more pixels are not always better (my 6 MP Pentax *ist with it's larger sensorhasgreater dynamic range than the 8 MP (smaller sensor) Pentax FZ30 I used to own.
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