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Camera and Image Dynamic Range

Dynamic range

The dynamic range in photography refers to the luminosity range of a scene being photographed. Therefore, the photographic medium used to record that scene can have their own dynamic range limitations. Photographic films, digital sensors and photographic paper, they all have a light sensitivity range which marks the difference between the darker shadow and the brightest highlight for a particularly captured image. Even the computer’s displays lack a good dynamic range.

Dynamic range
Some digital sensors found in compact digital cameras or even in SLR-Like digital cameras, will not be able to retain in a picture a favorable range of shadows and highlights. This is due to the small sensors used and their average technology performance.

Taking pictures in a scene where opposite light intensities (deep black and bright white) will be present, will always result in overexposed or underexposed images.

A digital SLR camera will handle much better this issue, being able to capture a larger dynamic range due to its bigger sensor and improved technology.

However, the full dynamic range of a human-viewed scene still cannot be completely captured in a single image. To overcome this camera handicap and produce images with a high dynamic range, can be used the double or three exposure method (bracketing), then merging the resulting files. There are also cameras explicitly designed to capture high dynamic range images (HDR Cameras).