Dynamic Range of Point & Shoots...

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by plastic_razor, Nov 18, 2006.

  1. Is there a significant difference between a typical consumer dSLR
    (400D, D80, A100) and a midrange point & shoot camera?

    I've tried to find quantitative/statistical measurements of the dynamic
    range of these cameras, but haven't been able to find any.
    plastic_razor, Nov 18, 2006
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  2. plastic_razor

    minnesøtti Guest

    minnesøtti, Nov 18, 2006
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  3. plastic_razor

    JohnR66 Guest

    Yes. You get about a stop worth (YMMV) and if you use the RAW mode on the
    SLR, you can pull out an additional stop. Most P&S cameras don't have a RAW
    mode. I find many P&S cameras (and some dSLRs) are designed to expose for
    the shadows and tend to blow the highlights often. I find that using the
    exposure compensation setting and underexposing by a 1/2 to a full stop
    helps considerably. Also many compact cameras are set too contrasty as the
    average consumer likes the extra "snap" it gives the image. If the camera
    has a contrast setting, lower it to reduce the chance of clipping.
    JohnR66, Nov 18, 2006

  4. Some P&S cameras, like the Canon G6, do have RAW mode. I wonder how
    its dynamic range compares to dSLRs?

    I know that the dynamic range of the Digital Rebel XTi (400D) is
    measurably larger than that of the EOS 5D, even though the latter has a
    much larger sensor. With that in mind, I wonder how much more dynamic
    range a dSLR is capable of capturing than a decent P&S? Most people
    (including me) believe that dSLRs have higher dynamic range than point
    & shoots, but I've yet to see actual numbers to back it up.
    plastic_razor, Nov 18, 2006
  5. Where did you read the XTi has a larger dynamic range than the
    5D? The 5D is limited by the 12-bit A/D converter. The only way
    an XTi could beat that is if it had a 14 or 16 bit A/D, which I
    do not think it does.

    The answers to your questions are on these web pages:

    Data on sensors are here:

    Dynamic range of DSLR versus P&S are shown in Figure 7 at:
    Digital Cameras: Does Pixel Size Matter?
    Factors in Choosing a Digital Camera

    Another plot of sensor dynamic range is in Figure 3 at:
    Digital Camera Sensor Performance Summary
    (This page is new and is still a draft.)

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Nov 18, 2006
  6. When, where, and how do you "know" this? Seriously, can you cite some
    URL or other?
    John McWilliams, Nov 18, 2006
  7. plastic_razor

    Mark² Guest

    I seriously doubt you'll find anything that backs up this claim.
    Please cite your data, if you've found something would have to defy logic.
    Mark², Nov 19, 2006
  8. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Nov 19, 2006

  9. The EOS 400D review at DPreview claims that the 400D has a dynamic
    range that's roughly 5% better than the D80, 350D, and the Sony Alpha.
    The usable range is supposed to be around 8.4EV. In their EOS 5D
    review (same author), the measured dynamic range was around 8.2 EV.
    These were done in JPEG tests. Both cameras have about one extra stop
    of headroom in RAW mode.

    The difference in test results is so small, it's probably more accurate
    to say that neither the 400D nor the 5D has a real advantage in dynamic
    range --- at least based on this one test. Which is interesting,
    considering all the hoopla about the big bad full frame sensor having
    better dynamic range than a tiny sensoor in an entry-level digital
    rebel. Maybe I misunderstood the articles? Read for yourselves:


    plastic_razor, Nov 20, 2006
  10. Thanks for the response, and cites, which I may read later. However, you
    are disproving the claim you made, somehow not quoted here. [Mark
    squared's post is also missing on my spool in r.p.d., but the points
    made by Roger and me aren't contradicted.]
    John McWilliams, Nov 20, 2006
  11. plastic_razor

    Colin_D Guest

    See also this link from Roger Clark:


    where the 5D is vastly superior to all other cameras.

    Colin D.
    Colin_D, Nov 20, 2006
  12. plastic_razor

    Mark² Guest

    Those who are concerned about the minutia of dynamic range differences are
    unlikely to shoot in jpeg. Has it occurred to you that jpegs are far more
    limited than the range that can be pushed/pulled from a RAW file?

    Once you convert to jpeg, you've given away a tremendous amount of data and
    potential dynamic range.
    Mark², Nov 21, 2006
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