This is everything you wanted to know about dynamic range
Dynamic range is a topic that always comes up every time a new camera is released. But what is dynamic range? How do our cameras see it? And why does it matter? In this video, John Hess at Filmmaker IQ takes a deep dive into the top of dynamic range.
Essentially, the dynamic range of a scene is the difference between its brightest and darkest parts. The bright white highlights and the blackest of black shadows. In the case of photography, this range measured in stops, just like exposure in our cameras.
But if that was all John spoke about in this video, it wouldn’t need to last 35 minutes. Dynamic range isn’t as simple as that one definition. There are lots of implications surrounding dynamic range and
John breaks down dynamic range into its raw basic components and looks at the science, physics and psychology of dynamic range as well as its practical implications when trying to capture it on-camera.
As with many of John’s videos, there are parts you’ll probably want to watch several times over in order to fully understand them. But he covers many topics and terms you might’ve heard of but perhaps didn’t understand. Expose to the right (ETTR), Bit depth, raw vs not-raw, gamma vs log vs linear, and a whole bunch more.
It’s definitely not one you can skim through and expect to take in. And there’s far too much information in it to try to break it down in a post here. But the short version is, if you ever had any questions about dynamic range, you should watch this video.
So, make yourself a drink, sit back, and relax. You’ll probably want to take notes, too.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.