Dynamic Range Of Cameras

Dynamic Range Of Cameras In Photography

The dynamic range of cameras can be thought of as the net amount of light being captured by the camera sensor. It is the difference between the lightest part of a photo and the darkest part.

When the dynamic range of the camera is passed, your photo could be overexposed or underexposed. Maybe washed out. Or possibly even pure white or pure black.

Your camera has nowhere else to go! You need to be thinking about dynamic range when you’re taking photos.

Is It Good Or Bad?

Having great dynamic range does not necessarily make the final images “good” or “bad”.

For instance, having a lower dynamic range will be OK if scene is the evenly lit. Exposing for any part of the scene will net you a pretty good capture!

However, exposing can get tricky if there is a big difference between the brightest spots and the darkest spots. The dynamic range of your camera is critical here! There is more information to process.

In this case, low dynamic range nets the photographer a lot of pure whites and pure blacks. This doesn’t represent the scene well.

Dynamic Range In Modern Cameras

Modern manufacturers of cameras are constantly expanding the limits of dynamic range. Sensors are getting better and better.

Modern camera sensors can capture a ton of information!

Simply put, if a sensor has a strong dynamic range, it can capture more information in between the dark spots and bright spots.

This information is recorded as an image and can be further processed later when you edit.

Dynamic Range And Photo Editing

If your camera has great dynamic range, and you’ve been shooting RAW, you have a lot of information that will help you edit.

You may be able to bring back details in the overexposed and underexposed parts of an image. This is fantastic news! It allows you to bring out important details in your shot.

Example – Bringing back details in the background of your image. Like harshly lit bricks behind your client or model.

Get Things Right As You Shoot

If you’re operating a camera with lower dynamic range, this is not the end of the world! No need to rush out and purchase a new camera just yet!

What it does mean is that you need to think about your exposure as you’re shooting.


Don’t leave yourself, or your clients, with zero wiggle room to improve your shots in the next step… editing!

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