Hi CameraLabs Forum,
Gordon, I’ve done a bit of reading regarding the dynamic range considerations of dSLR photography. What I would propose is to isolate camera performance from post processing and subsequent image visualisation on displays or printed material. Good descriptions of dynamic range and its measurement are given by :
I would suggest to follow the procedure described on the imatest website … http://www.imatest.com/docs/tour_q13.html
. The author of this software has another very informative web-site describing dynamic range / tonality … http://www.normankoren.com/digital_tonality.html
, amongst other photography considerations.
These descriptions provide a lot of detail as to the use of transmission charts for the characterisation of the dynamic range. The use of step transmission target provides a good measure of the sensors ability to distinguish between contrast levels for a particular ISO setting.
If one captures a high contrast image what can one do with it? Some of the high-end displays out there can display images with 5000 and more contrast levels. Plasma displays and the new LCD displays would therefore allow you to view such images. However, high-contrast printing processes only offer around 200 contrast levels. To improve contrast on printed and on electronic media one needs to bias the information in the scene to include contrast indicators; features that the human brain interprets to aid it to see enhancements in contrast. Such image features can include boundary shapes and subtle adjustment of colouration. I would be interested to know if the process Fujifilm is using includes such feature enhancement.
Some people would find pure image quality as being the most important factor here but others would find benefit in having the process of arriving at a “contrast enhanced” scene more automated. Ultimately, a camera that can achieve good contrast enhancement would be able to offer at least suggestions for enhancement of its JPEG output. The obvious advantage of JPEG output is that it increases the shot-capacity of a camera. One may want to base their work more on JPEG capture backed up by a few RAW pictures of the scene / event. JPEGs with more enhanced shadow and bright-contrast detail (at the expense of mid-range contrast) would be a desirable target for camera output, I would have thought. Another advantage of enhancements of contrast in JPEG output would be to improve the display of scene histogram data with which I believe in most cameras the white balancing is being judged.