Magic Lantern has done some amazing things with Canon cameras by hacking the firmware. Recently, they expanded the dynamic range of the 5D Mk III by a stop. Now, user Jonathan Zdziarski did an informal test comparing the results of the Canon full frame DSLR and the Nikon D800–which has enjoyed quite the reign as a camera with a kick ass sensor.
Using what the hack calls Dual ISO, it is able to capture more information in a photo–therefore expanding its dynamic range. To do this, the camera takes two photos at different ISO settings and merges them together. According to Jonathan,
“Each individual scan-line is interleaved as its sampled from the sensor, so you’re capturing one image with every other scan line at, say, ISO 100 for example, and the next scan line at ISO 800, 1600, or whatever you specify in ML.”
Crazy cool, huh? What’s even crazier is that it seems to be improving the image quality at lower ISO settings too. Of course, this is really best with still images and not really for video–the added capabilities of RAW video though are a nice touch.
You can find more over at Jonathan’s blog. We also wonder if Canon is paying attention to this.