Meter is Metering: Or Please Stop Complaining About Dynamic Range

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X70 review color and dynamic range (2 of 2)ISO 16001-60 sec at f - 2.8

In 2008, Canon spearheaded a charge for a major state of innovation that would forever change the industry. The Canon 5D Mk II was announced: and not only could it shoot HD video but it could also resolve loads of details, handle ISO noise pretty well and had great dynamic range rendition. At the same time, Trey Ratcliff’s Stuck in Customs was taking off a bit more than it already had as the world marvelled at his HDR photography. I did it, you did it, advertisers did it, etc. All of that created a world where photographers sit there and complain about the dynamic range on the internet because they have a computer and an avatar. For a while, it made sense; but the year is now 2016: and the truth is going to hurt for many of you still stuck in 2005.

Are you ready?

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Review: Sony A7s Mk II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7s Mk II extra product images (2 of 4)ISO 8001-160 sec at f - 11

With the release of the Sony A7s Mk II around a year after the original, one has to wonder how can Sony make the A7s series any better?

That was the major question going through my head during this entire review process. It’s a specialized camera that serves its target audience really well. The Sony A7s Mk II doesn’t have the resolution of the Sony A7 Mk II or the Sony A7r Mk II, but what it has is the ability to deliver usable images at nuclear high ISO results that end up throwing the laws of exposure right out the window. This is due to the 12.2MP full frame 35mm sized sensor at the heart of the camera. Further, this camera can see better than the human eye in the dark.

With the Sony A7s Mk II, the company decided to add an uncompressed RAW shooting ability new ergonomics to match that of all the other Mk II cameras, new features for video shooters, and improvements to the autofocus that makes it able to autofocus in situations where other cameras simply scratch their heads.

Sure, the Mk II won’t be for everyone: but will it be for you? Do you really need to shoot at ISO levels not even thought of years ago?

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DxOMark: Sony A7r Mk II is at the Top of the Charts

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first impressions (2 of 8)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 5.6

DXOMark released the results of their tests with the Sony A7r Mk II today–and they’re not really surprising. Why not? We kind of expected the Sony A7r Mk II to wipe the floor with everyone else–and it does. Receiving an overall score of 98%, it seems to excel in pretty much every area of their tests. With a 42.2MP full frame sensor, we would assume that the camera is bound to have lots of color depth and dynamic range information but not so great high ISO output. Right?

More of an analysis is after the jump.

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How to Read a Histogram

Histogram tutorial image

The histogram is a readout of information that tells you things that you won’t necessarily see in the image that you shoot. If you know anything about a tonal curve, it’s kind of similar. The histogram displays data on the highlights, midtones, and shadows but also displays it for colors.

The folks at Phlearn created a video explaining the histogram in 18 minutes, and pack a wealth of educational stuff that you can use to help you create the images that you want. It’s important to know that while many cameras can shoot the same exposure, they don’t always capture the same amount of information in the scene. For example, some sensors capture more information in the color depth, while others have a larger dynamic range.

But this doesn’t just go for digital. In the film days, negative film had more versatility but chrome film had better colors.

The video on how to read the histogram is after the jump.

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How to Get Better Dynamic Range from a Single Image

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r review photos brooklyn bridge reddit walk (8 of 14)ISO 1001-60 sec at f - 4.5

We’ve talked before about getting better sharpness and about getting better colors in your images, but now we’re tackling the subject of dynamic range. We’re going to start off by saying that not every single image needs to be an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image in order for you to want to get better dynamic range. Sometimes it really just depends on what you want to accomplish creatively. But you should also know that this has everything to do with knowing how to meter with your camera to begin with.

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Samsung May be Preparing a High-End NX Camera, Still no Full-Frame Though

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer LCDVF Fader ND Mamiya (7 of 11)
Could the Samsung NX1 look anything like this?

Could the Samsung NX1 look anything like this?

A recent report indicates that Samsung may be working on a high-end model to complement its line of NX-series mirrorless cameras. The new camera, which could be called the NX1, will allegedly sport a much more substantial body reminiscent of the Mamiya 6 medium format rangefinder film camera of the olden days (or the Mamiya 7/7II pictured above, which looked just like it.) Apart from that, the NX1 will purportedly be equipped with loads of amazing features.

The electronic viewfinder of the NX1 is said to be the highest-resolving on the market according to the report, and it will feature some kind of new technology. Likewise, the sensor–which is, unfortunately, still APS-C and not full-frame, as many will have hoped–is said to sport 28 megapixels and to deliver outstanding performance especially at higher ISO settings. Autofocusing will allegedly be of a hybrid nature like that of the Sony A6000, yet with more AF points.

The reported release date of the camera is this fall, which means it’s possible that we’re actually going to see it at photokina. The body along will reportedly cost $1,300, and in kit with the 16-50mm lens (we assume it is going to be the f2-2.8 version) the NX1 will sell for $2,300. As always, take this information with a grain of salt, as there is currently no way of verifying it. We’d sure be excited to see a camera like this, though–although we would’ve been even more excited about a full-frame mirrorless camera from Samsung.

Via Mirrorless Rumors

DxOMark: Sony A77 Mk II Sensor Almost On Par Nikon D7100

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.21.39 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.21.39 AM

When Sony’s A77 was released, ti was very highly regarded by many photographers. So when Sony announced their A77 Mk II, the world knew that they had to find a way to outdo not only that camera but lots of the other flagship APS-C competition. DxOMark announced the results of their sensor lab tests today, and apparently it’s slightly worse than the Nikon D7100 and above the Pentax K3. From the results, it has the worst ISO performance of the three–which makes us believe that it is a very similar if not the same sensor in the new A6000 mirrorless camera (review here).

Nikon seems to be leading the pack though with only slightly worse color depth than the other two.

All three cameras have 1.5x crop APS-C sensors and of course this test only shows the sensor performance. The K3 and D7100 are both very hefty tanks of cameras. In fact, we ran the K3 under water and it survived.

For more, you can check out our Pentax K3 and Nikon D7100 reviews. We have only had first impressions with the A77 Mk II so far though, and when we’ve completed the review a four way comparison will be done.

The Difference Between Dynamic Range And Latitude

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1398178057283

An image of trees in Olympic National Park which requires a lot of dynamic range.

This post originally appeared on photographer Bill Wadman’s blog on April 22, 2014, and is being syndicated at The Phoblographer with his permission. Photo taken by and used with permission from Bill Wadman.

I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while. In fact it’s been sitting as an empty draft for months, so it’s about time we get on with it. One of my pet peeves is people who act like they know everything when they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. A few years ago I wrote one of my favorite blog posts ever called Image Properties (Or how most people talk out of their ass), to tackle one of the common areas of confusion.

Today, in an attempt to help out some more of you we’re going to talk about the difference between ‘dynamic range’ and ‘latitude’. Two terms that many people use interchangeably which are actually two different things.

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