What Is Dynamic Range and Why Is It Important?

Why is everyone always concerned with the Dynamic Range of cameras these days?

Dynamic Range. If you have read a camera announcement or review in the last 10 years then chances are that you have seen this term more than a few times – especially in the last 3-5 years. But if you are newer to photography, or just never took the time to investigate, you may find yourself wondering what exactly dynamic range is and why you should be concerned about it. Today we are here to help you get that question answered.

Simply put, dynamic range is a term to describe how much information can be seen in your image in both the highlights and shadows at the same time at a given exposure. So in a high contrast scene, where a camera with lower dynamic range will only let you capture information from the darker or brighter portions, you will struggle to expose the image with a good range of both. A camera with good dynamic range will be able to capture more information in both the highlights and in the shadows, allowing you to capture and process a more appealing image.

Stuck In Love Films, a Youtube Channel, has posted this excellent overview on dynamic range and what it is over on their Channel. We think it will be very helpful to those still struggling to understand what dynamic range is and how it relates to the image you are getting out of your camera.

Now the video primarily focuses on video applications for dynamic range, like shooting with LOG profiles and such. But the explanation and information about dynamic range itself are still very relevant and helpful for photographers as well. We still recommend checking it out.

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.