Re: Which camera has the best dynamic range?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ray, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. ray

    ray Guest

    On Sat, 30 Aug 2008 23:40:55 -0400, Bob Donahue wrote:

    > I take a lot of pictures at car shows. The digital cameras I've had to
    > date, have trouble rendering white cars in direct sunlight. You can't
    > see the curves of the body panels, they come out pure white with no
    > shading! Cars that are not white come out beautifully. I'm in the market
    > for a new "point and shoot" camera. I've narrowed my choice down to the
    > Fujifilm FinePix F100fd or the Nikon CoolPix 610. Both of these models
    > are advertised as having special "dynamic range" modes. Which one would
    > be my best bet for avoiding washed out highlights?


    If you shoot jpeg, you have 8 bits of dynamic range (in each RGB
    component) - that's it - because that's all the camera's jpeg format will
    support. If you shoot raw you'll have 12 bits or more. The discontinued
    Kodak P series EVF long zooms will shoot raw as well as jpeg or tiff. You
    can frequently find them on Kodak's online store at great prices.
    ray, Aug 31, 2008
    #1
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  2. ray wrote:
    > On Sat, 30 Aug 2008 23:40:55 -0400, Bob Donahue wrote:
    >
    >> I take a lot of pictures at car shows. The digital cameras I've had
    >> to date, have trouble rendering white cars in direct sunlight. You
    >> can't see the curves of the body panels, they come out pure white
    >> with no shading! Cars that are not white come out beautifully. I'm
    >> in the market for a new "point and shoot" camera. I've narrowed my
    >> choice down to the Fujifilm FinePix F100fd or the Nikon CoolPix 610.
    >> Both of these models are advertised as having special "dynamic
    >> range" modes. Which one would be my best bet for avoiding washed out
    >> highlights?

    >
    > If you shoot jpeg, you have 8 bits of dynamic range (in each RGB
    > component) - that's it - because that's all the camera's jpeg format
    > will support. If you shoot raw you'll have 12 bits or more. The
    > discontinued Kodak P series EVF long zooms will shoot raw as well as
    > jpeg or tiff. You can frequently find them on Kodak's online store at
    > great prices.


    Ray, you are mistaken here. If anything, JPEG actually offers the greater
    dynamic range because it uses non-linear gamma-corrected encoding, as
    opposed to the linear coding of RAW. What JPEG lacks, however, is
    precision of representing light levels, plus ths "loss" due to compression
    (in most JPEGs).

    David
    David J Taylor, Aug 31, 2008
    #2
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  3. John McWilliams wrote:
    []
    > RAW files can be converted to a viewable format by non-linear or
    > linear, gamma corrected, or not, depending on the software and
    > settings of the user.
    >
    > Saying JPEGs have more dynamic range is simply wrong.


    To clarify, John, I was talking about the JPEG files which come straight
    from the camera, not those from a RAW to JPEG conversion.

    Given the class of camera under consideration (Fuji F100fd and Nikon
    Coolpix 610), would you like to name one which uses a linear rather than a
    gamma corrected representation in the JPEG? I would be very surprised if
    any did.

    David
    David J Taylor, Aug 31, 2008
    #3
  4. John McWilliams wrote:
    > David J Taylor wrote:
    >> John McWilliams wrote:
    >> []
    >>> RAW files can be converted to a viewable format by non-linear or
    >>> linear, gamma corrected, or not, depending on the software and
    >>> settings of the user.
    >>>
    >>> Saying JPEGs have more dynamic range is simply wrong.

    >>
    >> To clarify, John, I was talking about the JPEG files which come
    >> straight from the camera, not those from a RAW to JPEG conversion.
    >>
    >> Given the class of camera under consideration (Fuji F100fd and Nikon
    >> Coolpix 610), would you like to name one which uses a linear rather
    >> than a gamma corrected representation in the JPEG? I would be very
    >> surprised if any did.

    >
    > I am not familiar with either camera, but in any event, it's irrelevant
    > to my statement: JPEGs do not have inherently more dynamic range than
    > the RAW from which it's processed.
    >


    It's not your misunderstanding of a camera's dynamic range that matters
    as much as whether or not you can display it all in a single picture.

    If you consider 3 stops to the left of centre will produce an image from
    a RAW file that has detail in white and near white areas and 3 stops to
    the right will produce detain in dark areas... It is *impossible* to
    display a picture with both the left and right detail *IF* the central
    portion is correctly displaying the dynamic range of the sensor.

    Where David is (seemingly) unable to elaborate on his statement is when
    you and the idiot from the frozen wastes of Canada jumped in and try to
    discredit him with twisted bullshit about what you perceive the dynamic
    range to be.

    Well here's some information for you two, that I suspect neither of you
    would prefer to read.

    The Dynamic range of a camera is that point at which detail in
    highlights and shadows in a correctly exposed image cease - *not* an
    image tampered with in Photoshop.

    When the detail stops being displayed in light areas and detail stops
    being available in dark areas, the dynamic range has been exceeded.

    It is entirely possible to manipulate the dynamic range during
    processing. The resulting JPEG developed from a RAW file may well exceed
    the dynamic range of the camera by a considerable amount - but that is
    tampering with the image, not a description of the true dynamic range of
    a camera.

    When (most) Digital cameras save a JPEG file, it will have had some post
    processing done to it by the camera's computer and it *will* exceed the
    dynamic range of the camera and therefore the dynamic range of an
    unprocessed RAW file. Not enough for those people who refuse to consider
    ND filters to control contrast and believe they need a $1000 program to
    do it after the shoot.

    The fact you may be able to extend the dynamic range of a photo further
    that the range of the camera with manipulation of the RAW (or JPEG)
    image during development, does not change the fact a RAW file - straight
    from the camera - has less dynamic range than a JPEG file - straight
    from the camera.

    Further to this; Instead of trying to extend the dynamic range of the
    camera, it is entirely practical to *compress* the dynamic range in the
    camera and avoid the need to post process entirely... Unless of course
    you actually enjoy this sort of stuff. I prefer to use Photoshop to
    produce art photos rather than recover disasters that could have been
    avoided with knowledge of photography.
    Shon Kei Picture company, Sep 1, 2008
    #4
  5. Alan Browne wrote:
    []
    > JPG's 8 bits/color is compressed DR, not more DR. The 'loss' is in
    > graduation 'tween colors. JPG cannot contain an expression of more
    > information than the original raw, compressed or otherwise.
    >
    > The key point is that in-camera JPG leaves you with much less in terms
    > of options than post-processed raw.


    With an 8-bit linear coding, the ratio between maximum and minimum signal
    level is 255:1.

    The typical RAW data is 12-bit or 14-1bit, having a ratio of max/min of
    4095:1 or 16383:1.

    With JPEG, taking 2.2 as the typical gamma correction, the ratio is
    255^2.2:1, or about 200,000:1.

    Agreed that JPEG compromises on the accuracy with which any particular
    brightness can be represented, but the range of values which can be
    represented is greater with JPEG than RAW.

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2008
    #5
  6. John McWilliams wrote:
    []
    > I am not familiar with either camera, but in any event, it's
    > irrelevant to my statement: JPEGs do not have inherently more dynamic
    > range than the RAW from which it's processed.


    Of course not, but on its own, JPEG has the greater dynamic range. See my
    earlier post for the numbers.

    David
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2008
    #6
  7. Shon Kei Picture company wrote:
    []
    > Where David is (seemingly) unable to elaborate on his statement is
    > when you and the idiot from the frozen wastes of Canada jumped in and
    > try to discredit him with twisted bullshit about what you perceive
    > the dynamic range to be.


    I have given the numbers which justify my statement in a posting this
    morning.

    > Well here's some information for you two, that I suspect neither of
    > you would prefer to read.
    >
    > The Dynamic range of a camera is that point at which detail in
    > highlights and shadows in a correctly exposed image cease - *not* an
    > image tampered with in Photoshop.

    []

    The part of the definition which is critical here is "cease". What do we
    mean by "cease", and is there a standard definition? With a typical
    digital camera, in the raw file, once the maximum value is exceeded,
    that's it. No more dynamic range. With film, it's a gradual compression,
    so what percent contrast or whatever is used? Again, with digital, what
    contrast is used at the low end? Should we call the toe of the dynamic
    range where a 20% contrast can still be perceived (i.e. relative light
    values of 100 and 120 produce distinct levels in the RAW file)?

    Is there anything from film photography which can be carried across
    meaningfully to digital to help in a more useful dynamic range definition?

    David
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2008
    #7
  8. ray

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Mon, 01 Sep 2008 05:42:50 GMT, "David J Taylor"
    <-this-bit.nor-this-part.co.uk> wrote:
    : John McWilliams wrote:
    : []
    : > I am not familiar with either camera, but in any event, it's
    : > irrelevant to my statement: JPEGs do not have inherently more dynamic
    : > range than the RAW from which it's processed.
    :
    : Of course not, but on its own, JPEG has the greater dynamic range. See my
    : earlier post for the numbers.

    But no camera currently in production captures more information for its JPEGs
    than for its RAW images, right? So what practical difference does JPEG's
    theoretically greater dynamic range make?

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Sep 1, 2008
    #8
  9. ray

    ray Guest

    On Mon, 01 Sep 2008 05:40:18 +0000, David J Taylor wrote:

    > Alan Browne wrote:
    > []
    >> JPG's 8 bits/color is compressed DR, not more DR. The 'loss' is in
    >> graduation 'tween colors. JPG cannot contain an expression of more
    >> information than the original raw, compressed or otherwise.
    >>
    >> The key point is that in-camera JPG leaves you with much less in terms
    >> of options than post-processed raw.

    >
    > With an 8-bit linear coding, the ratio between maximum and minimum
    > signal level is 255:1.
    >
    > The typical RAW data is 12-bit or 14-1bit, having a ratio of max/min of
    > 4095:1 or 16383:1.
    >
    > With JPEG, taking 2.2 as the typical gamma correction, the ratio is
    > 255^2.2:1, or about 200,000:1.
    >
    > Agreed that JPEG compromises on the accuracy with which any particular
    > brightness can be represented, but the range of values which can be
    > represented is greater with JPEG than RAW.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > David


    Since, as I understand it, a RAW file is basically a dump of the sensor
    data, you can't do any better than that. Theoretical limitations are one
    thing - practical applications are another.
    ray, Sep 1, 2008
    #9
  10. Robert Coe wrote:
    > On Mon, 01 Sep 2008 05:42:50 GMT, "David J Taylor"
    > <-this-bit.nor-this-part.co.uk> wrote:
    >> John McWilliams wrote:
    >> []
    >>> I am not familiar with either camera, but in any event, it's
    >>> irrelevant to my statement: JPEGs do not have inherently more
    >>> dynamic range than the RAW from which it's processed.

    >>
    >> Of course not, but on its own, JPEG has the greater dynamic range.
    >> See my earlier post for the numbers.

    >
    > But no camera currently in production captures more information for
    > its JPEGs than for its RAW images, right? So what practical
    > difference does JPEG's theoretically greater dynamic range make?
    >
    > Bob


    Well, if you recall, someone stated, and I paraphrase, that "JPEGs are
    8-bit but RAW is 12-bit", and it's that blunt statement which does not
    tell the whole story.

    David
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2008
    #10
  11. ray wrote:
    []
    > Since, as I understand it, a RAW file is basically a dump of the
    > sensor data, you can't do any better than that. Theoretical
    > limitations are one thing - practical applications are another.


    However, the simple statement that "RAW is 12-bit and JPEG is 8-bit, so
    JPEG can't have the same dynamic range" is incorrect, and that's what the
    maths showed.

    David
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2008
    #11
  12. John McWilliams wrote:
    > David J Taylor wrote:
    >> ray wrote:
    >> []
    >>> Since, as I understand it, a RAW file is basically a dump of the
    >>> sensor data, you can't do any better than that. Theoretical
    >>> limitations are one thing - practical applications are another.

    >>
    >> However, the simple statement that "RAW is 12-bit and JPEG is 8-bit,
    >> so JPEG can't have the same dynamic range" is incorrect, and that's
    >> what the maths showed.

    >
    >
    > I certainly never said nor implied the above! What I said was:
    >
    > The dynamic range of a JPEG cannot be greater than the RAW file from
    > which it's produced, unless it's a matter of poor processing of said
    > RAW.


    John,

    I agree.

    It was "ray" who said: "If you shoot jpeg, you have 8 bits of dynamic
    range (in each RGB component) - that's it - because that's all the
    camera's jpeg format will support. If you shoot raw you'll have 12 bits or
    more."

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2008
    #12
  13. ray

    ray Guest

    On Mon, 01 Sep 2008 18:26:31 +0000, David J Taylor wrote:

    > John McWilliams wrote:
    >> David J Taylor wrote:
    >>> ray wrote:
    >>> []
    >>>> Since, as I understand it, a RAW file is basically a dump of the
    >>>> sensor data, you can't do any better than that. Theoretical
    >>>> limitations are one thing - practical applications are another.
    >>>
    >>> However, the simple statement that "RAW is 12-bit and JPEG is 8-bit,
    >>> so JPEG can't have the same dynamic range" is incorrect, and that's
    >>> what the maths showed.

    >>
    >>
    >> I certainly never said nor implied the above! What I said was:
    >>
    >> The dynamic range of a JPEG cannot be greater than the RAW file from
    >> which it's produced, unless it's a matter of poor processing of said
    >> RAW.

    >
    > John,
    >
    > I agree.
    >
    > It was "ray" who said: "If you shoot jpeg, you have 8 bits of dynamic
    > range (in each RGB component) - that's it - because that's all the
    > camera's jpeg format will support. If you shoot raw you'll have 12 bits
    > or more."
    >
    > Cheers,
    > David


    OK, so you've attempted to show why (theoretically) I was wrong. That
    still does not prove that the jpeg has more information than the RAW data
    from which it was derived. Theoretical limitations are one thing -
    practical applications are another.
    ray, Sep 2, 2008
    #13
  14. ray wrote:
    []
    > OK, so you've attempted to show why (theoretically) I was wrong. That
    > still does not prove that the jpeg has more information than the RAW
    > data from which it was derived. Theoretical limitations are one thing
    > - practical applications are another.


    Ray,

    I'm not saying that JPEG has any more information, simply that because of
    the gamma-correction which is typically used in JPEGs the dynamic range of
    the image is not restricted compared to RAW. The precision is less,
    though, and the RAW data will be best for post-processing.

    However, the Fuji F100fd does not offer RAW as a file saving format as far
    as I can see.

    http://www.fujifilm.co.uk/consumer/.../advanced-compact/finepix-f100fd-119591/Specs

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, Sep 2, 2008
    #14
  15. On Mon, 01 Sep 2008 05:40:18 GMT, "David J Taylor"
    <-this-bit.nor-this-part.co.uk> wrote:

    >Alan Browne wrote:
    >[]
    >> JPG's 8 bits/color is compressed DR, not more DR. The 'loss' is in
    >> graduation 'tween colors. JPG cannot contain an expression of more
    >> information than the original raw, compressed or otherwise.
    >>
    >> The key point is that in-camera JPG leaves you with much less in terms
    >> of options than post-processed raw.

    >
    >With an 8-bit linear coding, the ratio between maximum and minimum signal
    >level is 255:1.
    >
    >The typical RAW data is 12-bit or 14-1bit, having a ratio of max/min of
    >4095:1 or 16383:1.
    >
    >With JPEG, taking 2.2 as the typical gamma correction, the ratio is
    >255^2.2:1, or about 200,000:1.


    David, I don't quarrel with your math, but could you help me
    understand the Logic applied here? I accept the 8 bit yielding 255
    levels, and same for 12 bit being 4095 levels and 14 bit being 16383.


    But what is the principle being applied here to raise the JPEG number
    to the exponent of the Gamma? Excuse my ignorance, if that's the
    problem, but seems to me some sort of exponential treatment (Gamma or
    other) might also be applied to the RAW data. Help please.

    Olin McDaniel


    >Agreed that JPEG compromises on the accuracy with which any particular
    >brightness can be represented, but the range of values which can be
    >represented is greater with JPEG than RAW.
    >
    >Cheers,
    >David
    >
    >


    To reply by email, please remove "abcd" from Return address
    -----------------------------------------------------
    "Ignorance is treatable, Stupidity is incurable. Sometimes
    the difference is hardly distinguishable, however."
    Olin K. McDaniel, Sep 8, 2008
    #15
  16. ray

    Eric Stevens Guest

    On Tue, 02 Sep 2008 06:08:23 GMT, "David J Taylor"
    <-this-bit.nor-this-part.co.uk> wrote:

    >ray wrote:
    >[]
    >> OK, so you've attempted to show why (theoretically) I was wrong. That
    >> still does not prove that the jpeg has more information than the RAW
    >> data from which it was derived. Theoretical limitations are one thing
    >> - practical applications are another.

    >
    >Ray,
    >
    >I'm not saying that JPEG has any more information, simply that because of
    >the gamma-correction which is typically used in JPEGs the dynamic range of
    >the image is not restricted compared to RAW. The precision is less,
    >though, and the RAW data will be best for post-processing.
    >
    >However, the Fuji F100fd does not offer RAW as a file saving format as far
    >as I can see.
    >
    > http://www.fujifilm.co.uk/consumer/.../advanced-compact/finepix-f100fd-119591/Specs
    >

    As other people have already pointed out, the real problem is over
    exposure. I have encountered this problem and have dealt with it by
    going to manual settings of the camera and using the histogram feature
    of my display to confirm I was not driving too many pixels up to the
    high end. Once I had that bit sorted out I beneficially used a flash
    for fill-flash, in brilliant day light.



    Eric Stevens
    Eric Stevens, Sep 8, 2008
    #16
  17. writes:

    >>With JPEG, taking 2.2 as the typical gamma correction, the ratio is
    >>255^2.2:1, or about 200,000:1.


    >David, I don't quarrel with your math, but could you help me
    >understand the Logic applied here? I accept the 8 bit yielding 255
    >levels, and same for 12 bit being 4095 levels and 14 bit being 16383.


    >But what is the principle being applied here to raise the JPEG number
    >to the exponent of the Gamma? Excuse my ignorance, if that's the
    >problem, but seems to me some sort of exponential treatment (Gamma or
    >other) might also be applied to the RAW data. Help please.


    The point of RAW is to preserve the unmodified data out of the camera's
    A/D converter. You could apply a non-linear transform to it, but
    (a) if you kept the same number of bits as the A/D, there is no point in
    doing the nonlinear transform
    (b) if you store the result in fewer bits, some codes that are different
    in the A/D output will become the same in the file, so you're losing
    information, which is violating the spirit of raw files.

    On the other hand, the point of JPEG is to store something that is not
    identical to the original, but looks "pretty good", in much less space.
    Thus there is a large incentive to use the power-law encoding, which
    gives an intensity range greater than you can see under ordinary
    conditions with intensity steps too small to see under most conditions,
    assuming that the image is in substantially final form and you aren't
    going to alter its tonal scale significantly.

    RAW is designed to carry all that the camera originally captured, to
    permit as much post-editing as possible - limited only by the physical
    capabilities of the sensor and analog electronics. JPEG is a good
    space-saving "final output" form, as long as most of the necessary
    processing has happened before the conversion to JPEG.

    Dave
    Dave Martindale, Sep 8, 2008
    #17
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