Jump to content


Photo

Typical Dynamic Range


  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Anna Uio

Anna Uio
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 17 January 2009 - 02:56 PM

Hi all,

I often see dynamic range values thrown around in discussion, and I wonder what's standard. What is a typical dynamic range for film? What is the highest dynamic range for film? What's typical prosumer camera have? What about a typical consumer level camera?

Just trying to get the big picture here :)

Cheers,
Anna
  • 0

#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 17 January 2009 - 06:48 PM

Trouble is that there is the measurable range and then there's the practical range. Measurable range includes information buried in noise or grain, usually detail that drops away once you get the blacks nice and rich and the whites nice and clean.

Practical range is much smaller, tends to be the range you can can count on getting usable detail for color-correction... and the range is narrowed even further when you factor in the contrast of the display system you've chosen.

So color negative film has a measurable dynamic range of some 14+ stops, maybe even 15-stops, the highest end digital cine cameras like the F23 has something close to 12-stops measured, maybe the Genesis as well, the RED ONE measures to something like 11-stops, the F-900 around 10 or 11-stops, and most consumer cameras more in the 9-stop range.

But the practical range is narrower, I'd knock at least a stop off either end of those ranges I mentioned.
  • 0

#3 James Martin

James Martin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 227 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:23 PM

My personal experience with the lower-end of things (HDV) has led me to believe they've maybe 5 or 6 stops (that's what I call 5 or 6 stops... not what a chart tells me). I've also heard it on good authority that negative film has an inherent range of 7 stops - three over, three under. My experiments with stills 35mm have more-or-less shown this to be true with, as expected, extra room if you're willing to take more noise/grain.

How motion picture stocks stack up against that, I don't know, although I believe they "cheat" somewhat by including slow/medium/fast emulsions for each colour... perhaps Lord Mullen could shine some light on this? :D
  • 0

#4 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 17 January 2009 - 07:49 PM

Practical experience generally tells me that something has to be about five-stops over to go white or five under to go black on color negative film, so I consider that a workable 10-stop range, maybe 11-stops -- there is some detail beyond that range of course. With digital cameras, generally things start to burn-out even just three stops under, if not less, but the low end range is about the same as film. On color negative film, a caucasian face that is accidentally overexposed by three-stops is still correctable, but with most digital cameras, there is too much highlight detail lost with that much overexposure to be correctable back to normal.
  • 0

#5 Salil Sundresh

Salil Sundresh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 99 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:02 AM

Trouble is that there is the measurable range and then there's the practical range. Measurable range includes information buried in noise or grain, usually detail that drops away once you get the blacks nice and rich and the whites nice and clean.

Practical range is much smaller, tends to be the range you can can count on getting usable detail for color-correction... and the range is narrowed even further when you factor in the contrast of the display system you've chosen.

So color negative film has a measurable dynamic range of some 14+ stops, maybe even 15-stops, the highest end digital cine cameras like the F23 has something close to 12-stops measured, maybe the Genesis as well, the RED ONE measures to something like 11-stops, the F-900 around 10 or 11-stops, and most consumer cameras more in the 9-stop range.

But the practical range is narrower, I'd knock at least a stop off either end of those ranges I mentioned.

Kodak claims film has 20 stops of dynamic range? Does anyone have any idea how this could be true? Isn't the human eye only like 18 stops? If we could shoot on stocks with 20 stops of dynamic range, that would mean big roles of ND would be obsolete in many cases...yet it still seems like this stuff is used quite a bit. Is this 20 stop dynamic range only for some super expensive imax stock or...?
Click the 10 fast facts link, fact #3
http://motion.kodak....on_16/index.htm

Edited by Salil Sundresh, 20 January 2009 - 01:06 AM.

  • 0

#6 James Martin

James Martin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 227 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:15 AM

I believe larger format film, black and white, processed in some strange way and with some very generous definitions of "acceptable noise" COULD theoretically give film 20 stops.

However, even die-hard film lovers that I know call that something of marketing BS on Kodak's part.
  • 0


Abel Cine

The Slider

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Tai Audio

Opal

Willys Widgets

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Glidecam

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

The Slider

Tai Audio

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Opal

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks