Dynamic Range: what you need to know about capturing all the tones in a scene

Dynamic Range: what you need to know about capturing all the tones in a scene

How to measure the dynamic range

 

To get the right exposure, you need to know the brightness range you’re dealing with. Here’s how to do it.

How to measure dynamic range: step 1

Switch to manual
In M mode you can note down the exposure readings and choose how you interpet them, rather than relying on the camera’s ideas about correct exposure.

 

How to measure dynamic range: step 2

Choose an aperture
If you select a specific aperture, you only need to change one variable – the shutter speed – to work out the best exposure. Let’s go for f/8.

 

How to measure dynamic range: step 3

Swap to spot
Now select the spot metering mode. This takes an exposure reading from a small area around the selected focus point only – so switch to single-point AF mode.

 

How to measure dynamic range: step 4Measure the brightest area
Position the AF point over the brightest area (but not the sun) and adjust shutter speed to centre the exposure bar, here it’s 1/500sec.

 

How to measure dynamic range: step 5Measure the darkest area
Now do the same for the darkest area of the picture and, again, make a note of the shutter speed – this time it’s 1/30sec.

 

How to measure dynamic range: step 6Check them on the chart
If the two readings are no more than 4EV apart (check the table opposite), choose a shutter speed right in the middle – 1/125sec.

PAGE 1: Checking key areas of your picture
PAGE 2: High Dynamic Range techniques
PAGE 3: Scenes that cause problems for dynamic range
PAGE 4: How to measure dynamic range

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