If your eyes were cameras, what would the specs be?

If your eyes were cameras, what would the specs be?
(Image credit: Corridor Crew)

When someone says high-end cameras, many of us may think of medium format monsters, such as the Fujifilm GFX 100. Alternatively cine cameras from brands such as RED or ARRI may also come to mind. However, you might be surprised to learn that your eyes can outperform the best cameras currently on the market. 

In a recent video from YouTube channel Corridor Crew, they discuss the theoretical specifications that the human eye could have, including how many 'megapixels' the eye would have and what 'aperture' it would use. 

• Read more: Best medium format camera

Many photographers often wonder what the resolution of the human eye is. The answer is somewhat complicated, but Corridor Crew equated it to a 130MP camera. That kind of resolution is only really found in exotic cameras such as the Phase One XF IQ4

Oddly enough, resolution isn't actually one of the human eye's strong points. Areas such as dynamic range and low light performance are where our eyes truly shine. Currently, the best cameras on the market have a dynamic range of around 15 stops on average. However, the human eye can perceive a whopping 21 stops of dynamic range. In essence, our eyes are able to pick up details in deep shadow, as well as significantly brighter areas from any given scene, simultaneously. 

Low light performance is another area where the human eye performs particularly well. For example, in extremely low light scenarios, our eyes may sacrifice how they perceive color, in order to maximize their light gathering abilities. This is what helps our eyes see even in the most extreme conditions, where many cameras would struggle. 

Seeing how our eyes compare against modern camera technology is admittedly pretty fascinating.  We may reach a point soon when regular production camera sensors are able to outperform the human eye, especially when it comes to low light performance and dynamic range. Until then, we still have some things we can lord even the most expensive bits of camera gear. 

Read more:

The 12 highest resolution cameras you can buy today
iPhone 12 Pro to get more dynamic range than the Canon EOS R5!
The best camera under £500 in 2020
400MP images arrive on Fujifilm GFX 100

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Usman Dawood

Usman is a commercial and architectural photographer based in West Yorkshire, who has been working professionally for over seven years. He has also spent over four years as a writer for the biggest photography sites in the world, including Staff Writer for Digital Camera World, senior staff writer for FStoppers, and tech writer for Petapixel. 

With a particular interest in technology developments, high-resolution imaging and the high-end cameras, Usman has been on the cutting edge of camera news as well as writing features about medium format systems and global shutters, and has reviewed some of the latest Leica cameras as well as a tripod that’s even taller than Andre the Giant!