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