Dynamic range, the total usable range of dark to light, is generally a strength of medium format, with the Mamiya DL28 specifying 12-stops, a more or less state-of the art ability (12.5 stops seems to be the limit with the newest PhaseOne digital backs).
Testing dynamic range on a test wedge isn’t very interesting, or even realistic; sensors don’t necessarily perform the same everywhere on the chip; real images tell a much more interesting story, and for this an extremely demanding scene was chosen, almost unreasonably demanding—it’s a scene that calls out for HDR (high dynamic range) processing.
Default Processing examples
First, let’s take a look at the original image (1/2 sec @ f/11, ISO 50) processed three ways: Aptus-II 6 Product, Aptus-II 6 Open, and Aptus-II 6 Open @ -0.5 contrast. It’s obviously a very difficult image to work with, and even the naked eye found the contrast quite extreme.
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Curve = Aptus II-6 Product