Testing is one thing, but what about in the field...do the noise qualities in the darks actually matter in real world images? Here we explore the Nikon D3x and the Canon 5D Mark II performance.
This image below places extreme demands on a camera, far beyond the contrast range of slide film, and a serious challenge for digital. In the same image, we have a very wide dynamic range requirement, but at the same time, flat and murky foreground lighting, which poses a serious challenge for resolving detail and color. While the distant ocean changed lighting and moving clouds/fog, the foreground did not change in any significant way.
Both cameras at first glance appear to have handled the exposure within their dynamic range ability, except that one of them really hasn’t, once we probe the dark areas: the only way such an image could make a viable print.
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Ocean view as shot (D3x), exposing for highlights