Big Ben's Panorama Tutorials

Dynamic Range

Contributing Factors

How you acquire your image will affect the resulting dynamic range of your image.  Several people have posted methods of acquiring and combining images from their digital cameras to increase the dynamic range but the options are generally quite limited. below are some of the factors which should be taken into consideration when trying to squeeze the maximum dynamic range out of your camera.

Digital Cameras

  • ISO
  • Image format acquired (RAW, TIFF, JPEG)
  • Pre-processing (especially sharpening)

The higher figures quoted for the dynamic range of a specific model are usually acquired with the lowest ISO, at the highest bit depth as a raw image with no pre-processing.  Any changes to these criteria will create an immediate reduction in dynamic range.

Film scanning

  • Choice of film
  • Processing variations (choice of lab, pull processing, chemical changes to developer)
  • Dynamic range of scanner
  • Bit depth used to acquire the image
  • Colour management software
  • Pre-processing
  • Exposure variation in scanner

As with digital cameras, the best results are usually obtained with the lower ISO ratings, scanned at the highest bit depth with as little pre-processing as possible. Colour management software can have a significant impact on dynamic range although as you start to push the limits of dynamic range the colour accuracy starts to deteriorate.  Nevertheless there are circumstances where the widest possible gamut can be used successfully to substantially increase the dynamic range of an image.


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This page, its contents and style, are the responsibility of the author and do not represent the views, policies or opinions of The University of Melbourne. All photographs Ben Kreunen 2000

Ben Kreunen <>
Department of Pathology
Last modified: February 24, 2003