What is the Dynamic Range of Sony A7R?

Liberty House is a beautiful shopping mall in London. An old one selling a lot of different things, but famous for luxury goods. You can almost see it on the building. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com

What is the hype about the Sony A7R? For the last few months I have seriously been considering buying the Sony A7R camera. Why? Because I love the size of the camera. I find the D800 rather bulky, and sometimes I bring my Finepix X100 instead. The Finepix X100 is a great camera, but it is terrible slow, not wide enough and it is not great for HDR photography.

But having read many many reviews of the camera, to be sure it really is the right choice. To my amusement, I have come across many Canon users doing flip flops over the Dynamic Range of the camera.

Having had owned both Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800, I have learned that there are major differences in the two brands, and in particular when it comes to the Dynamic Range. The Nikons are so much better at Dynamic Range, than the Canons cameras. Apparently this is something that many Canon photographers is not really aware of. Canon 5D Mark III (according to www.dxomark.com) has a dynamic range of 11.7 EVS, while the Nikon D800 has got 14.4 EVS. That is 23% more dynamic range coverage. That is a lot! I

have covered this in detail in my comparison review of Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D600 and Nikon D800.

The switch from Canon to Nikon really is tough. Not only because it is really expensive to switch, because you have bought a lot of lenses. But Canon and Nikon also are rivals and it’s a religious thing, to be either a Canon or a Nikon guy. You do not go to the enemy!

But Sony has hit a sweet spot. They have crammed a similar sensor to that of the Nikon D800E into a very small body, and the camera delivers the quality. And attaching an adapter to the camera, you can use both Nikon and Canon lenses. Nikon only manual focus though.

Of course both Canon and Nikon photographers loves this little camera. But, the Canon photographers really goes “Wooohooohaahaaaay!” and gets a good surprise, when they realize what 14.4 EVS in Dynamic range truly means. The Nikon guys, they are used to this.

Dynamic range explained

What is the Dynamic Range? Well, it is how much light the sensor inside the camera can capture. What is too bright to capture for the sensor, will just be white. And what is too dark will just be black.

The better a sensor is, the more light it can capture. You measure the dynamic range in “exposure value steps”. One step is equivalent of doubling the shutter speed or cutting it in half.

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