Exercise: Your camera’s dynamic range

Find a scene with a distinctly high dynamic range such as sunlight, an area of brightly reflecting surface and an area of deep shadow with a dark surface.

Take a large piece of white card or paper and place it near the door in bright sunlight. For this exercise I chose to use the back of a house as it got the sun more than the front, I opened the back door showing the shadows inside and I placed the white card next to the open door.

I kept the ISO at the lowest of 100 and made sure that I had highlight clipping turned on so that the exposure was correct. In order to measure the brightness of the areas, I set the metering mode to spot and focused in on the area that I wanted to measure. I don’t currently have a light meter but am looking to get one and wonder what measurements that would give me compared to the camera.

On the wider image, it was ISO 100, an aperture of f4 as I was in aperture priority mode and 1/80s for the exposure.

Within the bright area of the white card, the exposure was 1/400s which is what I’d expect from a much brighter and reflective surface. In the darker areas of inside the doorway, the exposure dropped to 1/60s, which isn’t as slow as I’d expected it to be

Image as it was taken

Dynamic range1


Image showing where dark and light tones were measured

dr diagram


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