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What is dynamic range?

Found in: Photography

The dynamic range of a camera is the ratio between the brightest and the darkest part of the specimen that the camera is capable of capturing.

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Cameras should have a high dynamic range in order to capture details in both bright and dark areas. Cameras with a low dynamic range will produce images that do not show much detail in the bright and in the dark areas. Everything brighter than a critical level will simply be shown as white. This is problematic with certain specimens that have both bright and dark areas. Whole mounts of insects will often have very bright and very dark parts which will not be reproduced realistically.

The best results are produced with single lens reflex (SLR) cameras, as they frequently have a high dynamic range. Cheaper microscope cameras might show some problems with difficult specimens, but the high cost of an SLR camera and appropriate adapter might not always justify its use.

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