Stop Bragging About Megapixels: Dynamic Range Is More Important for Great Image Quality (VIDEO)

Photographers and camera manufacturers do a lot of boasting these days about the high pixel count of their new DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. But how often have you heard anyone wax rhapsodic about the awesome dynamic range of a camera? Chances are, not very often.

Don’t get us wrong: Megapixels ARE important, especially for situations in which you want to shoot a scene loosely, do some creative cropping, and still end up with a relatively large file. In fact, ultra-high resolution cameras even let you crop a horizontal image out of a vertical original, with plenty of megapixels to spare.

In the video below, however, you’ll see why accomplished photographer Manny Ortiz says, “Dynamic range is more important and valuable to me as a photographer than megapixels.” And before you accuse Ortiz of being just another “pixel basher,” you should know that his camera of choice is the 42MP full-frame Sony A7R II.

Ortiz says, “I love owning a high resolution camera,” for some of the reasons stated above. But his infatuation with the Sony A7R II is all about the impressive dynamic range the camera delivers. Or, in other words, the amount of detail it is able to retain in both the highlights and shadows of an image.

The video begins with some photos Ortiz shot with the A7R II, and then he explains exactly why dynamic range is his most important criterion when choosing a camera. Be sure to look at the story we posted yesterday, with another pro’s take on why dynamic range beats pixel count for his type of photography,

Steve Fretz's picture

As someone who mostly shoots landscapes at night, could not agree more.

BTW, it's claimed that Portra 400 has 18 stops of dynamic range. (I'm getting the test rolls from my new (to me) Fuji GX680 back from the lab this afternoon)