To a certain extent photography as an art form is defined by its limitations.
I like the spirit of this observation. Knowing that the average shmoe isn't going to bracket/blend a high dynamic range scene means there's still something special when one does it, and does it well.
Thankfully, the soul of a photograph is its composition, lighting, feel -- things that technology will likely never replace...
While digesting all these pages of discussion on dynamic range, I've decided to share my own two cents (if even worth that much):
I recently returned from a short family vacation to Arches National Park. Being a vacation first and photo-op second, I wasn't able to be at Landscape Arch for the light I wanted, but since I was there, I still wanted to get some decent photos with my 70D.
The sky was mostly full of heavy black rain clouds and some sprinkling, but there was a hole in those clouds nearly over the sun, so despite the cloud cover, it was bright -- right behind the arch. I quickly set my camera to a three-shot bracket and fired away, planning to blend them in post. I used the same strategy the night before as the sun set behind us up at Delicate Arch.
Back home with the RAW files in Lightroom, I started to do a little touching-up of the three shots before blending them, starting with the under-exposed shot first. Just for the hay of it, I decided to fiddle with the file as if I didn't have two other exposures to blend. The result? I actually skipped the other two exposures! Sure I might go ahead and take the time to blend them to see if I can get a better result, but I was amazed at what I was able to pull out of the one dark file with only modest noise reduction (Luminance NR at 26).
Here's a before and after (keep in mind I'm not a pro -- just a family guy with a 70D):Landscape Arch Before-And-After (from underexposed file of three-shot bracket)
Anyway, for this non-pro, I was pleasantly surprised with what I could do, even if Canon is "behind" in dynamic range, latitude, whatever... Had I only shot JPEG, yeah, it would have been a throw-away, but isn't this why we shoot RAW to begin with?
PS: What looks like a halo along the top of the arch is some chromatic aberration (nearly silhouetted arch against bright clouds) "removed" by Lightroom. The color is gone, but I'm not sure how to eliminate the halo effect without resorting to some tedious Photoshopping.