I have the same issue with that as I do with DXO claiming the D800 has a sensor capable of capturing 14.4 stops. It's misleading and false.
DXO do not claim that the D800 sensor has 14.4 stops of dynamic range. They claim that the sensor has a range of 13.2 stops at full resolution. The 14.3 stop DR is the result of downsampling to 8 megapixels. You need to read the actual measurement graphs and understand them and the methodology that they use (and why they do this). No one has given any evidence to suggest that the DXO figures are substantially incorrect.
I have read it, and actually I couldn't agree more with what you said. The sensor is capable of 13.2 stops
of dynamic range, which is an argument I repeatedly make, which is repeatedly me with photos like the ones above. The reason I have a problem with DXO is the 14.4 stop figure is repeated all over the net as an intrinsic ability of the D800, when its really a capability of software (and not necessarily the software most photographers use to scale their images.) As I said...misleading.
I also totally agree that more DR is GOOD. It's actually GREAT, and I can't wait until low read noise, high SNR, and wide ISO latitude are standard fanfare across all brands. But it's not grounds to post photos all over the net that make the cameras from other manufacturers such as Canon look like they came out of the 1990's, simply as a means of arguing up your favored brand. The difference, while important, isn't that big, and non-Exmor cameras are certainly capable of a hell of a lot more than these inane photos that show horrid read noise right up into the highlights from Canon cameras.
It makes the more foolish, unobservant and reactive on the net make rash decisions, such as sell their entire kit(usually at considerable loss) and jump brands (usually at greater cost), when their previous kit was perfectly fine
, it just lacks a bit of extra latitude exposure latitude (and not nearly
as much as some would have those poor fools think.) There ARE a few reasons to either switch, or add Nikon to your kit. The primary one would be for serious landscape photographers who regularly photograph scenes with extensive DR, and would prefer not to resort to HDR/Fusion techniques. I think many street photographers might find additional DR a handy thing as well.
But the majority of people need to understand that the sample comparisons between various Canon cameras and the D800 are EXPLICITLY performing unrealistic tests, aimed at underexposing photos (sometimes by many, many stops) in order to put Canon cameras in an exceptionally BAD light...the light of pushing shadows from the bottom two stops of DR...something we need rather infrequently in real life (as would be evidenced by the bazillion photos taken with Canon cameras that never exhibit any amount of noise anywhere remotely close to the likes of the photos posted by Sarangiman and Mikael).
To the argument that you *have* to underexpose to preserve highlights. While this is a bit of an extreme example, I think it demonstrates that the argument for underexposing considerably to preserve highlights, as in the examples posted by Sarangiman and Mikael, is a fallacy (or some kind of farce):Intended Exposure: 1/800s f/7.1 @ ISO 100 | Actual Exposure: 1/100s f/5.6 @ ISO 100
When I first saw the photo above (taken with my Canon 7D), I thought it was a total goner. As far as I could tell, not only had I blown the highlights, but the entire shot except for a few parts of the dragonfly itself. To my own amazement, The entire photo was recoverable, and only a few bits of specular highlight were actually "blown". A fact that did not diminish the final results by any means. I was able to fully recover those pixels that appeared to be pure white (which, on closer inspection, are packed into the levels just below pure white). Since the image was so over-exposed (by nearly four stops
), the shadows are nearly noiseless, lacking any amount of artifacts from read noise:
I can't speak much to Nikon cameras, as I don't use them much. However when it comes to Canon cameras, they offer quite a bit of exposure latitude in the highlights. While the example above is extreme (much like the examples of D800 shadow recovery), the point is you can use the exposure latitude available to you in a Canon camera to get FAR better results than indicated Sarangiman, Mikael and a whole host of other people producing similar types of comparisons around the net.