on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Exposure Blending

Techniques for merging multiple exposures

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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One of our accepted goals as photographers is to ensure that our final ‘product’ is correctly exposed (we’ll come back to what ‘correctly exposed’ actually means later).

Digital cameras can supposedly record 13 stops of dynamic range but real world tests show that although it’s possibly to detect differences at the 10th, 11th and 12th stops, they are swamped by noise. The real dynamic range of a good DSLR is about 8 or 9 stops. To put the that 8 stops into perspective, just picture the histogram on the back of your camera. The 8th and 9th stops are represented by the last single pixel width line on the left hand side of the histogram. In order to get good quality images, it is best to get the exposure within 8 stops. This is still better than slide film which manages about 6 stops although a way to go before it gets to print films nearly 10+ stops of usable dynamic range.

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