Rumours are swirling over on SonyAlphaRumours that the much-hyped Nikon D850 has struggled in dynamic range tests compared to the high-vaunted, but slightly aging Sony A7r II. Estimations created by William Claff Photons to Photos show a surprising difference between the dynamic range in the newly announced Nikon D850 and the older Sony A7r II with the Sony coming out slightly, but noticably on top.
The Sony A7r II, announced in 2015, remains popular amongst mirrorless camera users. Though there aren't enough Nikon D850 reviews for us to come to solid conclusions, the graph above says a lot about the power of the A7r II.
Don't worry if the graph looks like an indecipherable language to you. All it's showing is that the Sony A7r II has a “better” dynamic range than the D850, which leads to the question…
What Is Dynamic Range?
Dynamic range refers to the wideness of the range of tones captured in-camera . A wide dynamic range is highly valued by many photographers. The ability to evenly capture various tones, similar to what the eye can see, is what makes a wide dynamic range so valuable. Thus, the higher a camera's dynamic range, the better.
Dynamic range is often associated with HDR photography (short for High Dynamic Range). As you can see in the photo below, HDR photos are sharp and seemingly well-exposed photographs, usually of landscapes and nature. HDR photos attempt to replicate what the human eye naturally sees. In short, they combine as many values as possible to create a sharp, even-looking image. (If you'd like to find out more about HDR photography, check out this article.)