Dynamic range extender
YOUR CAMERA’S DYNAMIC range is a measure of the difference between the maximum and minimum light intensities that can be saved to a single file. In other words, it’s the camera’s ability to record information in both very dark shadows and very bright highlights in the same shot. Even on the best cameras, this makes capturing very high contrast scenes a real problem.
HDR photography, which we look at in more detail in Tip 3, is usually the go-to solution, but there’s a much quicker and lesser-known way to give your images a more balanced exposure. On a Canon, it’s called the Auto Lighting Optimiser, and on a Nikon, Active D Lighting. Both work by restoring detail in extreme shadows and highlights. The effect, which can be used for any high-contrast scene, including backlit portraits and landscapes at sunset, is very similar to using the Shadows and Highlights sliders in the Adobe Camera Raw window.
On both Canon and Nikon systems, there are several strength levels to choose from, allowing you to tailor the function to different scenes, and on Canons you can disable the function for manual and bulb modes. As dynamic range extension involves in-camera processing, it can only be applied to JPEGs and not RAWs. This makes it better suited for shoots where you don’t have the time or facilities to process RAW files on a PC.
Above A dynamic range extension function for JPEGs, which is found on all Canon and Nikon models, helps produce images with a more balanced overall exposure.
TURNED OFF Above The dynamic range extension function controls shadows and highlights on very high-contrast scenes, like this image of a deer standing in the shade against strong sunlight.
Above You can easily switch on the dynamic range extension function in your camera’s main shooting menu.