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Think megapixel mania is nonsense? DxO Labs begs to differ. Here's a very detailed look at the French lab and the science of camera testing, which I found out about while watching it put the Canon 5D Mark III through its paces. Check the story for some views that fly in the face of the digital photography conventional wisdom.

Also, a photo gallery of DxO Labs' actual lab:

And the Canon 5D Mark III's underwhelming sensor test score of 81:
CNET's Stephen Shankland went behind the scenes near Paris to see DxO put the highly anticipated EOS 5D Mark III through its paces. It's a rare look at one of the world's preeminent camera testers. Re...
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Personally, I'm not so concerned about whether digital cameras' dynamic range is better than film's. There's no way I'm going back to film, and digital is good enough. What I'm paying more attention to is how fast digital image sensors will get better. They will, as Nikon's SLRs are showing, but not fast enough for my tastes. HDR is all well and good but not the right answer for me.
I think it's safe to say that the DR of a quality digital sensor today easily beats out the latitude of any E-6 film or Kodachrome, and certainly has more range than a print. And while I'm also hoping for continued improvement of digital image sensors - and I'm a bit disappointed to hear about the 5D3 test results - I'm confident that the vast majority of the best photos ever made, where taken with equipment that, despite its charms and characteristics, was far from perfect and would not receive a 5-star review!

I wonder if digital photography will ever have its own Ansel Adams - a consummate craftsman who can so clearly and systematically communicate the inner mechanics of controlling the medium to others without forgoing depth and detail. The Zone System was an elegant method of relating scene brightness range to the photo-chemical properties of photographic film and paper, the essence of which was in taking the vast range of brightness of what we see and massaging it to fit into a medium that can only handle a sliver of that range. Indeed, one of the powers of photography stems from this limited range. -- I can get pretty philosophical about all this....
+Mark Gillespie One comment: There's this recurring theme in digital photography these days: the pixel peepers and spec freaks should shut up and shoot, and it's the photographer that makes a good photo, not the camera. Fair points, I think, but overdone, because in my experience, you really can take a better picture with a better camera.

A good photographer can extract a lot from a crappy camera (especially with nice light), and a good camera won't necessarily help a lousy photographer, but there's an ocean of situations in between when autofocus, good metering, low-light performance, and other factors are important.

Another comment: DxO's film vs. digital paper compared a print of the film, but under extremely careful drum-scanned conditions (at multiple exposures if memory serves) since reflections reduce the dynamic range of prints in practice. Suffice it to say that prints in the real world rarely match the idea.

A last comment: Who the heck is going to go back to film just because it may have a DR edge in some situations? Not me. I consider this particular point mostly academic.
I totally agree. I'm looking forward to what ever replaces my current digital cameras that i'm actually currently quite happy with! And I'll admit I envy some of the specs on the D800. I think most photographers find themselves wedged pretty tightly between art and technology - a situation which fuels such debates. I remember the "aesthetics v tech" debts in photo school when TMax threatened Tri-X.

I've noticed a bit of a resurgence in film, but it has nothing to do with DR, that's for sure. It's mostly with Polaroid - so I guess immediacy is not going out of style!

I need to make some time to dig deeper into the DxO site. Any recommended links there?
+Mark Gillespie You sure that's Polaroid you're seeing, not Instagram retro shots? :)

Actually, I think the immediacy of mobile phone photography, via Instagram or other services, is one reason that point-and-shoot cameras are under serious threat.

Can't you just borrow your wife's D800?
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