“Please keep in mind that HDR is totally different than SDR. This starts with light setups for your scenes and it ends with differences in color grading, especially in color space, gamma and bit depth, to name just a few. Additionally it’s important to know that you should use at least 10-bit and log footage. In other words, footage with a dynamic range with at least 13 stops – otherwise your result can look terrible”. – Tim Yemmax, Colorist, DaVinci Resolve trainer
Nearly a decade ago, after testing a camera that to this day still has its admirers, a prominent website declared that it had the worst dynamic range of any camera they’d ever tested. That was Cinema5D doing a lab test back in 2014 of the NX1, an APS-C sensor camera manufactured by Samsung. Even then, before HDR had become a household word, 10.1 stops of dynamic range was considered seriously inadequate, even by outdated standard dynamic range metrics, for a super35 sensor. Deficient even for the paltry six stops of dynamic range of rec.709! Today, we’ve got a full frame sensor in the year 2022 whose 8K measures a miserable 10.4 stops of dynamic range, which is altogether insufficient for HDR and once again, happens to be one of the lowest figures ever measured by the same website – and among the worst of any full frame sensor camera, full stop. 11.5 to 12 stops of dynamic range is commonplace in mirrorless cameras, and even the micro four thirds BGH1 boasts 11.6 stops. If HDR is your passion, you already understand how important each stop of dynamic range is. If not, have a look at the many side-by-side comparisons of prosumer mirrorless bodies or entry level cinema cameras to the heavy hitters like Arri online. Watch a few shows on Netflix shot with the Venice and Alexa, then decide how much you are willing to spend – whether it’s $2,500 or $7,000, whatever – and which features you can and can’t live without.