Cinema Camera Dynamic Range List

Cinema Camera Dynamic Range List

Which cinema camera has the best dynamic range? Here's a complete list of all cinema cameras and their listed sensor latitude.

One of the things that make more expensive cinema cameras stand out from consumer cameras is their ability to capture moving images with a wide dynamic range.

Dynamic Range List

Below you'll find a complete list of cinema cameras and their respective dynamic range as measured in stops.

Camera Stops
RED Weapon Monstro 8K VV 17
Panavision Millennium DXL2 16
RED Epic-W Gemini 15.2
Canon EOS C300 Mark 2 15
Canon EOS C700 15
Canon EOS C700 FF 15
Sony CineAlta Venice 15
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 15
ARRI Alexa 14.5
ARRI Alexa XT Plus 14.5
Panavision Millennium DXL 14
Canon EOS C700 GS PL 14
Sony PMW-F55 14
Digital Bolex D16 Monochrome 13
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K 13
Digital Bolex D16 12
Canon EOS C100 12
Canon EOS C100 Mark 2 12
Canon EOS C300 12
Canon EOS C500 12
ARRI D-20 11
ARRI D-21 11
Panavision Genesis 8

Please note that all of these numbers are the manufacturer's communicated numbers, which means they are probably measured under controlled conditions and not in real-life scenarios. Nevertheless, it gives us a good sense of each sensor's actual latitude.

List Last Updated: April 24, 2020.

What is Dynamic Range?

When people talk about dynamic range, they're talking about the difference between the darkest and brightest areas in the image captured by the sensor, which is measured in stops.

An increase or decrease of one stop equals the amount of light doubling or halving. This is the same thing as raising your ISO from 400 to 800, or by opening your lens' aperture from 2.8 to 2 — there's a difference of 1 stop, and your light has doubled.

This means that a captured image with a dynamic range of 15 stops has twice as much information as an image of 14 stops.

Yes, that's right. Twice as much.

This does not, however, mean that the image is twice as bright; it just contains more information. This phenomenon can be read in the table below.

Light Stops
1 0
2 1
4 2
8 3
16 4
32 5
64 6
128 7
256 8
512 9
1024 10
2048 11
4096 12
8192 13
16384 14
32768 15
65536 16

This means that a camera with 10 stops of dynamic range can store an image where the black and white points are 1024 hypothetical "values" apart.

These numbers by themself represent nothing, instead the importance is the difference between the dynamic range capabilities of each sensor.

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K can capture 8192 ”values" of light, whereas it's big brother Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 is able to crush it by capturing 4 times as much.

Again, this does not mean that the images are brighter. It means that more information is stored in the image, like the highlights of the sky or the shades of your talent's skin.

When you read about the specifications of the cameras, it doesn't sound like 15 stops of dynamic range is that much more than 13 stops — when in reality it's not even a competition.

How much do I need?

The question is not how much you "need", since good looking feature films such as Dejavu have been shot on a camera with less than 10 stops of dynamic range; the Panavision Genesis.

What does matter, though, is that you make the most of the stops that you actually do have — and learn to light and compose your shot in a way that favors the abilities of whatever camera you have at your disposal.