Human Eye vs Camera

Have you ever stood in front of what you thought was an almost perfect landscape. A beautiful scene with lush colours and tones abound. Yet when we get home and view the image, we are disappointed with the sky, which is a burnt out white. There are patches of black where we saw beautiful shades and tones, our gorgeous moody shadows on the ground are just bland shades of an unrecognisable white and grey.

This phenomenon occurs because of the difference between our eye’s ability to record and send information to the brain versus the camera’s attempt to recreate the same image. The camera has less dynamic range when compared to the human eye. Our eye is a miraculous image capturing tool with closer to 50 megapixels “video-like” abilities rather than just the our singular frame that our digital camera captures.

The human eye can see over 20 f-stop equivalents in a scene, with it refocusing and adding it’s own filters to what we see to improve our view. Our camera would only nominally record around 8 f-stops in any one scene, so the difference between what we perceive through our eyes and what we capture digitally can be substantial.

Our challenge then as landscape photographers is to achieve as high a dynamic range as is possible whilst still maintaining an acceptable level that we are comfortable with, keeping the subject realistic.

We have already discussed a possible solution “HDR” or “High dynamic range” photography, in another article here, in which we consider that process.

What a camera we would have if we could replicate the eyes visual abilities through our digital imaging! So apart from HDR what else can we do?

Filters are the photographers chosen answer in their various guises, we will have an article on filters soon, come back and have a look, if you would like us to consider any particular subject just let us know.

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