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Sony SLT-A55 Digital Camera Review$899.99
Dynamic range is a measure of how wide a range of shades a camera can capture: does it capture detail in shadows, or are they just black? We found that the SLT-A55 did a good job here, capturing a wide dynamic range at the lower ISO settings which would allow it to capture a good level of both shadow and highlight detail. More on how we test dynamic range.
The dynamic range of the camera falls significantly as the ISO is increased, so it is important to keep the ISO as low as possible to get the best image quality. However, the dynamic range of this camera remained wider than other comparable cameras across the range. We also found that the SLT-A55 could capture a slightly wider range than other cameras at the lowest ISO settings: it captures just under a stop more than the Panasonic G2.
Sony also offers a special shooting mode called D-Range optimizer, which they claim uses special image processing techniques to enhance the dynamic range. This mode does not expand the dynamic range of the camera, but can bring out shadow detail in images by tweaking the gamma of the image. There are 5 levels of D-Range optimization: you can see examples in the Sample Photos section of the review.
The SLT-A55 also offers an Auto HDR mode, which increases the dynamic range of photos by taking three images at different exposures and combining them together to form a single image. This HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique can expand the dynamic range that a camera can capture, and we found that it produced quite attractive results. You can read more about this mode in the controls section of this review, and see examples in the Sample Photos section.