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Gamma

To understand the key difference between shooting film and shooting digital, you need to get your head around the concept of gamma encoding. As I explained in Chapter 1, digital cameras respond to photons quite differently from either film or our eyes. The sensors in digital cameras simply count photons and assign a tonal value in direct proportion to the number of photons detected—they respond linearly to incoming light.

Human eyeballs, however, do not respond linearly to light. Our eyes are much more sensitive to small differences in brightness at low levels than at high ones. Film has traditionally been designed to respond to light approximately the way our eyes do, but digital sensors simply don't work that way.


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