What is Gamma in a Digital Camera

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Updated July 25, 2022

Asking “What is gamma in great digital cameras?” is the first step to achieving higher image quality. While the concepts of luminosity levels and image gamma can be complex, photographers need to understand them. Gamma characteristics can be the difference between high-quality imagery and an absolute mess of tonal range and dark noise.


  • LCD monitors must be calibrated to properly reflect gamma values, which decide the light intensity of your photos.
  • Image gamma can be a difficult concept to understand but is essential to photographers of all types.
  • Gamma values in top-rated digital cameras determine shadows, mid-tones, highlights, and other values associated with luminosity levels.

What is Gamma in Digital Cameras?

So, what is gamma in digital cameras? There are a few different values you need to understand before you can grasp the concept. However, once you know what gamma values are, you’ll be able to produce quality imagery with greatly improved visual quality.

Understanding Gamma in Photography

There is a wide variety of terms to understand when getting into photography. Light level is crucial to ensuring image quality, especially when working with digital images. Monitor calibration is the best way to ensure your screen is reflecting standard gamma values. Some computers come with pre-installed software for this, while other times, you’ll need to buy a system to help you. Once you calibrate your monitor, you may share your best pictures and experiences with friends through social media by connecting the camera to your iPhone.

What Gamma Refers To

Gamma values will determine your shadows, mid-tones, highlights, and so much more. The human eye does not process light intensity the same way that a camera or computer does. Gamma is there to help your photography reflect on screen what you saw while shooting. To reflect the entire range of luminosity available in your imagery, you must adequately calibrate your monitor. This will allow you to see the darker tones, mid-tones, and more as they are. It’s not anything like PRNU to identify your smartphone from a photo, but it does have some detailed info to determine your gamma levels. It is also crucial to change your lenses depending on the type of images you want to capture.

How to Calibrate for Gamma

The visual quality of your images will depend on whether your LCD monitor reflects standard gamma values. There are several different ways to make sure that your monitor is up to date and perfectly calibrated. Some computers, like Macs, come with pre-installed software that will calibrate your monitor for you. There is also hardware you can buy that will calibrate a screen for you. Keep in mind that if your screen isn’t calibrating, there may be a problem that’ll require you to repair the digital camera screen.


Why Gamma Is Useful?

Our eyes do not perceive light intensity the same way that digital cameras do. Because of this, there can be some discrepancies between what you see on the viewfinder versus your LCD monitor. This is where gamma corrections come into play.

Why Is Monitor Calibration Important?

There are specific standards that photographers need to work within. Your computer monitor controls so much about how images will look in print and how they will look for other photographers. Not having a calibrated monitor is one of the biggest reasons for poor image quality.

How much is needed to damage a camera?

Digital cameras are notoriously sensitive, and it isn’t difficult to damage them. Dropping your camera, for example, can do both superficial and internal damage.

Who Cares About Log?

Anybody working with color video should pay close attention to the log. This will determine quite a bit about the quality of your color video.

STAT: In this case, when a video signal of 0.5 (representing a mid-gray) is fed to the display, the intensity or brightness is about 0.22 (resulting in a mid-gray, about 22% the intensity of white). (source)

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