[font color=\'#000000\']What's more, it is almost certainly an engineered inhibition. CCD sensors can now achieve 14 stops range, and do so completely linearly. I don't know any reason why CMOS should be worse, so it sounds like Canon have knobbled the range.
Tony Sleep Photography ::[/font]
It never occurred to me that the limited dynamic range of the D60 and 1Ds (and other DSLRs) might be a deliberate engineering limitation to make the image look more 'punchy'. I tended to assume that the limitation was raw computing power. If you want high dynamic range, you not only need the sensors to be capable of it, but perhaps more computing power than can be fitted into a 35mm size body without slowing down the whole process. Typical MF backs which, until recently, needed to be tethered to a laptop at least, were capable of 11 f/stops. The 35mm format has to be more flexible.
I gathered you are an 'arty type' from your excellent introduction to composition. Nevertheless, you seem to have a good understanding of the technical issues as well. The notion that, because 35mm lenses cannot resolve finer than 6 microns (whatever circumstances of f/stop and contrast ratio etc apply!!), therefore any digital sensor with pixels of a similar dimension has reached the limit of 35mm lens technology, is clearly false. It's a fallacy.
If a lens is capable of resolving a particle 6 microns in diameter, you need a digital sensor containing pixels considerably smaller than 6 microns in order to 'extract' the most out of the lens.
There's a 'law of diminishing returns' that applies, as with scanners. 2700 dpi gets you most of the detail available on 35mm. 4000 dpi gets you a bit more. 6000 dpi gets you an even smaller bit more, as does 8000 and 12000.
To get the relativities in perspective, if the 3MP D30 had been designed as a full frame digicam with no multiplier effect, it would have been a 7.8MP camera (assuming the pixel density was not diluted). The 1Ds at 11.2MP does not have a significantly greater pixel density than the D30, and has less than the D60. I think we can safely assume that there's still a fair amount of improvement to be achieved before we reach the limit of 35mm lenses.[/font]