The scope for adjustment is impressive, but is it not also academic? After all, no competent photographer would have shot your first, grossly under-exposed image. Had the same image been shot exposed to the right, push of shadows, if required at all, would have been marginal.
Please can you provide a real-world example where push of such magnitude was warranted?
While the example I posted is very extreeme it is a demonstration of the capability of the camera. In all situations where shadows are pushed a little or a fair bit there is some quality loss compared to exposing the shadows more. What is importasnt with the example I posted is that even in exteeme cases the results are still very good. This meands that in more commomn practial cases the quality will be even higher.
There are endless exampekls in the real world where this is an enourmous advantage. If this were not the case Kodak would not have strived for years to increase dynamic range of negative film.
A few examples. Fashion runway. Black model wearing white top and black skirt or panrs with dark, but embroiderted boots. Light on the runway is prety much more from above.
Fashion with two models in the sun. One blond model and one model with jet black hair. L'oreal is the suject of the editorial.
Next shot. One model leaning against a white car with the other model inside the car.
Black vocanic rock and vitage white car.
Black vocanic cliffs soaked in water with a nude beauty shot. Jet black hair.
I do a lot of high key lighting with lekos and fresnel spots in studio and on location.
Deep moody shadows. The way the detail falls off into the shadows makes quite a difference.
The most important thing I see in the test I posted is that despite lifing the shadows many stops there is still absolute black in the final image.
This is because there is information deep into the blacks.
Another reson why dynamic range and high quantization (lots of steps... real ones, not just the extent of the file format) is the whole reproduction process. If one looks at what the independant channels of data used to make offset printing plates they are very adjusted. If you stay with modest dynamic range and quantization you end up with banding issues and that requires the offset printer to add some noise to control this.
The cleaner and more robust the file is the better off you are.
If we also add on top of that the dodging and burning required in fashion and beauty retouching the more you start with the better.
This is particularly imposrtant for skin as the tones are subtle and we are wired to read skin tones more than other things.
Now I'm not saying that MFD is not capable of doing a very good job at this, but it is not quite as good as the D800 and D600.
Very close, but the important thing is that while a few years ago 35mm DSLRs lagged behind in this area they are not leading.
It's not nesccessary to invest $20-50,000 anymore to obtain high dynamic range that used to be unique to MFD.
It will be interesting to see how the newer sensor in the IQ260 performs in this area, not that the IQ160 was a slouch at all.