Is "native ISO" a slippery concept? at

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Old April 9th, 2015, 04:43 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
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Is "native ISO" a slippery concept?

So, the Varicam 35 is said to have "dual native ISOs" because "there are two analog circuits right after each pixel before the gain amp, one each dedicated to 800 and 5000 ISO": News Shooter | Panasonic Varicam 35 has a dual native ISO of 800 and 5000 – how do they do it?.

Meanwhile, people using the 5DMkIII are advised that 100, 200, 400, 800 are the "native ISOs" because they're "the settings that are derived from analog gain rather than digital exposure compensation": Canon HD DSLR “Native ISO” Shootin' The Shot.

But surely these are contradictory uses of the term?

What does "native ISO" actually mean? (Or what should it mean?)

Follow-up question: if shooting at higher than native ISO degrades the image because you're digitally boosting it, is there a disadvantage to shooting lower than native ISO, where presumably you're digitally darkening it? Would you always lose dynamic range?
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