thermal colormaps vs luminance
matplotlib's sequential maps that look like blackbody thermal color with luminance plotted in white
seems that none of these are really ideal. they have banding or don't extend all the way from black to white or have too little change at the extremes and too much in the middle...
If you also plot the R G B components, you can see that the banding occurs where they have abrupt changes in slope.
hot afmhot gist_heat copper OrRd YlOrRed YlOrBr Oranges