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Some thoughts on "psuedo" HDR from RAW files

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  • Roger D. Williams
    I prefer this approach to HDR, fusing different exposures from a single RAW image, especially when there are people or things moving around, as it eliminates
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 7, 2010
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      I prefer this approach to HDR, fusing different "exposures" from a
      single RAW image, especially when there are people or things moving
      around, as it eliminates the problem of ghosts. I have yet to hear
      that Photomatix or any other "true" HDR approach is good at
      getting rid of ghosts. (It would be great news, if true!)

      Since this method involves working with a single RAW file, its
      exposure has to be short enough not to blow the highlights: you
      can't recover highlight detail that is not there!

      This means that the darker areas need to be "pushed" in the RAW
      development process, and when I first tried this with my D200 the
      noise levels in the shadows were simply too high for good-looking
      results. That meant going back to wrestling with ghosts. <sigh>

      Things improved with the D300, but the most astonishing thing to
      me has been the experience of using the little Pentax K-x that I
      got cheaply from a friend. He is always buying new cameras and
      selling off the previous ones.

      Reviews of the K-x remarked on its low noise levels, and this is
      definitely true in my experience. I suppose it won't be long before
      all other new DSLRs or EVIL cameras catch up, but at the moment
      I am getting the best results ever from this technique with the
      K-x. On the very rare occasions when there is obtrusive noise in
      the shadows, a quick once-over with a De-Noise utility does the
      necessary. These are now clever enough to leave alone any areas
      with well-exposed details. The D300 is a very fine camera, and
      the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye is a great lens, but the K-x with a
      Peleng or the Pentax 10-17mm zoom fisheye that I am just starting
      to use, is producing almost indistinguishable results.

      I can now expose for highlights and let the shadows take care of
      themselves, much as I used to do for transparency film when I was
      shooting stereo slides.

      The K-x body with standard zoom lens goes for less than most lenses
      for more more expensive cameras and it's a real sweetie. I love it!
      Incidentally, the cheap and plasticky 18-55mm zoom lens is
      astonishingly good. At least, *I* was astonished at its sharpness.

      Roger W.

      --
      Business: www.adex-japan.com
      Pleasure: www.usefilm.com/member/roger
    • Hans
      ... Have you tried the in camera HDR ? You need a tripod for that of course but it actually uses 3 shots at + - 3 EV. Hans
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 7, 2010
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        --- In PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com, "Roger D. Williams" <roger@...> wrote:
        >
        > I prefer this approach to HDR, fusing different "exposures" from a
        > single RAW image, especially when there are people or things moving
        > around, as it eliminates the problem of ghosts. I have yet to hear
        > that Photomatix or any other "true" HDR approach is good at
        > getting rid of ghosts. (It would be great news, if true!)
        >
        > Since this method involves working with a single RAW file, its
        > exposure has to be short enough not to blow the highlights: you
        > can't recover highlight detail that is not there!
        >
        > This means that the darker areas need to be "pushed" in the RAW
        > development process, and when I first tried this with my D200 the
        > noise levels in the shadows were simply too high for good-looking
        > results. That meant going back to wrestling with ghosts. <sigh>
        >
        > Things improved with the D300, but the most astonishing thing to
        > me has been the experience of using the little Pentax K-x that I
        > got cheaply from a friend. He is always buying new cameras and
        > selling off the previous ones.
        >
        > Reviews of the K-x remarked on its low noise levels, and this is
        > definitely true in my experience. I suppose it won't be long before
        > all other new DSLRs or EVIL cameras catch up, but at the moment
        > I am getting the best results ever from this technique with the
        > K-x. On the very rare occasions when there is obtrusive noise in
        > the shadows, a quick once-over with a De-Noise utility does the
        > necessary. These are now clever enough to leave alone any areas
        > with well-exposed details. The D300 is a very fine camera, and
        > the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye is a great lens, but the K-x with a
        > Peleng or the Pentax 10-17mm zoom fisheye that I am just starting
        > to use, is producing almost indistinguishable results.
        >
        > I can now expose for highlights and let the shadows take care of
        > themselves, much as I used to do for transparency film when I was
        > shooting stereo slides.
        >
        > The K-x body with standard zoom lens goes for less than most lenses
        > for more more expensive cameras and it's a real sweetie. I love it!
        > Incidentally, the cheap and plasticky 18-55mm zoom lens is
        > astonishingly good. At least, *I* was astonished at its sharpness.
        >

        Have you tried the in camera HDR ?
        You need a tripod for that of course but it actually uses 3 shots at + - 3 EV.

        Hans
      • Roger D. Williams
        Hi, Hans. ... I prefer to use a monopod. I tried this function with my monopod but the registration was not close enough. Not only did I get ghosts from the
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 8, 2010
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          Hi, Hans.

          On Fri, 08 Oct 2010 15:35:08 +0900, Hans <hans@...> wrote:


          > Have you tried the in camera HDR ?
          > You need a tripod for that of course but it actually uses 3 shots at + -
          > 3 EV.

          I prefer to use a monopod. I tried this function with my monopod but the
          registration was not close enough. Not only did I get ghosts from the
          things that moved but I also got double (or even triple) vision, with
          the edges repeated two (or three) times, as if things were vibrating.

          I'm afraid that discouraged me, and I haven't played with it since.

          Do you have a good experience of it? + and - 3EV is quite a range if the
          exposures can be combined well.

          Unfortunately I think this is limited to JPEGs. Certainly this option is
          greyed out in my menu when I select "RAW" files for my images.

          Roger W.

          --
          Business: www.adex-japan.com
          Pleasure: www.usefilm.com/member/roger
        • Erik Krause
          ... In my opinion extracting three or more exposures from a RAW file is far to tedious compared to the result. It is much easier to extract the full dynamic
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 8, 2010
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            Am 08.10.2010 02:53, schrieb Roger D. Williams:

            > I prefer this approach to HDR, fusing different "exposures" from a
            > single RAW image, especially when there are people or things moving
            > around, as it eliminates the problem of ghosts

            In my opinion extracting three or more "exposures" from a RAW file is
            far to tedious compared to the result. It is much easier to extract the
            full dynamic range to a single 16 bit TIFF which by far is enough to
            capture the complete dynamic and tonal range of a RAW image. You get a
            washed looking image this way, but you can use tone mapping approaches,
            simple high radius USM or even exposure fusion (with PTGui pro or tufuse
            pro)

            I wrote a tutorial how to extract the full dynamic range using ACR some
            time ago <http://wiki.panotools.org/RAW_dynamic_range_extraction> which
            needs an update for a newer ACR version (which I don't have). Other RAW
            converters might not be so easy to configure.

            --
            Erik Krause
            http://www.erik-krause.de
          • Hans
            ... I agree to that when we talk about getting the most out of 1 exposure. Especially when using ACR there are several ways of extracting a lot more than you
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 8, 2010
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              --- In PanoToolsNG@yahoogroups.com, Erik Krause <erik.krause@...> wrote:
              >
              > Am 08.10.2010 02:53, schrieb Roger D. Williams:
              >
              > > I prefer this approach to HDR, fusing different "exposures" from a
              > > single RAW image, especially when there are people or things moving
              > > around, as it eliminates the problem of ghosts
              >
              > In my opinion extracting three or more "exposures" from a RAW file is
              > far to tedious compared to the result. It is much easier to extract the
              > full dynamic range to a single 16 bit TIFF which by far is enough to
              > capture the complete dynamic and tonal range of a RAW image. You get a
              > washed looking image this way, but you can use tone mapping approaches,
              > simple high radius USM or even exposure fusion (with PTGui pro or tufuse
              > pro)


              I agree to that when we talk about getting the most out of 1 exposure.
              Especially when using ACR there are several ways of extracting a lot more than you usually see just by using the tools in ACR.
              Here is a page showing how I use it.
              http://www.panoramas.dk/panorama/hdr-with-people/

              However when doing Enfuse from 3 shots with + - 2 EV you can gete some benefit from making an extra conversion from the dark image at -2 exposure
              This is with just 3 images.
              http://www.panoramas.dk/panorama/canon15mm/pano-14800.html

              And this is with 1 more extracted from the underexposed.
              Check the windows and the wall to the left of the altar.
              http://www.panoramas.dk/panorama/canon15mm/cathedral.html

              Hans


              >
              > I wrote a tutorial how to extract the full dynamic range using ACR some
              > time ago <http://wiki.panotools.org/RAW_dynamic_range_extraction> which
              > needs an update for a newer ACR version (which I don't have). Other RAW
              > converters might not be so easy to configure.
              >
              > --
              > Erik Krause
              > http://www.erik-krause.de
              >
            • Christian Bloch
              I was just about to say that. Going from a single RAW directly to HDR or tonemapping is not only easier, but also cleaner. Blochi ... [Non-text portions of
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 8, 2010
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                I was just about to say that. Going from a single RAW directly to HDR or tonemapping is not only easier, but also cleaner.

                Blochi

                On Oct 8, 2010, at 4:15 AM, Erik Krause wrote:

                > In my opinion extracting three or more "exposures" from a RAW file is
                > far to tedious compared to the result. It is much easier to extract the
                > full dynamic range to a single 16 bit TIFF which by far is enough to
                > capture the complete dynamic and tonal range of a RAW image. You get a
                > washed looking image this way, but you can use tone mapping approaches,
                > simple high radius USM or even exposure fusion (with PTGui pro or tufuse
                > pro)



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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