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Old Sep 26, 2005, 12:50 PM   #1
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I was so taken by Peter's HDR shots, that I decided to try a few myself with a scene I shot at the weekend: Note that while I was planning to try and merge the images in photoshop, I hadn't heard of Photmatix then, so they weren't taken with that in mind, and that may have some effect on the results. Caveat Emptor etc.

Anyway, compare the images and see which method you think works best.

Here's the first shot, it's the best I could do from a single exposure, it's OK, but there are some nasty artifacts from excessive levels adjustments. DSLR users with a RAW mode would probably do better here:
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 12:55 PM   #2
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Second image.

This is three exposures combined in Photoshop elements. The two lightest images were averaged, and then combined with the darkest using the methodology described here: http://luminous-landscape.com/tutori...blending.shtml

There is definitely some loss of sharpness (which may not be visible here), and some loss of contrast in the midtone foliage. I had to boost the saturation a little too, but it's definitely better than the single image.
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 12:58 PM   #3
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Third image.

Two exposures combined with Photomatix Basic (the free version).

Looks sharper to me than #2 when you zoom in to 100%, but there are some really nasty artifacts where the leaves on the trees moved between exposures, not so many that couldn't be cloned out, but it would be an extra step.
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 1:11 PM   #4
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Forth image.

This is the full on HDR version produced from 5 images with a *very* wide exposure range. I have to say that once the HDR image was converted to a 16-bit TIFF it was a real eye opener. More color depth and adjustment leyway than even a RAW file I would say (remember RAW files are "only" 12-bit by and large).

However there are still a few nasty artifacts where the leaves moved, not as much as from the two image merge, but still probably more than my manual merge. On the other hand the color and contast are superb IMO.

I'm not sure whether it's good enough to fork out for the full version yet, but Photomatix is definitely an interesting program.

I get the feeling that all the methods produce reduced image sharpness to some degree: or perhaps I should say loss of detail, because the the photomatix produced versions look like they may have been sharpened a little to me. Speeking as someone with not many pixels in his camera to begin with that's an issue for me

Anyway comments welcome, as are other experiments!

One thing I have found, if the exposure range in the input shots isn't wide enough, you can get some really nasty artifacts from the HDR method, when I tried this with some two-image bracketed exposures then some sections of sky that were still white in the darker of the two images ended up midtone-grey in the result !!

Regards, John.
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 1:39 PM   #5
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Well I was planning to stop with 4, but after playing with my manual merge some more, I came up with what I think is the best yet. I suspect Photomatix/HDR could do better with enough patience, but for now I think this is pretty good.

That's definitely the last from this scene :!:

John.
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 2:04 PM   #6
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I do like your fifth one the best

Yes, I too have discovered that you need still scenery between shots or odd things show up.
I wish the 20D could do more than a 3 shot auto-bracket, I can get 3 exposures in under a second then have to fiddle with the camera to get the next set.

This technique is best for the windless motionless days.

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