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Old May 9, 2009, 7:28 PM   #31
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simple - love the dog shot! I'm amazed that you got the dog to hold still long enough to not get motion differences. I took a series recently that would have been nice, but there was just enough breeze that the front bird of paradise leaf moved and there was ghosting around it.

soliz39 - I'm not positive just what my settings were in photomatix since I was experimenting, but I can tell you what my thoughts were. After I downloaded the program and played with it enough to know I wanted to buy it, I looked around for tutorials. The one I ended up reading talked about how the strength slider and the radio buttons for light smoothing work together - higher strength means more surreal look. More light smoothing means less halos, so I pretty much always use the two highest buttons for light smoothing.

conor - what you are seeing is the distortion common to a very wide angle lens. I actually did a bit of adjusting using the skew tool, but I didn't want to lose too much of the image, so I left it a bit "off". If you are using one of the photoshop programs, use "transform" and under that "skew", then grab one corner and pull it out - it will pull that corner over and straighten the line on that side. It helps to put some guides on your photo to help line things up. With my really wide lens, I might have to pull both upper corners out quite a bit. You need to pay attention to the height perspective because you can end up with straight lines, but the height to width proportions off.

I've also been playing around with DXO, and it has really nice geometric adjustments - you can specify which lines you want vertical and it will automatically straighten the shot to match. Very easy and nice (I like the program, it's worth playing around with, especially if you have a camera that is supported by their special modules).
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Old May 9, 2009, 8:37 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
I've also been playing around with DXO, and it has really nice geometric adjustments - you can specify which lines you want vertical and it will automatically straighten the shot to match. Very easy and nice (I like the program, it's worth playing around with, especially if you have a camera that is supported by their special modules).
What's ZXO? I've never heard of it...
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Old May 10, 2009, 12:00 AM   #33
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DXO Labs puts out DXO Optics Pro software. The company takes cameras and various lenses and runs extensive tests on them, measuring things such as optical quality, distortion and noise that you would get with the combination. Then they make modules that will automatically correct the weaknesses of that particular combination. You can use the software even if you don't use one of their combinations (they don't have that many Pentax modules, so I am often using it with lenses it doesn't recognize). It can adjust color, lighting, noise reduction, geometry, and add a bit of sharpening. It works on both jpg and raw files, so you can make most of the changes you need to while the file is still in raw format.

You can download a trial version of the program (it's the whole program but you can only use it for 14 days, then extend it for another 14 days). I really like it (the noise reduction gives nice results, for one thing), but it's not something I would consider a "must-have". If you have one of their camera/lens combinations, the results are really good just using the default settings, less fuss. It works either as a stand-alone program or as a Lightroom plug-in (very convenient, since I use LR all the time).

Their website is: http://www.dxo.com/us/photo for more information.
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