Saturday, 28 January 2012

HDR Vs Pseudo HDR

Ok so which is better? Pseudo or Real HDR?

Things to consider, 

are you using a tripod?
are you using a remote or delayed shutter?
Is your subject totally still?
Is there NO wind affecting the subject?
Can you shoot at the base iso?

If the answer to all of those above are No then go with Pseudo  HDR.
Spend the time to set up your tripod and your remote to cut down shutter vibration. Set a nice deep depth of field and take your 3-9 Raw exposures (in Aperture priority or Manually adjust the Shutterspeed)  Ie you dont want the aperture to change during the shoot.

The next thing of importance is the iso,
adding 3 photos with iso of say…800 in photomatix essentially magnifies any noise meaning it goes from an 800iso noise equivalent to a 6400iso noisy image. Not good.
And this is even more obvious as you are shooting in raw and there is now noise reduction added to the image as it comes out of the camera.

So if you are shooting with any iso above 100 or 200 you really want to do some noise reduction (espeically if you are not using a super duper full frame low noise modern dslr) and that will require you doing in camera jpeg noise reduction or post editing noise reduction and having to export the edited image.. as a jpeg or tiff.

BUT by doing this you will loose the total control over obtaining all the dynamic range in the image and you will be restricted to the exposure that your camera is able to capture in one raw.

If your image you are capturing has a really really High dynamic range more than say 5 stops, then your sensor is not going to be able to capture that at all. Meaning that when you tone map your 3 tiff files you will still have blown out sky. So consider the amount of difference in brightness from the shadows to the lights. (the image below are a good example, it was a slightly cloudly over cast day yet still some of the sky was blow out on the pseudo hdr images)

You could do something similar by just editing the raw by boosting up the light fill and recovery and lowering the contrast and lowering the saturation some other things such as brush strokes changing the exposure in certain areas in the image in Adobe Lightroom, and Will advise i have had some pretty good results with that.

Guess the images below which are HDR and which are Lightroom edits

Now I will be the first to admit I didn't bother using a tripod for any of the shots above but I am pretty happy with how steady I am able to keep may hands over the .9 of second needed to capture th 3 raw files with the ultra wide Canon 16-35mm on the Canon 5d mark 2.

Now if you want to start trying some hdr photos you can get a free hdr software called Luminance HDR which is an open source freeware/shareware however from my short experience with it …  am still glad I bought Photomatix.

My best advise is that a good result for an hdr shot should be taken on a day where there is little to no wind,  little to no movement of the subject. good amount of light, Low ISO, shot on a tripod, at least 3 raw shots taken with different shutterspeeds, shot via remot or on mirror lock up to avoid camera shake. and have a good amount of depth of field.

Oh and once you have all of that DONT forget to take an INTERESTING PHOTO!.

If you take a dull photo and make it an HDR photo it does not make it intersting it just makes it a dull HDR photo!

check out related pages
and another video on how to do hdr but without hdr software

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  1. I think you mean if the answer is yes, go with real HDR :)

  2. aah woops. i either ment yes go with real hdr or i should have said no, go with pseudo hdr. will get that changed now

  3. Why not exporting all three images directly into Photomatix from Lightroom? This is at least how it works with the current versions.
    I'm using Win7 - although I can't imagine the Photomatix plugin not working the same way on the Mac.