Saturday (04-December-2010) — California

Digital Editing — Comparison of HDR (High Dynamic Range) Emulation Programs and Settings.

There are a number of HDR programs programs available. Over the next several days I will be comparing images processed with Adobe HDR Pro, HDR Soft Photomatix Pro (ver 4.0), and the recently released  Nik HDR Efex Pro (ver 1.0). I will also include a couple of examples of “one shot HDR” from Phase One Capture One Pro (ver 6.0) and DxO Optics Pro (ver 6.0). The HDR programs have improved significantly in the last few years.

The images used for this test were taken during a Nikonians Academy  Photography Adventure Workshop in Big Sur run by Michael Mariant.  Five images were taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 0.6, 1.2, 2.5, 5, 10 sec) with mirror up delay to minimize vibration on a tripod.

Adobe HDR Pro  Adobe has included a HDR rendering program with the last few versions of Photoshop. The version include in Photoshop CS5 is significantly improved over the previous versions. The program is relatively easy to use. Select File> Automate> Merge to HDR Pro, Select the images to process, OK. Once the images are initially processed, there are 14 preset options (default, flat, monochromatic, photorealistic, saturated, surrealistic, etc.). I am providing examples of the standard default, photorealistic and saturated presets. In addition to the presets there are many additional sliders to control and tweak all aspects of the final image.

Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). (David J Mathre)
Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). (David J Mathre)
Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). HDR of 5 images (+2, +1, 0, -1, -2 EV) using Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (default). (David J Mathre)
Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). HDR of 5 images (+2, +1, 0, -1, -2 EV) using Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (default). (David J Mathre)
Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). HDR of 5 images (+2, +1, 0, -1, -2 EV) using Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (photorealistic). (David J Mathre)
Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). HDR of 5 images (+2, +1, 0, -1, -2 EV) using Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (photorealistic). (David J Mathre)
Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). HDR of 5 images (+2, +1, 0, -1, -2 EV) using Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (saturated). (David J Mathre)
Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). HDR of 5 images (+2, +1, 0, -1, -2 EV) using Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro (saturated). (David J Mathre)

Friday (03-December-2010) — California

Digital Editing — Comparison of RAW Image Converters.

Something a bit different. Today I am comparing 4 different programs that convert the RAW digital images acquired by my Nikon cameras. The RAW converters that I typically use include Adobe Camera Raw (ver 6.2), Nikon Capture NX2 (ver 2.2.6),  Phase One Capture One Pro (ver 6.00), and DxO Optics Pro (ver 6). The programs were all run on Windows 7 (64 bit). The image is one that I had taken on a Nikonians workshop run by Michael Mariant in Big Sur this spring.  The image was taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec) on a tripod. The overall scene was beyond the dynamic range of the digital sensor. It was rather dark in the forest, thus the long exposure. The bit of sky visible is bright (and blown out). In the following days I will be comparing some HDR (high dynamic range) programs to process several images of the same scene taken at different exposures to try to compensate for the wide dynamic range.

Adobe Camera Raw. This is the program that Adobe uses to process RAW digital images for Photoshop and Lightroom. Camera Raw is only able to read some of the Nikon in camera settings. In recent versions they have included settings that simulate the Nikon Picture Control settings (Landscape, Vivid, etc). The current version of Camera Raw also now includes lens corrections for a wide variety of lenses including the lens that this image was taken.

Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 default. (David J Mathre)

Adobe Camera Raw: Adobe Standard, No Lens Correction. Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 default.

Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction). (David J Mathre)

Adobe Camera Raw: Landscape and Lens correction for Nikon 14-24 mm f/2.8. Wide Angle Looking up from a Coastal Redwood Forest. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/16, 2.5 sec). Raw image converted using Adobe Camera Raw 6.2 (landscape and used lens correction).

Three-Years Ago (26-November-2007) — Hawaii

Image Processing Techniques — Comparison of HDR Programs

A comparison of different HDR (high dynamic range) programs for rendering a series of images 7 images taken at different exposures (+3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3 EV). The programs compared are Photoshop CS5, Photomatix Pro, and Nik HDR Efex Pro. I should note that I am not able to run the Nik HDR Efex Pro on my desktop computer as it causes Photoshop to crash. I had to use a different computer to process the images using the Nik HDR Efex program. The images were taken during a workshop in Hawaii in 2007 with a Nikon D2xs and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens.


Three-Years Ago (20-November-2007) — Hawaii

Beach at Waipi’o Valley. Comparison of RAW image converters.

Waipi’o Valley is located along the Hamakua Coast on the northeastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The image was taken on day 3 of Thom Hogan’s 2007 Hawaii Photography Workshop with a Nikon D2xs and 12-24 mm f/4 lens (ISO 100, 17 mm, f/11, 1/200 sec). Four different programs were used to render the RAW image: 1) Capture NX2,  2) Photoshop CS5 with Camera Raw 6.2,  3) Capture One Pro 5,  4) DxO 6.5. The images were rotated 2.6° to level the horizon, sharpened with Focus Magic, and then converted to jpg and sRGB with Photoshop CS5. I am interested in feedback regarding the different renderings.