High Dynamic Range in Software
It is everywhere. Everyone is doing them, but to do HDR images, you need software, specific software that will process your images to give you the High Dynamic Range that is required. Well, you need it if you do it the way I do.
I first started doing HDR images last year, I don’t know when, but probably about 12 months ago. I started with the HDR option in Photoshop. Then I started seeing other people with their HDR images, and theirs were so much better than mine. The software that I was recommended was Photomatix Pro.
This image was processed in Photomatix quite some time ago. I love the colours of the image, and as I used the software more, I started to understand it more. I also began to know what each of the sliders did and how it affected my image. I have almost said good bye to halos.
Recently I was approached by a company for an affiliation with their HDR software. The software was HDR Darkroom, produced by a company called Everimaging. I had never heard of it before, but I decided not to dismiss it out of hand, to try it out. As I have previously stated I also have an affiliation with Photomatix, not that you would know looking at my bank account, I wondered about having another one with another company.
Same images have been used to produce this, and though the results aren’t the same, it isn’t too bad. I found there weren’t as many things I could control in this and I found that a little bit limiting. Though I would imagine for someone just starting out, it is probably not bad and pretty easy to use.
This next image was produced with some software that was recommended to me by lensaddiction, the software was Oloneo. So I downloaded the free trial of the HDR PhotoEngine and had a play in it.
The Oloneo one has come out quite well. It probably is the best of the three. Though I found it far harder to use, and I think my experience with HDR imaging helped me, so I don’t know that I would recommend it for a beginner.
The Manchester Unity Building in Melbourne. This one was processed with Photomatix Pro. I found the way the software darked the building toward the top quite annoying. Though, I was left with a sky and plenty of detail. No halo, so that was good.
This has come out better than the Photomatix Pro, the building is a little dark around the top edges, but we haven’t lost the top of the building to darkness. I have to give HDR Darkroom a massive tick for this image, out of the 3 software packages, it got the best image this time.
This one was done with Oloneo, we lost all detail in the sky. the building isn’t too bad, I did try to darken it some, but it didn’t work too well. I wasn’t really happy with this image. Then again, today is the first time I have used it, so I imagine if you are going to use it you might find ways to make it worse.
One of the issues I have had with Photomatix Pro is how it produces funny colours around the trees. If you look closely at this image you may see that. I have worked out how to get rid of a lot of it, but sometimes I can’t do anything. Though, what I have started to do in situations like this is not do a HDR image, but just work with a single image.
It should always be about the image and how that looks, not how you got there.
You can see what I mean about the trouble around the treetops in this one. This was done with HDR Darkroom. That isn’t too bad, it would probably annoy me, but then again, as I said, it did the same sort of thing with Photomatix Pro. It has processed the image quite well.
I don’t have an image done with Oloneo for this one. When I took this image I was hand holding the camera, so there are some variations between each image. I found that Oloneo could not get rid of the ghosting, and the image wasn’t very good. I tried all the different ways of doing it, but in the end I had to scrap it. That was very disappointing. Both Photomatix Pro and HDR Darkroom had no trouble with de-ghosting the images.
I still love Photomatix Pro, it is priced at US$99, which isn’t too bad, and if you use the coupon code I have, you get an additional %15 off, that is fairly good.
HDR Darkroom, my first attempts weren’t great, but I have been impressed with it today. It is very easy to use, and I think if you were wanting to try HDR images, but didn’t want to spend a lot then the US$58 price tag isn’t bad. You are limited with what you can do, but for some images, it is very good.
Oloneo, the most expensive of the three, at US$149, it is more complicated to use. I don’t know that I would buy it, not being able to do that last image was a concern. Since I like to hand hold my camera more than use my tripod, it may be a problem.
I can’t help thinking they all are pretty good for certain images, but you can’t purchase them all. I have Photomatix Pro and I will stick with that. Though I was hoping to also try out HDR Efex Pro 2 from Nik Software, but as I have already had a free trial, I had to get a new code for another one and it wouldn’t work. So I am sorry to say I wasn’t able to compare that one as well.
My thoughts, if you are new to HDR imaging and don’t want to spend a lot to test it out and try, then I would recommend HDR Darkroom. It is probably a toss up for more advanced, but I think I would come done on the side of Photomatix Pro.
It looks really interesting and would be a great camera to own. From what I can tell it is in a similar market to Canons EOS 600D. It has a few similarities.
The press release states, “Boasting a 24.1 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor, a class leading 39-point AF system, a 2,016-pixel RGB sensor and a high resolution vari-angle LCD monitor. ”
I have to say, WHAT. I understand some of that, but really, what does it all mean to us. I got four pages in the press release. Considering the camera is one of their entry level cameras, why don’t they write these things in a language for the entry level photographer.
From what I can work out, you get good resolution with the images, so that is fantastic, means you can print images really well, it also boasts less noise at the high end of the ISO range. The DX-format, means it isn’t full frame, so the sensors are in the middle of the image, and that is where it takes its readings from. It has lots of great features, and I am sure if you go to Nikon or Nikon Australia’s website you can see what they all are.
I haven’t used the camera, so I can’t really comment on what it is like. You would just have to take Nikon’s word that it does what it says.
It comes in red, that is pretty cool. The screen on the back flips out, apparently this is so you can do “selfies”. Apparently so many people are taking self portraits that the camera companies are even making DSLRs so you can do them. Interesting.