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01-17-2010, 10:29 PM   #1
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Pentax will prioritize HDR on new bodies (i wish)

From my first coupla weeks of HDR use, I've realized that HDR (i include both tone mapping and blending in that term), is the photographic tool i've always wanted. I now understand the wisdom of Pentax including the HDR filter in the K7 camera. A recent thread in the software forum by me ( ) indicates that HDR is only a new tool to a few, as most replies were from folks that were using it.

Both the K7 and the Kx get good marks for HDR capability in an article by Jack Howard "2009 HDR All Stars" .

2009 HDR All-Stars from Adorama Learning Center

this quote is from the Jack Howard's link:
"Photographers who are serious about High Dynamic Range Imaging know that one of the secrets to creating powerful tone mapped images resides in cameras that can quickly and effectively capture a truly wide dynamic range of source images. And the two camera features that really put these HDR All-star cameras ahead of the rest are Auto Exposure Bracketing settings and burst rate.

True, any camera with manual controls can be used for bracketing shots for an HDR sequence, but the less you have to touch your camera between shots, and the more rapidly a camera can capture a bracketed series of shots, the less chance you’ll encounter alignment and/or ghosting issues due to movement between frames.

The criteria for selecting these 2009 HDR All-Star Cameras is actually quite simple: a one shutter touch Auto Exposure Bracket Sequence that covers a minimum of -3 to +3 EV span around the median exposure and the ability to capture this exposure range span in RAW mode in 1 second or less. There’s many cameras in market that will capture a bracket series of shots up to +/-2, but the extra dynamic range headroom of a +/-3 (and upwards) EV span really sets these cameras apart from the pack for serious HDR pho9tographers."


If you look at the whole article, then you find out that:
a) Jack thought that the K7 could auto exposure bracket up to +- 3 EV, but Dpreview only shows max steps of 2 EV as in the K20. Does anyone know if its 3 EV capable or 2EV like the K20?
In addition the K7 and K20 can only auto bracket a series of 3 or 5 steps.

b) for entry level dslrs, the Kx is not doing bad with max step of +- 1.5 EV and 3 images.

I think HDR is the next megapixel or shutter race, Pentax needs to improve the Auto bracketing settings to match the competition. These are the top of the line specs to strive for (as in Canon 1D Mark IV(7 images, up to 3EV step), Nikon D3 (9 images-1EVstep ), Nikon D300s (9 images-1EV step)

Pentax needs to stay competitive in the HDR race. They aren't doing bad now, but it should be easy for them to make the necessary changes. And don't neglect the follow-on to the Kx, it needs a larger +-2 EV step and the 3 or 5 image options of the K20 at least.

I WISH these changes would happen so i have no source, other than the Jack Howard article on what he thinks makes for a good HDR camera.

01-18-2010, 12:42 AM   #2
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I have no idea what values the HDR feature uses, it only has a "normal" and "strong" setting. But the Exposure Bracketing can go up to +/- 2 EV at 3 images, and +/- 4 EV at 5 images (2 EV difference per image). The +/- setting can be adjusted by 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps, depending on the setting in the Custom Menu.

When using 5 images and the max +/- EV setting, the range ends up covering almost the whole EV line. It's pretty neat.
01-18-2010, 01:17 AM   #3
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Phil,
The problem with camera-based HDR like the k-7 is that there is no auto-align of the images. To do this would require significantly more processor power in the camera. This makes it necessary to use a tripod and be quite careful that there is no motion. Other postprocessing tools (some free, and others, quite inexpensive) really expand the use of HDR. For example, Photomatix Light automatically aligns multi-exposures so that you can handhold the camera and use HDR. I have used it myself, and it works very well (although I am not a big HDR guy). Give it a try yourself with your k20d: http://www.hdrsoft.com/

I think camera-based HDR right now is a bit of a marketing gimmick, because you can get far better results using the good multi-exposure capability of the k-7, handhold the camera, and then postprocess with far more latitude on the resulting image.
01-18-2010, 01:33 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoremanX Quote
I have no idea what values the HDR feature uses, it only has a "normal" and "strong" setting. But the Exposure Bracketing can go up to +/- 2 EV at 3 images, and +/- 4 EV at 5 images (2 EV difference per image). The +/- setting can be adjusted by 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps, depending on the setting in the Custom Menu.

When using 5 images and the max +/- EV setting, the range ends up covering almost the whole EV line. It's pretty neat.
Sounds like Dpreview review of the K7 was accurate. But even so, as you said, plus or minus 4 adds an additional 8EV stops to the sensor's approximate 10, so just about the whole visual range is covered, or close enough.

What i don't know is why the Nikon approach is to go up by 1 EV step at a time. Makes for a lot more file and memory storage.

thanks for info.

01-18-2010, 01:34 AM   #5
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I think in camera HDR gives pretty poor results with little to no control.

The result isn't a HDR at all! Its a compressed dynamic range JPG.

Much better off with bracketed RAW shots in photoshop.
You then have a more useful real HDR file that you can change the compression of the lighting and the exposure level after the fact.

We use real high dynamic range images in 3d graphics all the time.


With my new Kx i've found HDR capture to be un needed 99% of the time with the sensor's amazing native dynamic range.
01-18-2010, 07:03 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
I think camera-based HDR right now is a bit of a marketing gimmick, because you can get far better results using the good multi-exposure capability of the k-7, handhold the camera, and then postprocess with far more latitude on the resulting image.
Agreed. However, I think the point of the "award" referred to in the OP is that the K-7 offers some of the best tools to do post-processing HDR. By covering a whole 8 EV range (in 5 images mode), we can get amazing HDR results through dedicated HDR software.
01-18-2010, 07:06 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by WerTicus Quote
I think in camera HDR gives pretty poor results with little to no control.

The result isn't a HDR at all! Its a compressed dynamic range JPG.
When I experimented with the in-camera HDR, I thought the contrast was horrible. I suppose it's a neat gimmick that could be improved over time. In the meantime, it just adds another bullet point to the list of features.
01-18-2010, 06:34 PM   #8
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Hi Phil, Jack Howard here. There's a lot of ground to cover quickly, so hold tight.

Here's what I said about the K-7 in its section in the HDR All-Star Story:

The 14.6 mp APS-C Pentax K-7 is the first SLR with a true in-camera HDR processing function that captures 3 shots at +/-3 and tone maps a single JPG output image, but that’s not the reason why the Pentax K-7 made this list. Here’s the reasons: One-touch Auto Exposure Bracketing burst setting options for a 3 or 5 shot AEB burst capture at up to 2 EVs for a very wide dynamic range capture sequence in under 1 second with fast shutter speeds and DNG Raw option for instant compatibility with all HDR generation programs.



In-camera HDR captures 3 shots at -3, 0 and +3 in under a second. But with AEB can go to five shots at -4, -2, 0, +2 and +4 in under one second. You've got to combine the Max EV spacing and number of shots to get the full span.

And the K-x?

The full production K-x running FW v1.0 sitting right in front of me can AEB 3 shots at up to 3 EV spacing–the same spacing it uses for in-camera HDRI.

Please note well that NOWHERE in HDR All-Stars or other pieces I've written on the K-7 do I ever state that Auto Exposure Bracketing (not in-camera HDR) on the Pentax K-7 can be spaced at 3 EVs.

Honestly, Pentax is worlds ahead of many companies when it comes to AEB features. The most economical camera in Canon's lineup that matches the K-x AEB span is the 7D. And the 5DMII only does 3 shots at 2 EVs! Nikon has an SLR in market that doesn't even have an AEB sequence, and a handful of newer names in the photo biz totally hobble AEB sequences even in flagship cameras.

Does that make sense now?

On another note, I've started a group on Facebook about HDRI, and the forums on Christian Bloch's HDRLabs are a great source of information from my fellow Rocky Nook author.
Stop by!

~~~~

PS: GormanX: In-camera HDR with these two models works best with truly wide dynamic range scenes. Otherwise, it can produce halo artifacts.

~~~

01-18-2010, 06:55 PM   #9
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God how I hate HDR. Natural looking HDR is fine. For example if someone fixes a blown out sky by taking two exposures I have no issue with that. But for the love of all that is holy why do people make pics like these?

HDR porn on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

my first HDR :-)) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

HDR Tank on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Red Beetle and Mosque 2 (HDR) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

What's worse is most HDR pics I see come through flickr are simply boring and poorly composed photos, but since they make them look like a bad LCD trip they usually get more views from idiots then most nice pics I see.

If I saw my camera produce an image like this sample Adorama uses I think I might put my camera on the ground and run over it repeatedly. For I would no longer trust it.


Do people honestly like pics that look like horribly done CGI? Give me an image sensor with good dynamic range like the Leica M9's. I don;t give two farts about HDR, and especially in-camera HDR.
01-18-2010, 07:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote

What i don't know is why the Nikon approach is to go up by 1 EV step at a time. Makes for a lot more file and memory storage.
When (rarely) I use HDR with my camera (K-x, has been a 40D and K20D in the past) I do the bracketing entirely manually in Tv mode, and often take as many as 15 exposures 1/2 stop apart at a time. Having multiple close-together exposures minimizes the extra noise and wierd artifacts introduced by HDR software, and just gives better gradations and tonalities overall.

QuoteOriginally posted by WerTicus Quote


With my new Kx i've found HDR capture to be un needed 99% of the time with the sensor's amazing native dynamic range.
Agreed. I'm running a bunch of K-x RAWs through lightroom right now, shots taken in some very high-contrast situations, and I often find myself shocked at just how much info I can get back from the shadows (and even the highlights, at times). It's easy to get a fake-HDR look from a single ISO 100 K-x RAW without the introduction of any real amount of extra noise.
01-18-2010, 07:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by TechTock Quote
Hi Phil, Jack Howard here. There's a lot of ground to cover quickly, so hold tight.

Here's what I said about the K-7 in its section in the HDR All-Star Story:

The 14.6 mp APS-C Pentax K-7 is the first SLR with a true in-camera HDR processing function that captures 3 shots at +/-3 and tone maps a single JPG output image, but that’s not the reason why the Pentax K-7 made this list. Here’s the reasons: One-touch Auto Exposure Bracketing burst setting options for a 3 or 5 shot AEB burst capture at up to 2 EVs for a very wide dynamic range capture sequence in under 1 second with fast shutter speeds and DNG Raw option for instant compatibility with all HDR generation programs.



In-camera HDR captures 3 shots at -3, 0 and +3 in under a second. But with AEB can go to five shots at -4, -2, 0, +2 and +4 in under one second. You've got to combine the Max EV spacing and number of shots to get the full span.

And the K-x?

The full production K-x running FW v1.0 sitting right in front of me can AEB 3 shots at up to 3 EV spacing–the same spacing it uses for in-camera HDRI.

Please note well that NOWHERE in HDR All-Stars or other pieces I've written on the K-7 do I ever state that Auto Exposure Bracketing (not in-camera HDR) on the Pentax K-7 can be spaced at 3 EVs.

Honestly, Pentax is worlds ahead of many companies when it comes to AEB features. The most economical camera in Canon's lineup that matches the K-x AEB span is the 7D. And the 5DMII only does 3 shots at 2 EVs! Nikon has an SLR in market that doesn't even have an AEB sequence, and a handful of newer names in the photo biz totally hobble AEB sequences even in flagship cameras.

Does that make sense now?

On another note, I've started a group on Facebook about HDRI, and the forums on Christian Bloch's HDRLabs are a great source of information from my fellow Rocky Nook author.
Stop by!

~~~~

PS: GormanX: In-camera HDR with these two models works best with truly wide dynamic range scenes. Otherwise, it can produce halo artifacts.

~~~
Jack Howard,
wow, thats amazing, i write a thread about your article and you reply within a day :-)

Thanks for the explanation, i didn't realize the differences between what the AEB can do and the onboard HDR program.

I am happily surprised that Pentax chose to upgrade the Kx to 3EV steps both in their AEB and onboard program. I had just decided not to be interested in buying a Kx anymore because i was not impressed with what seemed to be a sup-standard HDR installation - now i can put that camera back on my list.

Pentaxpoke - i agree with you and others - i think onboard HDR probably lacks the kind of flexibility of my current photomatrixpro and therefore am not interested in it.

My motivation in writing this thread was just to say: Way to go Pentax, and keep on expanding HDR options. I live nearby to a picturesque small town and occasionally see other photographers in action. about a year ago, said Hi to 2 photographers from a nearby town. They were taking handheld HDRs and were pretty hyped about it. about a week ago, i spread some HDR info on a table at our monthly photoclub meeting and about a dozen people came up to talk about it. Because of these 2 events and my own experience, i think HDR is on an upward trend and would like to see Pentax keep on top of the trend. The auto feature of my K20, and other's K7 and Kx, where you can press the shutter button one time and it takes 3 to 5 pics at the required shutter speeds is more than a luxury, its almost a necessity if you choose to combine HDR and panaramas.

Thanks to all who posted!! and esp to Jack who clarified the Pentax situation - how cool!

Last edited by philbaum; 01-18-2010 at 07:56 PM.
01-18-2010, 08:16 PM   #12
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You know what, I would like the option of going the other way. For hand held, I think that the sony two-shot system is better. I can't quite hand-hold the three shot steady enough on my K7 in anything other than bright daylight. It would still give the option of correcting a severely contrasted setting. It would also give the option of reducing in-shot movement. Given that as above, shadow DR range is very good, taking a highlight range shot to compensate sounds like a good idea.

Still, it is an interesting option, and given the use by the gentleman using it to shoot real estate interiors quickly (with a 12-24), with non-distorted, wide-DR shots with no CA. Not bad in my book.

I would also love to see HDR offered for stop-motion sequences - I can't understand why it is not on the meny now as a >45 second delay in the intervalometer (I could also ask why the intervalometer only goes up to 99 shots too, but that is another discussion).
01-18-2010, 08:29 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clarkey Quote
You know what, I would like the option of going the other way. For hand held, I think that the sony two-shot system is better. I can't quite hand-hold the three shot steady enough on my K7 in anything other than bright daylight. It would still give the option of correcting a severely contrasted setting. It would also give the option of reducing in-shot movement. Given that as above, shadow DR range is very good, taking a highlight range shot to compensate sounds like a good idea.

Still, it is an interesting option, and given the use by the gentleman using it to shoot real estate interiors quickly (with a 12-24), with non-distorted, wide-DR shots with no CA. Not bad in my book.

I would also love to see HDR offered for stop-motion sequences - I can't understand why it is not on the meny now as a >45 second delay in the intervalometer (I could also ask why the intervalometer only goes up to 99 shots too, but that is another discussion).
Clarkey,
I agree, why not have a drop down menu like they do for multiple exposures, and let one choose between 2 to 9 in number. For some of my 3 shot sequences, where something got into the 3rd shot i don't like, i've just dropped to the 2 shots i like, and the program still did a good job. As far as handholding, i only have the K20, and in some gray rainy weather, i haven't had problem handholding and aligning 3 shots, using Pentax SR of course. I've read that the alignment algorithyms have improved recently, perhaps you need to upgrade if its been awhile. I was just blown away that the alignment was that good in photomatix, and i'm a relative newcomer to the process.
01-18-2010, 08:46 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Art Vandelay II Quote
God how I hate HDR. Natural looking HDR is fine. For example if someone fixes a blown out sky by taking two exposures I have no issue with that. But for the love of all that is holy why do people make pics like these?

HDR porn on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

my first HDR :-)) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

HDR Tank on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Red Beetle and Mosque 2 (HDR) on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

What's worse is most HDR pics I see come through flickr are simply boring and poorly composed photos, but since they make them look like a bad LCD trip they usually get more views from idiots then most nice pics I see.

If I saw my camera produce an image like this sample Adorama uses I think I might put my camera on the ground and run over it repeatedly. For I would no longer trust it.


Do people honestly like pics that look like horribly done CGI? Give me an image sensor with good dynamic range like the Leica M9's. I don;t give two farts about HDR, and especially in-camera HDR.
Thanks for pointing these out. I enjoyed viewing them. These images are bold and colorful and they, like yellow Hummers and red Lamborghinis scream "look at me" which is most likely why they are viewed so often. They are "dynamic" by definition.

dy·nam·ic (d-nmk)
adj. also dy·nam·i·cal (--kl)
1.
a. Of or relating to energy or to objects in motion.
b. Of or relating to the study of dynamics.
2. Characterized by continuous change, activity, or progress: a dynamic market.
3. Marked by intensity and vigor; forceful. See Synonyms at active.
4. Of or relating to variation of intensity, as in musical sound.

Like this tank hdr which evokes a sense of fury and crushing power/intensity in motion.

Flickr Photo Download: Tank2.jpg

So, in answer to your question, yes, many of us do enjoy this as a form of visual expression. And I would enjoy seeing a video of you repeatedly running over you camera, provided it was done in HDR... LOL!!

Last edited by ivoire; 01-18-2010 at 08:59 PM.
01-18-2010, 09:03 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ivoire Quote
Like this tank hdr which evokes a sense of fury and crushing power/intensity in motion.

So, in answer to your question, yes, many of us do enjoy this as a form of visual expression.
To each his/her own I guess. To me it looks like someone gave a 10 year old Photoshop and said: ok Timmy, have fun, paint. They also remind me of those tacky ass airbrushed license plates you see at amusement parks. Oooh, good idea. I may have to break out my old airbrush and make an HDR t-shirt of some palm trees with a tank in front of it with a nuclear orange sunset. It would be beeee-u-tiful.
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