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12-10-2013, 09:37 PM   #1
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K-3 HDR. Does it work?

Yesterday I made a quick test. I photographed a flower against a window without HDR and with HDR auto +/-2 and +/-3. It was rather bright outside and I thought that HDR will help to increase the DD of the scene.
Then I opened all three files (all of them were .dng) in the Adobe Camera Raw. All files looked the same. Then I began to move the exposure slider of each image and the lights and darks of all three images still looked the same! There didn't appear any additional details in the lights and darks on both of HDR images no matter that they are about 90Mb each (instead of about 30Mb of non-HDR). Why is that? What am I doing wrong here?

12-10-2013, 10:03 PM   #2
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HDR is for jpeg only, it does all the processing in-body and outputs a jpeg. You have to do it manually if you're using DNG.
12-10-2013, 10:12 PM   #3
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From the K30 manual, probably the same for K3:

HDR Capture is not available in the following situations.


when the file format is set to [RAW] or [RAW+]

when B mode is set


During HDR Capture or in Z (Night Scene HDR) mode, the following

functions are not available.



- Continuous Shooting - Exposure Bracketing


- Flash discharge - Multi-exposure


- Digital Filter


If Z (Night Scene HDR) is selected, settings for this mode override the

settings for HDR Capture.


During HDR Capture or in Z (Night Scene HDR) mode, multiple images are

combined together to create a single image, so it will take time to save an image.


12-10-2013, 11:01 PM   #4
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Wait, as far as I understood, K-3 is the first Pentax camera that lets you shoot HDR even in RAW. If it is not so then why is such a difference in sizes of .dng files? An average file size of ordinary .dng is about 30Mb but an average file size of HDR .dng is about 90Mb!

12-10-2013, 11:53 PM   #5
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Previous Pentax DSLR menus excluded setting HDR capture in RAW, but the K-3 allows it. I must admit I've not done much in-camera HDR with mine yet, but with what I've done, I have wondered how well it was working, too.
12-11-2013, 12:01 AM   #6
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RAW HDR does work on the K-3. I just ran a test using the same scene, with HDR on (auto) and off sequentially. So, I'm not sure why your results were inconclusive. I did set the exposure bracketing to +/- 2EV.
12-11-2013, 12:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by skyer Quote
Then I opened all three files (all of them were .dng) in the Adobe Camera Raw.
Open them in Pentax Digital Camera Utility 5, supplied with the camera.
ACR is probably not aware of how to work with these fancy new HDR DNG's.
12-11-2013, 12:31 AM   #8
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Oh, yes, I should have tried Pentax Digital Camera Utility 5 at first. Maybe ACR really doesn't know about K-3's HDRs yet. I will try it today.

12-11-2013, 01:10 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
HDR is for jpeg only, it does all the processing in-body and outputs a jpeg. You have to do it manually if you're using DNG.
The K-3 actually supports HDR RAW files. In HDR mode the raw file is around 100Mb

And it works quite well!

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12-11-2013, 03:14 AM   #10
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I opened .dng and .dng HDR (+3/-3 EV, HDR auto) files in PCDU 5. On both images there is the sky that looks overexposed. I dragged the exposure slider all to the left on both images but I didn't find any major differencies in DD of the sky between the HDR and non-HDR images. Am I doing something wrong here? If I had 3 images (0EV, +3EV and -3EV) and then manually merged them in photoshop then there would have been an unquestionable visible difference between the merged image and a single 0EV image.
Here are the screenshots of my manipulations in PCDU 5:
1. HDR

2. Non-HDR

And here is a link to the raw files and out of the camera jpegs (I shot RAW+) - https://copy.com/KcI8Mg6Refbb
As it can be seen, when comparing ot of the camera jpegs, one can see a difference between the HDR and non-HDR images.
Attached Images
   
12-11-2013, 04:47 AM   #11
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The 90 MB raw file actually contains three images. To see the individual images open in DCU5 and go to Tools>Separation of raw files..
This will then save the three images as distinct DNGs which are the actual raw images captured.

I find that in general HDR doesn't deal that well with situations having very bright highlights, such as shooting into the sun or very bright illuminated signs. Unfortuantely exposure compensation seems to be over-ridden by the HDR bracketing so it doesn;t help by adding exposure compensation. You can still however achieve the result by setting manually. Just measure in manual and

I wish they would have done a +/-5 or more range for HDR. Given the already high dynamic range of the sensor they could afford to have the individual images spaced much wider in terms of EV. And given that there is now an imaging exposure meter they could also make it such that the shortest exposure would automatically ensure that there are no bllown highlights while the longest one would ensure there are no areas that are too dark.

You can of course always shoot three (or more) separate images manually with any ev range you like but the HDR function (as implemented on K-3) is very useful because you have both the convenience of getting a good preview of the result in the LCD immediately while at the same time saving the raw images for better post processing if needed.
12-11-2013, 05:22 AM   #12
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OK, it is possible to separate a combined HDR raw file. It's good to have such an option.
However does a combined HDR-raw deliver any VISIBLE benefits in comparison to a non-HDR-raw? How can I find an increased DD in a raw editor? To me both files look absolutely the same. (As for jpegs out of the camera, there is a visible difference but HDR-jpegs is not what many of us are looking for).
12-11-2013, 05:51 AM   #13
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I expect the advantage of having three exposures in one file would be mostly performance in the field, with the camera keeping some parameters in line between the images, without the photographer having to keep an eye on this. These parameters might change from one exposure to the next when bracketing normally, which may cause difficult to recover inconsistencies during PP (different DOF or ISO noise between shots). Perhaps the camera might also act a bit faster in this HDR mode compared to bracketing (writing only one file, fewer CPU activities between shots)? Though I cannot see that latter point amounting to more than a few milliseconds difference.

Anyway, it seems to me that classical bracketing is still more versatile. My default setting, Av mode with a fixed ISO, is enough to keep images sufficiently consistent for combining in PP (WB can be synched easily in PP on RAW images). I have the RAW button configured to activate bracketing, so taking images for HDR is only one button press from default for me. I find myself mostly bracketing 5 images 2 stops apart, and in PP selecting between 2 and 4 images that cover the scene's entire DR. I rarely need all 5, and the central 3 (as taken in HDR mode) are not necessarily the images I need to get a decent result either (it's often the outlying shots). I often already delete some unneeded images of the series from my card in-camera, thus saving space if only 2 are needed (or if 1 image does cover the entire DR!! With the K-5 that happened sometimes when I didn't expect it). Cannot do that if all exposures are in one huge file.

I continue to consider this a nice gimmick for JPG shooters. I don't suppose third party software manufacturers will implement support for these multi image RAW files anytime soon in their RAW workflow software, so I don't consider it useable for serious RAW shooting for me.

Wim

Last edited by Ishpuini; 12-11-2013 at 05:57 AM.
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