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02-09-2008, 04:03 PM   #1
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K10D dynamic range...ISO100, single exposure HDR

Some people have mentioned in the past that the K10D has less dynamic range than the competition despite the 22 bit a/d conversion (I think I got that right).

I've noticed that I can pull a LOT of detail out of an ISO100 image by processing the raw files twice, and combining using the 'ghetto HDR' method. Import one image to expose properly for shadows, and one for proper exposure of highlights. Add a layer mask, and voila.

Results? Pretty amazing. The dynamic range may not be present in a single raw or jpg, but you can find a TON of detail in the shadows at ISO100.

Check this example:

Original exposure (default ACR levels):


Increase exposure by ~2.00 stops:


Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, and let stand for 15 minutes:



Very little noise in the shadows, even after being bumped by two full stops. Very nice, IMHO.
Cheers,
Damian

02-09-2008, 04:54 PM   #2
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It's.. why it's down right film like!
02-09-2008, 05:29 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
Some people have mentioned in the past that the K10D has less dynamic range than the competition despite the 22 bit a/d conversion (I think I got that right).

I've noticed that I can pull a LOT of detail out of an ISO100 image by processing the raw files twice, and combining using the 'ghetto HDR' method. Import one image to expose properly for shadows, and one for proper exposure of highlights. Add a layer mask, and voila.

Results? Pretty amazing. The dynamic range may not be present in a single raw or jpg, but you can find a TON of detail in the shadows at ISO100.

Check this example:

Original exposure (default ACR levels):


Very little noise in the shadows, even after being bumped by two full stops. Very nice, IMHO.
Cheers,
Damian
Wow Damian, Do I know that street? Rua Aurea (Rua do Ouro) . I pass there almost everyday!
How come you have not said anything about your trip?
Cheers,
Rui
02-09-2008, 08:04 PM   #4
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Nice work.

02-09-2008, 08:06 PM   #5
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Hey Rui,

I work all over the world...I'll be in Portugal for a few months this year, not in Lisbon, but I'll probably be down for visits now and again just to get back to the buzz of the city after working in the country for some stretches...

I love Lisbon, and Portugal!!!
02-10-2008, 06:29 AM   #6
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So, what's the difference between

A) Using multiple exposures from a single RAW

and

B) Processing a single exposure and bumping the shadows?

Shouldn't you be able to pull off the same thing without all the fuss?

- Andrew
02-10-2008, 07:39 AM   #7
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Yep, K10D Gives you actually a very high dynamic range, it just requires a little work to lighten the shadows. And in ISO100 there is no noise at all after highlighting shadows... I only wish that camera would do this automatically for JPEG shots, as Panasonic prosumer cameras do.
02-10-2008, 10:48 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by AndrewShirley Quote
So, what's the difference between

A) Using multiple exposures from a single RAW

and

B) Processing a single exposure and bumping the shadows?

Shouldn't you be able to pull off the same thing without all the fuss?

- Andrew
Hey Andrew,

It doesn't quite work that way. You can't process a single raw to capture both highlights and shadows...you have to compromise one or the other. And you definitely can't do this in JPEG, as too much information is thrown away in the downsample conversion to jpeg.

02-10-2008, 03:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
Hey Rui,

I work all over the world...I'll be in Portugal for a few months this year, not in Lisbon, but I'll probably be down for visits now and again just to get back to the buzz of the city after working in the country for some stretches...

I love Lisbon, and Portugal!!!
Olá Damian

Nice to hear that. When you come back send a PM. I would be pleased to meet. I have seen the other photos in Smugmug. Nice captures. Enjoy your trips.
Obrigado
Rui
02-10-2008, 03:13 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
Hey Andrew,

It doesn't quite work that way. You can't process a single raw to capture both highlights and shadows...you have to compromise one or the other.
Of course you can, if before the RAW file is imported you have adjusted exposure/shadows so that neither the shadows or highlights are clipped then the resultant file will contain the entire exposure range, there is no more data.
02-10-2008, 03:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by distudio Quote
Of course you can, if before the RAW file is imported you have adjusted exposure/shadows so that neither the shadows or highlights are clipped then the resultant file will contain the entire exposure range, there is no more data.
I would be happy to send you my raw file if you want to try it your way...but I assure you that there is no single exposure setting in ACR that will ensure proper exposure for both highlights and shadows. There is too much dynamic range.

Somebody please back me up here.
02-10-2008, 04:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
I would be happy to send you my raw file if you want to try it your way...but I assure you that there is no single exposure setting in ACR that will ensure proper exposure for both highlights and shadows. There is too much dynamic range.

Somebody please back me up here.
I assure you that all the information is contained in the import file if you ensure that neither highlights or shadows are clipped during RAW conversion. However if you expect the RAW converted file to come tumbling into the edit application looking like an HDR shot I can understand your claim. You have to apply tone mapping techniques in order to reveal the hidden/compressed details in the shadows/highlights otherwise the normal contrast curves will mask these details.
02-10-2008, 04:15 PM   #13
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Sorry......

QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
I would be happy to send you my raw file if you want to try it your way...but I assure you that there is no single exposure setting in ACR that will ensure proper exposure for both highlights and shadows. There is too much dynamic range.

Somebody please back me up here.
Actually both are fairly equal (converter dependent), and both are not really HDR. BUT it
does show how much is ACTUALLY there from the initial capture............
Of course this is from a "commercial" site but the arguement is valid from other discussions I read....
Can't I just create the exposures from one RAW file?
Not really. Your RAW file contains data captured by the sensors for only one exposure. The total dynamic range you can reconstruct from one photo converted with different exposure settings can never be more than the dynamic range captured by your camera, and this is rather limited (see above).
When you are using only one exposure to capture the scene, your RAW file is already your HDR image.
Converting the RAW file to images with different exposure levels is a bit like slicing the dynamic range of the RAW into several parts. Combining the parts back into an HDR image will at best re-produce the dynamic range of the initial RAW file.
That said, if you are using a good RAW converter to derive fake exposures from a single RAW file, you will probably notice that the HDR image created from the fake exposures shows more dynamic range than the pseudo-HDR image obtained by converting the single RAW file directly. This is because your RAW converter includes a good noise reduction function, and this has an important effect on the dynamic range. You RAW converter may also include the ability to continue to retrieve highlights details when one or two of the color channels have already reached saturation.
So, a good RAW converter includes functions designed to optimize the dynamic range retrieved from the raw sensor data, but this does not change the fact that the dynamic range of a RAW file is limited to one exposure only. Unless the dynamic range of your scene is low, you will need to take more than one exposure to create an HDR image of the scene.

HDR images in photography - About Dynamic Range, Tone Mapping and HDR Imaging for Photography
02-10-2008, 04:23 PM   #14
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That makes sense...of course I call it "ghetto HDR" because you're not getting more dynamic range than the single exposure can produce, but IMHO I can get better image characteristics from a VERY high DR image through multiple exposures, rather than RAW processing software.

To me, the curves I would have to introduce into ACR to get the same results would be so severe and complex that it would be very difficult to duplicate the effect...plus, I don't want to mess with any part of the histogram/curve other than the area that is missing the detail....in this case the shadows.

IMHO the single-step raw processing method is fine for TWEAKING an image to get some extra dynamic range, but if you're looking to go to an extreme, the "multi-raw processing" technique is faster, and more precise.
02-10-2008, 05:43 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
IMHO the single-step raw processing method is fine for TWEAKING an image to get some extra dynamic range, but if you're looking to go to an extreme, the "multi-raw processing" technique is faster, and more precise.
It all depends on the users experience I guess, I can pretty quickly obtain an well rendered image from an original with extreme contrast using the shadows/highlight tool (which is effectively a tone mapping filter) and the curves tool. And any image that doesn't lend its self to image wide transforms I mask then and then apply contrast reduction techniques, I find this method offers great control and precision. And if I want to go crazy I can always import a 16bit TIFF into an HDR application and apply tone mapping there.
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