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08-05-2009, 02:19 PM   #1
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In camera HDR with the Pentax K-7

Did anybody get any good results with this new feature yet and has any good tips and examples? Or you think that the traditional way with software like Photomatix Pro etc. is a better way for good results.

08-05-2009, 04:09 PM   #2
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I've had some good results. Not every scene needing HDR will work out with the in-camera version. A tripod and stationary subject is a must - no exceptions. I've tried a couple of trees and it looks fuzzy if there's any breeze at all. I've been using natural rather than bright for my jpg image mode and find that there's less color saturation than I would get with using Photomatix (I've done some comparisons). That can be a plus in some cases as I occasionally find Photomatix needs toning down sometimes, but it doesn't work well at all for brilliantly colored sunrises. For scenes with skies and trees you'll get some halos, so these are probably done better with Photomatix where you can control them better, or do a composite with the sky from a normally exposed picture and the rest from the HDR version.

For the most part I'll shoot the in-camera hdr and also a set of 5 auto-bracket frames, then see whether I like the Photomatix version better than the in-camera one, it's gone both ways. I really like the extra Ev range of the K-7, it makes for better Photomatix pictures. I know I could do it manually by figuring out the appropriate exposure for the highlights and shadows but I can't seem to remember all of the numbers once I've metered. I'd rather let the camera figure it all out for me and not have to remember anything.
08-05-2009, 04:16 PM   #3
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Hi Urs

See this thread on the subject:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/61102-k7-hdr-brack...ght=pentax+hdr

Best regards
Richard
08-06-2009, 07:56 AM   #4
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I'm sure that others could post better examples, but here are a couple of mine. This first one doesn't look like it would need HDR, but it did - the charred bark was much darker than the almost white parts of the wood in front. On the regular exposure one, the bark was black and the lightest parts of the other wood were blown out. Photomatix's version of the auto-bracketed set significantly over-saturated the brown on the left side - looked very strange. This is the in-camera version, which is the one I liked best as its closest to what I remembered.



Here is a set showing comparisons between the various methods. I thought this example gave a reasonable example:

First, the scene as the camera thought it should be exposed (blown highlights and no detail on the bark):



These next two were in-camera HDR versions. I don't now remember which was HDR1 and which HDR2:





I suspect the first one is HDR1. You can see that they aren't the same. Of the series I took, I prefer the first one - the second one shows halos around the trees on the right side.

Here's the Photomatix version, using the default settings.



The one nice thing about Photomatix is that you can change the settings to get something better than this, but I wanted to see the comparison what it would do "out of the box". I didn't like how it handled the blue sky at all, and prefer one of the two in-camera HDR versions.

As you can see - I had the camera set to natural mode and the HDR versions look a little pale. I think next time I try in-camera HDR again, I'll use bright mode and see if it keeps more of the color saturation. In the first example I posted, the less saturation helped the picture and in the comparisons, I don't think it hurt. If I were to really try my best with this scene, I'd probably take the second one and use Lightroom to boost the saturation of the yellows and oranges a bit, leaving the sky and the greens alone.

08-06-2009, 01:28 PM   #5
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Assuming that is a gravel road on the right, the Photomatix version maintained the texture of that road. I don't see any gravel on the others. Is that the way you see it? I haven't calibrated my monitor yet, so I could be seeing things.

But I do like the in-camera result. Very pleasing and much better than the extremes in the non-HDR example.
08-06-2009, 04:05 PM   #6
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Interesting that you noticed the texture of the dirt road (it's dirt, not gravel). The pictures are hosted on zenfolio and when I looked at larger versions of the pictures (there are larger but not full sized pictures there), you can see the texture best in the Photomatix version, but it's also visible in the second in-camera HDR picture, too. Zenfolio's resizing down took out the detail the larger one shows. The first one has a hint of the texture, but not much, with the non-HDR version is blown out completely. I had been looking more at the shadows, looking for texture in the bark and hadn't noticed the road at all. I love it when others look at my pictures because they'll see things I miss - thanks for bringing that up.
08-06-2009, 05:32 PM   #7
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Thanks everybody for the answers and tips, will try a bit more over the weekend.
08-06-2009, 07:23 PM   #8
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How does the simplicity vs. complexity of shooting HDR in-camera compare with using post-processing HDR software? I understand they have to be shot in jpg. Other than that, what other limitations are there? If the results are generally good (superior in high contrast situations) and the in-camera process is significantly simpler, this appears to be a very worthwhile feature.

How well does the processed result show on the camera display?

Obviously you can still post-porocess the images that comprised the in-camera HDR image in external HDR software as mtngal demonstrated.


Last edited by gfmucci; 08-06-2009 at 07:28 PM.
08-07-2009, 05:16 PM   #9
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well here my first attempt at in camera HDR with the K-7
A nice tropical sunrise from my stay in the Daintree rain-forrest

If i didn't have the feature i would have been stuck with a normal sunrise shot with dark foreground, so a handy feature to have.
Cheers
08-07-2009, 08:05 PM   #10
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That's a better sunrise picture than what I got when I tried one - mine washed out the colors too much and it was a really colorful one, too. Your sunrise looks more subdued, still quite pretty.

As far as complexity - I don't find either in-camera or software HDR pictures all THAT difficult or complex. I don't always get what I want as some scenes just don't lend themselves to this process. The biggest limitation I think with the in-camera HDR pictures is that you have to use a tripod. Photomatix can line up your frames a bit if you hand-hold and they aren't too far off (i.e., you move the camera slightly). Both processes don't handle moving objects at all well, so that's a wash.

You can easily see the results on the LCD when the camera finishes processing it. It takes longer than just writing a picture to the card but not all that long of a time, and the LCD screen is accurate enough to see if the picture came out nicely or not.

It doesn't have as broad of a dynamic range as you can get with software, you can see that with my comparison examples. I find it quite useful, simple to set up and so always worth trying. But I can't say that it would always give you a better product than using the one-shutter setting for a 5 frame auto exposure bracketing, using 1 or 2 stops between frames. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won't.

As a somewhat related subject - yesterday at the Redondo Beach presentation, they demonstrated an added feature with the multi-exposure feature. After you take your first picture, that picture appears on the LCD with the live view, so you can actually see how your multiple frames are going to line up. Having played with multiple frames a bit with the K20, I thought that was a welcome addition - I might actually find the feature useful now.
08-09-2009, 06:41 AM   #11
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Had a night outing few days ago. Since HDR is a new thing, I just gave it a go at night.

This is what I get.

First photo without HDR, and second photo is with HDR1 setting. Don't worry about the color gradient issue with photo 2, as that is due to bad JPEG compression. The light in tower will change every few sec, so the purple and the red got nothing to do with K7 color processing.
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08-09-2009, 06:52 AM   #12
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Here's one with the HDR2 setting, totally over the top tonal curve added in PP

08-10-2009, 04:20 AM   #13
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just a quick HDR test this morning. sorry I need to rush this one as I'm about to fall asleep. I'm looking forward on testing it further, tomorrow.

08-10-2009, 06:26 AM   #14
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That would be a good shot to post a "before" shot with it. Which HDR setting was used? How many stops between the 3 exposures?
08-10-2009, 09:39 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pasipasi Quote
Here's one with the HDR2 setting, totally over the top tonal curve added in PP

I think that is the only photo shown so far that really shows in-camera HDR well. I think the other scenes really need to be done with exposure bracketing and then doing HDR manually.
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