1-stop HDR bracketing on E-M10

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by RAH, May 20, 2016.

  1. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    For HDR on the E-M10 (mark I), I want 5 shots, with 1 f-stop between each (i.e. -2, -1, 0, +1, +2). I find that this covers most contingencies (you can throw away any shots that aren't necessary).

    To implement this, it's easy enough to set the AE bracket settings. Then you have to press the shutter 5 times to take the 5 shots.

    Here's my problem/question: if you use continuous shooting (i.e. hold the shutter down and you take a burst of shots as long as you hold), you can quickly take the 5 shots. BUT, the camera is really stupid and will not stop when it reaches the 5 bracketed shots; it will start another bracketed sequence. It is essentially impossible to time your shutter press to stop at exactly the end of a sequence. [edit: this is incorrect - see my posting below from 5/20; the camera does stop at the end of the bracket]

    I say this is stupid because I recently bought a Canon 80D DSLR and it has a similar capability, but if you use continuous shooting (hold the shutter button down), the camera will STOP at the end of the bracket sequence, even if you hold the shutter button down beyond the end of the sequence of shots. This is pretty obviously MUCH better.

    I am wondering if Olympus might fix such a problem with a firmware update, perhaps (or maybe allow 1-stop increments on the built-in HDR function itself so I wouldn't have to roll my own like this). Or perhaps someone has a solution.

    I do know how to set an automated sequence (press the shutter button once and get all 5 shots taken automatically) and have been using it - set up a Custom self-timer and set it to the same number of shots (5) as the bracketing. This works very well, but the shortest time between shots is .5 seconds, which is actually kind of slow in actual usage outside. Simply holding the shutter down for a burst would be better, if it would just stop at the end of the sequnce!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
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  2. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    I don't know of any solution. HDR mode works with one button press but I presume your point is that it doesn't allow a wide enough exposure range. And the custom self-timer has the restriction of the gap between shots as you mentioned. I have seen a few threads on this both here and on DPreview and those are the only options I have seen mentioned.

    I notice this seems to be mentioned in relation to the E-M10 in particular, I wonder if there is something different in the implementation on other Olympus models that gets around this issue (more options for built-in HDR?). But in any case I would be surprised to see a firmware update to improve functionality for the Mark 1 E-M10 at this stage.
     
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  3. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Page 81 of the user manual, makes the camera smart ;-) But smart things don't always do things exactly the way you want.
     
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  4. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

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    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Have you met my wife?
     
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  5. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southeastern USA
    Bobby
    This sounds odd, I use bracketing HDR mode on my E-M1 and have always had the camera for single shot mode but when shooting 5 bracketed HDR images I only press the button once and hold the shutter button down for a couple of seconds and it fires off 5 super quick exposures and stops, then I release my finger off the shutter button. I can keep holding the shutter button down but no more shots will be taken, I have to let the shutter button reset and press again to start another 5 shot sequence. I can't imagine why Olympus would do this for an E-M1 and not for an E-M10?
     
  6. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    Yes, that is how HDR mode works on the EM10 too. But I think RAH is saying he doesn't want to use HDR mode as the bracket is not wide enough.
     
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  7. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    592
    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    Page 81 describes the built in HDR mode. But I had the impression RAH already knows about that but it doesn't have the specific bracketing options he wants. Maybe I have misunderstood.
     
  8. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    What is wrong with the HDR mode that takes 5 shots with 2 EV steps? It doesn't do a composite image, just 5 different shots with just one button press.

    It does not work with self timer though. Maybe you can use a remote shutter (do not know if OI Share supports HDR modes, maybe an hardware one)?
     
  9. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    Guys, the built-in HDR mode uses 2-stop EV steps. I want 1-stop EV steps (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2, as I mentioned). The HDR mode is not useful for me as it stands. I would gladly use it if it had 1-stop steps. I think the 2-stop steps is an odd choice by Olympus. I have a Panasonic GM5 and it uses 1-stop steps in a similar feature, I think (I haven't used it yet). I realize that it depends on the scene you are shooting, but 1-stop steps is more useful for most scenes I have encountered.
     
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  10. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Uh on my E-M1 with any sort of bracketing and burst hi, with the shutter held down it fires off the necessary shots and stops after the appropriate count.
     
  11. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    Perhaps I'm wrong about this then - I hope I am! I will try it again and post what happens. It would be great if I am wrong...
     
  12. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    Well, this is embarrassing - I was wrong. As wjiang (and others) said, when I used a burst mode with exposure bracketing, it did indeed stop at the number of shots in the bracket, even if I continued to hold my finger on the shutter release. So it works just like the 80D (the way I thought it should). Hmmm. I must have been hallucinating when I tried it awhile ago and thought it didn't stop at the bracketed number of shots. Thanks for helping folks! This is very good news! :)
     
  13. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    I have modified my original posting to say that my premise was incorrect - in continuous-shot mode, the camera does in fact stop after taking all the bracketed shots in the sequence. I cannot imagine why I thought this was not the case. I remember trying it months ago and being unhappy about it NOT stopping. Perhaps I was trying with a different camera (maybe my 60D?), but I remember I was trying a 5-shot bracket, so it seems like it must have been the E-M10.

    Anyway, I still think it is a real shame that Olympus has set the built-in HDR function to have a fixed 2-stop increment/decrement. It is GREAT that you have the option of not combining the result into one image. I checked and the GM5 and the 80D's built-in HDR modes both have no option to keep the images separate (so you can use HDR software to combine them later). But at least those cameras allow you to modify the HDR increment (+-1, +-2, etc). If Olympus would just add the option to adjust the increment, the built-in HDR mode would be perfect.

    But at least I now know that I can easily use regular bracketing and get what I want. :)
     
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  14. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Can you explain me why? It's an honest question, maybe I'm missing something. I really cannot see how 1-stop vs 2-stops can make any difference.
    Let's say that the camera covers 13 stops. The shots, exposed at 10 EV, would be

    10 +/- 6
    8 +/- 6
    6 +/- 6
    12 +/- 6
    14 +/- 6

    So you cover 20 stops with a lot of overlap. Why is one stop better? It looks worst to me. What would change in your PP? These are RAW shots, there is much more then one stop of latitude.
     
  15. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

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    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    Well, in my experience, a +2 stop exposure is usually too bright throughout the image, and a -2 stop exposure is too dark throughout the image - i.e. there are few usable areas for the HDR combining software to make use of.

    A +1 stop exposure usually gets you a brighter than normal exposure (but still usable) for some areas, and same for -1 (darker but usable).

    HDR software works by taking the various useable areas of each image and combining them. So if the middle (0) exposure image has some blown-out areas, it will look for a non-blown-out area in one of the darker images in the bracket. A -2 step exposure is usually too dark for most images. What you need is the more subtle -1 exposure in most cases.

    Besides, with the ability to use 1-stop exposure brackets, you can still get -2 and +2, -3 and +3, etc. You can always discard any images you don't want. It's more flexible.

    I'm not quite sure why you are thinking that say 10 stops (or even 6) over perfect exposure is at all usable. It would be essentially a pure white image with no detail. Anything more than about +3 will be like this, in my experience. So doing a 5 image bracket with 2-stop steps would give you -4, -2, 0, +2, +4. The -4 image and the +4 image will be essentially useless, in my experience.

    If you read any descriptions of how to do HDR photography manually (i.e. changing the exposure yourself on each shot) instead of using some automated camera ability, I think you will find that they almost always say to use a 1-stop step (+-) between each shot.
     
  16. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    Klorenzo, I set up a demo of HDR a few years ago for some friends. I think it might help in this discussion. See it here:

    HDR Demo - Tuck front, 2012

    I used a 1-stop increment between each shot (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2)

    The -2 and +2 images (1st and 5th) do contribute some areas to the final result, but so do the -1 and +1 images (the 2nd and 4th). Without the 2nd and 4th images, the HDR software would only have the very dark and very bright 1st and 5th image to fix any poor areas in the middle (3rd) image.

    I am not at all saying that +2 and -2 are not a good thing to have in HDR bracketing. I am saying that -1 and +1 are also good to have, as are -3 and +3 sometimes. The more the merrier!

    Hope this helps. This is all IMHO, of course.
     
  17. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Veteran

    I find your statement confusing. I'm just starting to explore HDR and ALL of the HDR utilities I've tried, recommend at least a 2 stop step deviation between shots, and a few simply won't USE a series of photos with less than a 2 stop deviation. PSP X6's built in HDR utility does allow for any variance you seem to want to use though.

    It strikes me that if you shoot raw, you can adjust the raw sequence by one EV value in your raw editor and then convert them to tif or jpg before making the composite image. I should think the modern workflow tools like Lightroom and ACDSee should make automating this pretty easy. I know ACDSee can do this, and I assume the other workflow tools can too.
     
  18. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    I prefer 1-stop steps, so I guess we'll just have to disagree. That demo I posted above shows that even a 1-stop step is quite a lot of difference, and by the time you are at 2 stops you are getting near the edge of usability, IMHO. So what good would a 4 step difference be, in most cases? I suppose that a 3-shot bracket, with -2, 0, +2 is OK, but I think a 5 shot bracket of -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 (which includes the same images, but adds 2 more) is more flexible and gives the HDR software more options to work with (assuming it allows 1-stop steps). Isn't this kind of obvious?

    Every tutorial I have seen recommends 1-stop steps, but as with this discussion, different people have different opinions. I agree with you that you could adjust most RAW images +- 1 stop, but I kind of think that one of the ideas with HDR is to make it unnecessary for you to do all this manual work. I mean, the idea is to take a series of shots and hand them over to the HDR utility to do its thing.
     
  19. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Thanks for your answer, but I still fail to see any advantage of these micro steps while I see a big disadvantage for any scene with a wide dynamic range that is exactly where you use HDR.

    If your scene has 25 EV of dynamic range a 5 shots 1-stop stepped won't extend much the base range of the camera (only 4 EV, while you are missing 12 here).

    I took a look at your shots. The darkest one has a lot of highlights clipping in the sky mostly in the blue channel. The brightest shot has clipping in the darkest shadows of plants, not a very interesting detail in this case but it means that +2 stops was not enough to capture these shadows.

    I agree that +2, +1, 0, -1, -2 is a little better then +2, 0, -2 but a +4, +2, 0, -2, -4 is much better than both as you would have much less clippings in the extremes tones. And the unclipped shadows would be with much less noise.
    Even if the +1 version is not present the software can easily create it on the base of the next shot, especially with RAW. When you have the +2 shot without clippings it is really easy to go to +1 because you captured even more light then you needed (like you do with ETTR).

    If you have a bright sky and land the +4 and -4 would be the only shots with those parts perfectly exposed, almost the more important shots of the sequence in my experience.
     
  20. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Rich
    You make some interesting points, and you seem more knowledgeable than I am in this area, so perhaps I am incorrect in wanting what you refer to as "micro-steps." They don't look all that micro to my eyes, but maybe the software is able to ferret out info better than I've been assuming (especially with RAW). I will try some 2-stop HDRs in the future and see how I like the results. :)