Thoughts on Hdr with the EM1? Suggestions or tips...

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Greenmanrob, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Greenmanrob

    Greenmanrob Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Oct 21, 2013
    Sent from my LG-VM696 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  2. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    1. The jpeg HDR1 amd HDR2 are a waste of time
    2. HDR settings are restricted to using hi speed shutter release and you cannot set a timer release delay.
    3. The only HDR setting that you can reasonably use handheld is 3 shot +/-2EV (admittedly you dont need much else.)
    4. In you want to set a timer release you can do that by using 'normal AE bracketing' and 5 shot +/- 1EV gives you decent range.
    5. Going through the HDR menu is a bit of a hassle. Save yourself some button pressing by setting HDR as a toggle on/off switch for a function button.
     
  3. bcaslis

    bcaslis Mu-43 Veteran

    302
    Jul 3, 2011
    Wilsonville, OR, USA
    Brian Caslis
    I would agree with points 1 & 2. I have not tested other mechanisms yet to comment on them.
     
  4. mattphoto

    mattphoto Mu-43 Regular

    44
    Oct 21, 2013
    New York
    I started shooting HDR way back at the dawn and am very familiar with the methods and technology. I use it functionally to offset limitations of the equipment I use and the weather conditions I am forced to shoot in. I feel HDR is a great way to expand the range of a camera and obtain beautiful scenes despite levels in contrast. Some people just like the stupid exaggerated HDR affect because it looks different.

    I took the camera out over the weekend to test the HDR feature on some high contrast fall landscapes. When selecting HDR, it limits the frame rate to high speed, and the scene was bright enough to get 10fps on all frames. Results were excellent. HDR1 looks pretty natural and was able to balance a bright sky with a mix of sun and land shadows. HDR2 was more of that garbage HDR that looks like a trash. but not as dramatic. I personally think that exaggerated HDR (which I call Flickr HDR, where its's popular and prevalent) is horrible and rarely looks great outside of a thumbnail.

    Image aligning (mostly due to IS and 10FPS snapping the handheld pics without much variation) and ghost reduction was surprisingly good without user input.
    I would hardly call those modes a waste of time, unless you are really going for that garbage look (with halos around everything and black clouds on a sunny day bull****). If you want those shots, shoot 8 stops and combine them in some freeware like the droves of flickr shooters do.
     
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  5. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Well apparently we are both agreed that HDR2 is a waste of space. As for HDR1 - personally I am not a great proponent of the whole concept of combining jpegs to create an HDR jpeg - seems counterintuitive to me. I would agree that HDR1 produces greater DR than a single jpeg but that really isnt saying much. I have found that I can generate more DR out of a single RAW file than HDR1 creates from merging several jpeg exposures and that in itself renders the 'surprisingly good' image aligning and ghost reduction, redundant.
     
  6. langer318

    langer318 Mu-43 Regular

    83
    Sep 17, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Robbie any resource out there on how to set this up? I can't find it in the manual. I can see in the menu how to set HDR to a FN button but it only seems to set it in the HDR1 or HRD2 mode and I'm not even sure which one. Apparently there is more control beyond that and I missing something.
     
  7. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Well there are a couple of ways of doing it but it is pretty easy.
    1) Set up a function button to HDR. This will toggle HDR on and off - HDR will appear on the screen when it is on.
    2) Now in order to get the right setting - say 3 shot +/- 2EV. Press and hold the function button set to HDR and at the same time scroll either the back or front dial until you highlight the right setting.
    3) Once it is set the HDR setting you have chosen will remain (even if you switch off the camera) until you change it. So you can now toggle 3 shot +/- 2EV on and off with a press of the function key.
     
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  8. langer318

    langer318 Mu-43 Regular

    83
    Sep 17, 2013
    Upstate, NY

    Got it, I figured I was missing something in the process now it makes sense. Thanks!
     
  9. ntblowz

    ntblowz Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Nov 13, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand

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  10. ntblowz

    ntblowz Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Nov 13, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand

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  11. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Well, to be frank, these results dont look great to me. I admit that the results do look natural and that I prefer the exposure of the second photos to the first. However, if we look at these photos together with their histograms, you can see that there is very little to write home about.

    untitled_1_of_2_1.
    Capture11.PNG

    untitled_2_of_2_1.
    Capture3.PNG

    Perhaps this isnt really an ideal picture for HDR in the first place as there really isnt excessive DR in the underlying photo - no blown highlights for instance.

    Still if we compare the second photo with the first. The second photo has reduced the exposure of the highlights - so we see a more pleasing sky and the the table on the patio is better exposed. However we also have reduced exposure in the shadows and the shadows are heavily clipped in the bushes. To me it simply looks like that the second photo has reduced the exposure of the first by about a stop.

    Obviously it is difficult to refer to this photo as HDR as there is not that much DR to begin with. But if you had taken the first shot as a RAW file, you could quite easily have brought back the highlights to resemble the highlights in the second photo. You could leave the shadows unchanged or even opened them up a tadge.
     
  12. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    To illustrate what can and cannot be achieved with the in-camera HDR function, I took a few shots with a high contrast image.

    Here is the OOC jpeg. As you can see the highlights are badly blown and of course the shadows are dark.

    HDR43_2_of_3_.

    Now here is the in-camera HDR1. You can see that it does have a noticeable effect in terms of reducing the highlights and brightening the shadows. The shadows look pretty good but there is no getting away from the fact that the highlights are still blown.

    HDR43_1_of_3_.

    My theory is that the multi-shot HDR1 jpeg does about as well as a single RAW file. Here is the result of a single RAW file quickly edited. To be frank, it isnt very good - if your highlights are badly blown there isnt much you can do (although the RAW did as good a job as HDR1 here.) The shadows are pretty awful and HDR1 seemed to do better. (The fact that the RAW converter doesnt have a color profile for the camera doesnt help.)

    HDR43_3_of_3_.

    Of course this scene needs multiple exposures to handle its DR. if we do a 3 shot +/- 2EV RAWs, we can and merge the exposures, we can do a much better job of the highlights and imho, improve the shadows. Of course with 3 raws you have an enormous leeway to process this image how you like.

    HDR431_1_of_1_.
     

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  13. RakSiam

    RakSiam Mu-43 Regular

    75
    Oct 11, 2013
    If you don't want to have to bother with pp then I think these modes have their place. For bright midday shooting where your sky turns almost white it helps very much to even things out so that you end up with a sky that is blue and brings out the shadows a bit. I have been shooting these handheld while sightseeing and think the results are generally fine. They also can help with some night time scenes where there are some bright lights and deep shadows. Again HDR1 equalizing things a little bit.

    It's not a perfect substitute for shooting real bracketed RAW sequences and then working them in post. And until the software out there catches up for RAW processing E-M1 images it is helpful.
     
  14. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Well if you want to shoot jpeg and wish to mimic the HDR1 effect with a single exposure you could do it with a highlight and shadow adjustment using the multi-function button. Simply set the shadows to about +5 and the highlights to around -5, creating an inverted 'S' shape. This should give you a pretty good approximation of HDR1 but with a single exposure.
     
  15. RakSiam

    RakSiam Mu-43 Regular

    75
    Oct 11, 2013
    I'll give that a try. Thanks for the idea

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  16. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    The HDR1 basically reproduces what you can achieve with a single RAW by reducing highlights and boosting shadows. (This is particularly true if you blow a highlight (so that it is not recoverable) in a single RAW it will result in blown high in HDR1.) Now given that if you are shooting jpeg you inherently dont want to post process, I thought I would test my idea that you could effectively reproduce HDR1 in a single jpeg by adjusting the highlights and shadows through the multifunction button.

    I found that be 'just about' to be the case.

    Here is a high contrast scene with the jpegs settings at default (or at whatever the factory settings are.)

    shad_3_of_3_.
    Capture21.PNG

    Now here is HDR1. Actually I think it does a pretty good job here.

    shad_1_of_3_.
    Capture5.PNG

    Finally, here is an OOC jpeg with highlights at -7 and shadows at +7 (I found lower settings didnt mimic the HDR1 as well.) As you can see it is pretty similar to HDR1 - certainly more similar to HDR1 than the jpeg default settings. And of course it is a single shot rather than needing to take 4 shots.

    shad_2_of_3_.
    Capture12.PNG
     

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