Using 32-bit process to handle possibly all available dynamic range can either make or ruin your picture. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes it is an awfully bad start. Some people use their "own" process, but you really need to know what you are doing. Manual process of all available photos as layers and selecting highlights from each photo, play with feather and blending amount is a very lengthy process. I tried using Actions, but still needs a lot of processing. Having these in my mind, I wanted to see what a comparison between available procedures would be like. Here are the results. I will not say much, just compare:
|This is the original photo that was later processed in Lightroom and one of the 4 shots at 2 EV distance each that were used for HDR Pro Processing.|
|Processed entirely in Lightroom using all sliders. It lacks dynamic range.|
|Result when 4 photos at 2 EV distance each were processed in Photoshop and reprocessed as a 32-bit TIFF in Lightroom. (Ok so I am a Lightroom guy...)|
|Oloneo Photo Engine was used here with the 4 photos at 2 EV distance... Impressive!|
|Blending of of two photos using highlights as target. Hmmm....|
|This is what a 1:1 zoom is like when the Lightroom Photo is viewed. Nearly strict boundaries between white and yellow, result of not enough dynamic Range.|
|Result at 1:1 when the HDR Pro result is viewed. A red border is clearly visible on the sun. This is because the sun is moving and ghost removal was set to off. Unacceptable, but also take a look at the bottom of the frame at the clear details..|
|A weird addition at 1:1 with the Oloneo Photo Engine. This abnormal shades near the sun should not have been there. |
[Edit] This is now fixed with some hue change in reds.
|Now we are talking! Using two photos manually blended together using highlights as a target is a great improvement! There's still an issue with the quality and the nearly strict boundaries of whites vs yellows, though! This has to be worked out.|
|Another 1:1 view of the Lightroom processed one. Details are awful!!|
|Details really pop out when the HDR Pro version is zoomed at 1:1. You can also see the ghosts below (remember ghost removal was set to off)|
|Another ghostly image with the Oloneo Photo Engine, quality is not ok.|
|Using the two blended photographs manually using highlights as target. I can see no ghosts, but the quality is under question again. This really needs to be improved.|
Now finding the problems one by one I want to find the best solution for everything at once.
Problem 1. Best clarity and detail preservation.
Problem 2. Best Blending method.
Problem 3. Best ghost removal method.
Partial solutions that currently work:
Problem 1: Best method is Photoshop's HDR Merge.
Problem 2: Best blending method seems to be with Oloneo Photo Engine
Problem 3: Best ghost removal method seems to be a manual selection from the best keeper layer, but this is relative. Do you want ghosts or not?
My conclusion is that you really can't have it all (but this is still under investigation). I am not entirely happy with the quality.