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As long as you can't see the division, it has to be better than HDR

 
 
RichA
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      10-06-2011
Remember the graduated filters used (mostly) in film work? They came
in handy.

http://dpreview.com/news/1110/111006...talfilters.asp

 
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Me
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      10-06-2011
On 7/10/2011 6:26 a.m., RichA wrote:
> Remember the graduated filters used (mostly) in film work? They came
> in handy.
>
> http://dpreview.com/news/1110/111006...talfilters.asp
>

This method ("digital grad ND filter") is hardly new.
You also don't need special software, photoshop, gimp etc can be used
(care needed in some cases to avoid visible banding/posterisation etc if
working in 8 bit environment, but this can be worked around)
I have cokin grad ND filters, but use only very occasionally these days.
From my experience doing this, lifting shadows more than about two
stops starts to look unnatural - in my opinion - so with most dslrs
these days, set at base ISO, expose for the highlights, and there's
easily two stops to work with in the shadows without noise becoming an
issue - even for large prints. It was a bit marginal with Nikon D70 raw
files, even at base ISO, sometimes two exposures need to be taken and
blended, as cameras of that generation were prone to blow highlights
and/or pattern noise could be visible when lifting shadows. The extra
2-4 stops from more recent imaging sensors is enough for me.
As far as "seeing the division" goes, it's much better than using grad
NDs, where the transition is fixed unless you carry a range of filters
with soft and hard transition, and in any case you may not wish for the
transition to be in a straight line across the frame. Also, this
technique tends to suit wide angle photography, the cokin filters were
very hard to keep clean enough in the field (and scratch-free, as they
are plastic) to avoid dust and scratches being visible in the image,
especially as to get the DOF desired, the lens may be stopped down to f8
or smaller.
 
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RichA
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      10-06-2011
On Oct 6, 3:51*pm, Me <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 7/10/2011 6:26 a.m., RichA wrote:> Remember the graduated filters used(mostly) in film work? *They came
> > in handy.

>
> >http://dpreview.com/news/1110/111006...talfilters.asp

>
> This method ("digital grad ND filter") is hardly new.
> You also don't need special software, photoshop, gimp etc can be used
> (care needed in some cases to avoid visible banding/posterisation etc if
> working in 8 bit environment, but this can be worked around)
> I have cokin grad ND filters, but use only very occasionally these days.
> *From my experience doing this, lifting shadows more than about two
> stops starts to look unnatural - in my opinion - so with most dslrs
> these days, set at base ISO, expose for the highlights, and there's
> easily two stops to work with in the shadows without noise becoming an
> issue - even for large prints. *It was a bit marginal with Nikon D70 raw
> files, even at base ISO, sometimes two exposures need to be taken and
> blended, as cameras of that generation were prone to blow highlights
> and/or pattern noise could be visible when lifting shadows. *The extra
> 2-4 stops from more recent imaging sensors is enough for me.


You're probably right about that, but we need more tests of wide DR
images to see if what you end up with when you equalize the
illumination levels looks good, or just flat and dull, or noisy in the
case of areas you bring up in an image.
 
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Me
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      10-06-2011
On 7/10/2011 9:02 a.m., RichA wrote:
> On Oct 6, 3:51 pm, Me<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> On 7/10/2011 6:26 a.m., RichA wrote:> Remember the graduated filters used (mostly) in film work? They came
>>> in handy.

>>
>>> http://dpreview.com/news/1110/111006...talfilters.asp

>>
>> This method ("digital grad ND filter") is hardly new.
>> You also don't need special software, photoshop, gimp etc can be used
>> (care needed in some cases to avoid visible banding/posterisation etc if
>> working in 8 bit environment, but this can be worked around)
>> I have cokin grad ND filters, but use only very occasionally these days.
>> From my experience doing this, lifting shadows more than about two
>> stops starts to look unnatural - in my opinion - so with most dslrs
>> these days, set at base ISO, expose for the highlights, and there's
>> easily two stops to work with in the shadows without noise becoming an
>> issue - even for large prints. It was a bit marginal with Nikon D70 raw
>> files, even at base ISO, sometimes two exposures need to be taken and
>> blended, as cameras of that generation were prone to blow highlights
>> and/or pattern noise could be visible when lifting shadows. The extra
>> 2-4 stops from more recent imaging sensors is enough for me.

>
> You're probably right about that, but we need more tests of wide DR
> images to see if what you end up with when you equalize the
> illumination levels looks good, or just flat and dull, or noisy in the
> case of areas you bring up in an image.
>

The information is there. DXO give some indication of DR in their
tests, the only "gotcha" is that while they quantify DR in terms of
signal:noise ratio, the randomness/grain size of that noise (how it
looks) doesn't seem to be measured - or measurable.
But raw files are generally available for d/l from various sites, and
you can do your own tests on those (with proviso that you'll need the
right software, as all raw conversion software is not equal).
If there's a mistake to be made, it's buying a new camera model based on
reviews which don't cover this aspect very well.
I think two stops "spare" DR is enough for a natural looking shot, and
AFAIK any recent dslr will give that. But other people might want more
than that. I never liked "HDR". I try to capture what I see with my
eyes, and a single, unadjusted exposure can't do that, but adjustment
falls well short of what I see as "HDR".
"Flat and dull" when lifting shadows can usually be corrected for
anyway, by tweaking contrast/saturation in the lifted shadows - in the
layer before blending down, or after blending down by selecting the
area, feathering selection etc. Noise can also be selectively removed -
NR doesn't need to be applied to the entire image.
 
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PeterN
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-06-2011
On 10/6/2011 3:51 PM, Me wrote:
> On 7/10/2011 6:26 a.m., RichA wrote:
>> Remember the graduated filters used (mostly) in film work? They came
>> in handy.
>>
>> http://dpreview.com/news/1110/111006...talfilters.asp
>>

> This method ("digital grad ND filter") is hardly new.
> You also don't need special software, photoshop, gimp etc can be used
> (care needed in some cases to avoid visible banding/posterisation etc if
> working in 8 bit environment, but this can be worked around)
> I have cokin grad ND filters, but use only very occasionally these days.
> From my experience doing this, lifting shadows more than about two
> stops starts to look unnatural - in my opinion - so with most dslrs
> these days, set at base ISO, expose for the highlights, and there's
> easily two stops to work with in the shadows without noise becoming an
> issue - even for large prints. It was a bit marginal with Nikon D70 raw
> files, even at base ISO, sometimes two exposures need to be taken and
> blended, as cameras of that generation were prone to blow highlights
> and/or pattern noise could be visible when lifting shadows. The extra
> 2-4 stops from more recent imaging sensors is enough for me.
> As far as "seeing the division" goes, it's much better than using grad
> NDs, where the transition is fixed unless you carry a range of filters
> with soft and hard transition, and in any case you may not wish for the
> transition to be in a straight line across the frame. Also, this
> technique tends to suit wide angle photography, the cokin filters were
> very hard to keep clean enough in the field (and scratch-free, as they
> are plastic) to avoid dust and scratches being visible in the image,
> especially as to get the DOF desired, the lens may be stopped down to f8
> or smaller.



When you say you don't like HDR you really mean the overdone cartoonish
effects that seem to dominate. I think that bracketing and blending
multiple images is a subtle form of HDR, without excessive tone mapping.

--
Peter
 
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Ryan McGinnis
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-07-2011
On Thu, 6 Oct 2011, RichA wrote:

> Remember the graduated filters used (mostly) in film work? They came
> in handy.
>
> http://dpreview.com/news/1110/111006...talfilters.asp
>


Indeed, though the article is a bit misleading. Whether or not selective
manual tone mapping (which is what adding a "digital gradiated filter" is)
is better than using a tonemapping algorithm depends on the skill of the
operator and whether or not the dynamic range of the scene exceeds that
which can be captured in one photo (though of course you can easily
compost bracketed images manually).

-Ryan McGinnis
The BIG Storm Picture: http://bigstormpicture.com PGP Key 0x65115E4C
Follow my storm chasing adventures at http://bigstormpicture.blogspot.com
Images@Getty: http://bit.ly/oDW1pT Images@Alamy:<a href="http://bit.ly"...p://bit.ly</a>/aMH6Qd
 
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PeterN
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-07-2011
On 10/6/2011 10:43 PM, Ryan McGinnis wrote:
> On Thu, 6 Oct 2011, RichA wrote:
>
>> Remember the graduated filters used (mostly) in film work? They came
>> in handy.
>>
>> http://dpreview.com/news/1110/111006...talfilters.asp
>>

>
> Indeed, though the article is a bit misleading. Whether or not selective
> manual tone mapping (which is what adding a "digital gradiated filter"
> is) is better than using a tonemapping algorithm depends on the skill of
> the operator and whether or not the dynamic range of the scene exceeds
> that which can be captured in one photo (though of course you can easily
> compost bracketed images manually).
>


And use the result to grow vegetables and flowers. But if you composite,
you might get useful images. <>G


--
Peter
 
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