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Why can't a camera do this automatically? (assuming it is on a tripod).


Odi: It's an interesting idea, the only thing which have to be changed is firmware of camera - one-off costs for producers. At the overfull market it could be the victory, for producer, to sell the camera with HDR capabilities. Even the tripod won't be neccesary, look at my tutorial http://www.nill.cz/index.php?set=tu1 - one JPEG file is often enough to achive HDR look.

Daniel Heimstad

I bet that different prototypes of "HDR-cameras" (32-bit or more) are on the desks of all camera producers all over the world. 2-3 years from now we probably can buy these cameras in the store, and maybe we even can afford 32-bit monitors/computer screens :-)

celebrity prank calls

Great article! Can't camera-raw formats modify exposure in the same data-file?


Nill: It's a big difference between images using HDR tecnique and "HRD looking images". You like the latter, which is ok, but it's not HDR and you cannont use one JPEG file for real HDR.

I like to use HDR tecnique to get the right exposure, but I dislike the typical HDR look that so many others like.

Paul J

A lot of the better photo processing programs such as Adobe's Lightroom allow you to customize your tone curves.


A digital camera cannot take them directly because the sensor cannot deal with very bright or dark light.
Looking at the example with 5 shots, in the picture where you can see the detail in the sky, you can see nothing under the bridge, and at the other end where you have detail in the dark bridge you have none in the sky.
It's not only because of the number of bits to store the data it's that there isn't enough (or there is too much) light shining on parts of the LCD sensor so part of the sensor is saturated, and/or part doesn't have enough light to 'see' anything.
By taking the pic twice with different exposure you are capturing the data in all areas.
Are HDR cameras possible? Probably the range can be improved at a price, but even then it will still be possible to find (or set up) scenes with too much dynamic range (eg looking down a long candle lit tunnel with a bright sky outside), which could be taken using the software techniques used here.


ES: I know the difference, and call it "fake HDR" in my tutorial. I don't express exactly here. I have looked at the problematic from marketing point of view, HDR feature in camera could have big success and it doesn't matter whether real or fake HDR will be implemeted. Ordinary consumer doesn't know the difference, only the simplicity of use and final look is important.


@BillT: I don't think HDR cameras will be about getting a wider range out of the sensor: more a move towards automating the HDR process within the camera- that's until a sensor that can handle a much wider range becomes available.


hdr goes mainstream. thanks for the open source app link, i've not been able to dump $100 dollars on "experimentation"


@Paul J:

>>By taking the pic twice with different exposure you are capturing the data in all areas.

That's what I'm talking about. Why doesn't the camera just take 5 pictures itself, in quick succession, at different exposures, and then do some processing itself to create a 6th, HDR image... (or leave it to software later)


Actually, alot of cameras can do multiple exposures just like that. I know my *ist DL does it.

You just have to put them all together yourself.


The day of HDR cameras might be sooner than you think--witness Sigma's new gear, featuring some sort of true colour sensor.


They are deploying layered sensors to achieve full colour data at each pixel, rather than infer it as with most DSLRs.


Thanks for that open source option/
- www.photographyvoter.com


This is the people that started HDR drive


Hdrshop is the tool to do that. Version 1 is free. V2 features are here http://gl.ict.usc.edu/HDRShop/main-pages/hdrshop2.html

For those curious and want to know more about Prof. Debevec work http://www.debevec.org/


just out of curiosity leern, are you interested in participating in the process?

It's very cool that there is now a more singular way in which to do this process, but it has been done for years [since about photshop 3 in the early 90's] Of course we called it exposure bracketing and image combination back then... originally it was a way to get around the narrow lattitude of exposure of transparency film. And it took hours [or days] to do, so you only did it on a shot you could sell.

Now it sounds like you can do it very quickly. That surely makes the workflow much better...

Motorcycle Guy

The confusing part about hdr for consumers is it's not something that really is quantifiable. That'll make it hard to compare hdr cameras.


I've always known about the use of HDR images in 3D graphics lighting, reflections, etc., but I never thought of them using them for enhancing still photographs.

Power Fighter

I don´t know english very well, but if I understand it, i think it´s very good article with good photos and easy to learn for people that aren´t very profesional. Good article!!!


I'm sure "in camera" HDR is technically possible. After all, a digital camera is just a specialized computer. It has, input, processing, memory, and output. My guess is that currently an imaging processor powerful enough to do in camera HDR is to expensive to be worth it. Any expert level users are going to be doing all of there post production work outside of the camera and currently nobody from the point and shoot crowd is going to pay that much to have a HDR capable camera.

Give technology enough time to where normal every day camera processors are capable of doing in camera HDR in a reasonable amount of time and I'm sure it will be the next must have feature on the market.

Cédric Sütterlin

nice tut!

if you need one in german:

really easy to use, with programms and so one...


Wow, spam much? :(

Power Fighter, the chips in modern cameras are plenty powerful enough to turn multiple exposures into HDR images, as long as they don't have to align the photos (read: use a tripod for best results.. but that's already the case now. The real problem here is that cameras are built for idiots (the P&S market) and old-school photographers (the high end market), so it's going to take a while for camera companies to try to sell them features that are obvious to digital imaging nerds. Happily, people are starting to catch on.. see some of Fujifilm's "expanded dynamic range" cameras (even if the interface is dumbed-down and backwards).

Zach B

Is Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 capable of making HDR's? Or has anybody tried any of the free HDR programs mentioned and are they easy to comprehend the use of?


i have a casio exilim Z-1050 can it do this stuff?????


One more software option -- Corel Paint Shop Photo X2 (list price $99, 30-day trial at www.corel.com). The HDR forum editor at popphoto.com described it as HDR without having to learn a whole new language. Note that what Photoshop calls tone mapping-local adaptation is called Clarify here.

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