March 3rd, 2015
The discussion and comments on Monday’s Enfuse video series announcement brought up some understandable confusion around the terms Enfuse and Exposure Fusion. The two terms actually mean the same thing. Exposure Fusion was first described in a 2007 paper by Tom Mertens, Jan Kautz and Frank Van Reeth. The most significant point about Exposure Fusion is that it is an alternative to HDR. It’s similar because it uses a series of bracketed exposures but it’s different in the way it processes the bracketed exposures. Exposure Fusion is easier to control than HDR so it’s easier to get more natural looking interior images.
The term Enfuse comes from the name of the an open source implementation of Exposure Fusion by Andrew Mihal. This open source Enfuse software is used as core code for at least two (perhaps more) pieces of software for processing bracketed images. LR/Enfuse, by Timothy Armes, a product (the one Simon talks about in his book and video series) that provides a Lightroom interface to Enfuse and EnfuseGUI, by Ingmar Bergmark, a standalone software product that provides a user interface for Enfuse that works on Mac or Windows machines. Marc Weinberg has a review of EnfuseGUI on his blog. While, EnfuseGUI is fast, it does not have a batch mode, nor does it work with RAW files. These last two items are why Simon’s workflow uses LR/Enfuse.
I should also mention that Photomatix has a Exposure Fusion processing mode although I don’t know if it uses the open source Enfuse code or if HDRsoft.com has their own implementation of Exposure Fusion. Wayne Grundy’s PhotoTech Blog tests all the many variations of Exposure Fusion implementations and concludes that LR/Enfuse delivers natural looking images with a minimum of fuss.