Simon Maxwell Explains Enfuse or Exposure Fusion

October 13th, 2014


There was at least one comment on yesterdays post suggesting that some readers are not familiar with the terms Enfuse or Exposure Fusion. So I though it would be useful for some to review what those terms mean.

Enfuse processing is very widely used in real estate photography these days (about half of all real estate photographers). The name Enfuse refers to the open source software that implements the Exposure Fusion algorithm which is an alternative bracketing processing technique to HDR. Exposure Fusion is not the same as HDR which uses a completely different algorithm than Exposure fusion.

Software like LR/Enfuse and Enfuse Gui just act as user interfaces for the Enfuse software. Sometimes Exposure Fusion is referred to as blending. Although the term blending also refers to manual combining of several bracketed images in Photoshop. Yes, Photomatix has an option to process a series of images with the Exposure Fusion algorithm too so if you have the Photomatix Lightroom Plugin you can use it in a very similar way directly from Lightroom.

Because LR/Enfuse is Lightroom plugin, Lightroom is a very handy way to process your bracketed shots.  In the above video tutorial, Simon runs through the logic of choosing brackets, shows the resulting Enfused image and shows how to make adjustments all in Lightroom.

Simon does not explain how to get the set of bracketed photos that he’s using so here are some of popular ways of shooting brackets:

  1. Use the Auto Exposure Bracketing feature that most DSLRs have built-in. Almost every DSLR will do 3 brackets separated by 2 stops, but some DSLRs have more flexible settings. Here’s one of the best summaries. I’ve seen on this subject.
  2. Use a Promote controller.
  3. Use the Michael Freeman method.
  4. Use a CamRanger.

So there you have it, a short introduction to what Enfuse or Exposure Fusion is.

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12 Responses to “Simon Maxwell Explains Enfuse or Exposure Fusion”

  • Hi, Thank you for the article.
    For those who have used both the L/R Enfuse and the Exposure fusion within Photomatix do you find a great differance in the output?
    I do wish that the enfuse option could be placed in the 32 bit L/R plugin from HDRSoft also rather than going to the Pro software.

  • Thanks for the information

  • Just a note. The Enfuse software that is linked at the start of the article is for Windows machines, not Mac’s as I just discovered. I love to find new and better tools so I was disappointed to discover this.

  • Larry… Mostly I use Scotts methods with off camera flash, but when I do want to bracket shots, I use ‘Magic Lantern’, it’s downloaded to your CF card and adds tons of features to your camera… I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II, and it lets me choose 5, 7, or 9, bracketed shots…plus it lets you shoot HD video too..

  • @Peter – No the LR/Enfuse page I link to: in the article is for Macs or PC. I use it on a Mac, Simon is also a Mac users. The same plug-in works on Macs or PC. Look at the Installation info… it refers to both Mac and PC.

  • Kenny,
    What is magic Lantern and how can I use it on my Nikon D-7000 or D-300? I wish there was a program that allowed in-camera bracket and fusion.

    I am switching over to Fuji X system and was wondering if anyone is using mirror-less cameras. it only AB 1 stop, so I mostly bracket manually. wish there was a way to remotely trigger the Fuji also.

  • Kenny. Magic Lantern is Canon only you can read all about it at
    I use it on my Canon 600D for bracketing images from 2 to 15 (why you would you need 15?)
    It adds so many extra features to a Canon camera, far to many to list here but before you go for the Fuji have a look at Magic Lantern and the Canon cameras it supports.

  • I second Magic Lantern. It also has the ability to not only increase the amount of brackets that my camera can take (T2i), but it can even automatically detect how many brackets are needed to capture the full range of colors in a given scene. It really is a phenomenal in all that it does.

  • No offense Larry but Magic lantern adds nothing to the camera, you install it on a CF or SD card you do not put it into the cameras works at all, if you change the card in the camera without ML on it the camera reverts back to it’s Canon roots (so to speak).

  • That’s great. I totally misunderstood how it worked. I didn’t realize that it totally lived on the memory card. I was going to try it out a couple of years ago and didn’t because I thought it lived with the camera microcode.

  • @Larry, I was worried about the same thing and learned that the only thing that ML does is set a flag in NVRAM on the camera to autoboot the ML software from the SF/SD card. When you format your card, you can choose to remove the ML software which will also reset the Autoboot flag back to normal. If it remains set, it still isn’t a problem.

    The only issue I had with Magic Lantern on my 50D was that the batteries would drain overnight even when the camera was turned off. From reading through the forums, I believe that part of the problem was that you need to wait 10 seconds after turning the camera off before removing the CF card. There might also be an issue when one has been using the movie features. ML allows capturing RAW video if you have a fast enough card. 640x and 1980x can be used with a standard CF card.

    ML adds a tremendous number of features to Canon cameras. Exposure bracketing, focus stacking, intervelometer, video (with tons of features) and on and on. Since it’s Donationware, it doesn’t get updated frequently and you have to do some searching and reading for support.

  • I’ve used Magic Lantern and a Canon 5D MKII for several years now. However, I find ML produces rather flat exterior photos so I opt to use Photomatix Pro for exteriors and ML for the interiors. BTW, ML will cause the batteries to drain quickly IF left in the camera. Typically, I pop the battery out between shoots and that solves the problem.

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