Some Background About Enfuse and Exposure Fusion

March 3rd, 2015

EFplusflashThe 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 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.

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6 Responses to “Some Background About Enfuse and Exposure Fusion”

  • Thanks Larry for sharing this additional information. This helpful for us newbies. I trust not at the expense of all the old pros that follow your site.

  • Gary, I have been a professional photographer since 1969 and frankly still consider myself a newbie even after a degree in photojournalism from BU and one from the LA Art Center College of Design. All is see ahead of me is what I don’t yet know and all I still have to learn rather than what I already know. True especially now in the new age of digital rife with new software technologies to learn and try to master before the next version comes out.

  • Peter, You and I think alike. The downfall of to many over the years is that they do not realize what they do not yet know. That is one of the many reasons I follow this website. It constantly encourages us as photographers to continue to aspire to greater things within kurt craft without forgetting/abandoning what we already know to be true.

  • You are so true. I am 71 years old. 50 years of photography history. Started architectural photography with 4X5 view camera and a thirty-five pound tripod. Developed my film, printed my images. Then film improved to the point of shooting with SLR and PC lens, thought I was in heaven. Now digital, where I can see my exposure while still on the job site. Unbelievable. I subscribe to several posts, magazines, etc. typing to keep up. Photo changes, updates, new software is coming out so fast it is like drinking from a fire hydrant. Fortunately I love it just as much today as ever. (I do not miss the 4/5 and its tripod). If you are not continually trying to stay up to date you will be left in the dust.

  • Very informative, thanks!

  • @Sonny : how inspiring to read your post! @Gary: second that: I would call myself a professional in that I earn a living from photography, but perhaps, as Sonny suggests, to assume that one knows one’s craft through and through and does not need to keep ears and eyes to open to the almost daily developments in digital, is a mistake. That’s how I came across Enfuse, admitted that what it could do was better than what I was then doing, and decided to adopt it as part of my workflow. Thanks Larry for that very neat summary and definition of this complex “family” of tools: there are clearly many ways to enfuse multiple exposures for natural effect. The LR/Enfuse plugin gives me a quality process with, as you say, the option of the best integration with my existing workflow for efficient shoot processing. I have no doubt that new and more wonderful solutions will come our way as digital photographers and I am equally confident that Larry and PFRE will be there, finger on the pulse, to keep us up to speed!

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