What Do You Think About The New HDR Processing In Lightroom CC/Adobe Camera RAW?

April 23rd, 2015

HDRinACRNew HDR Processing Is In ACR: A feature of Lightroom CC/Lightroom 6/ACR that is probably getting the most attention is the HDR feature (at least from real estate photographer). First of all, as Julieanne’s video shows this HDR feature is not in Lightroom at all, it’s in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) 9. This means this feature is available to Lightroom, Photoshop, Bridge and probably Photoshop Elements users that have Adobe Camera Raw 9.

Image Rendering Looks Good: I’m not a big user of traditional HDR software but I like the concept of this new HDR feature makes more sense to me than other HDR processing software. The thing I like is that you don’t have a bunch of strange, unintuitive sliders in the tone mapping process that you use to try and tame the tone mapping process. Rather you use standard, well understood tools (the sliders in Lightroom or ACR) to control the visual aspects of the image AFTER the bracket processing in a RAW file. To me this process doesn’t even seem like HDR processing because it doesn’t create wild and crazy, radioactive images which you have to work like crazy make look normal. The image rendering looks to me more like what you get out of Enfuse processing.

What’s Missing Is Batch Processing: It appears to me that even though the image rendering looks good and can quickly and easily be tailored to your personal taste after after bracket processing the feature that is missing for professional real estate photographers is batch processing. LR/Enfuse and Photomatix both have this and it is essential for high volume work. Maybe I’m missing something but I don’t see a way to match the the missing batch processing feature with the new ACR. I still recall Dan Achatz telling me back in 2008 that he processed all his HDR images from a shoot with Photomatix while he was driving to the next shoot. At first I thought he was pulling my leg, but he was serious! The batch processing feature has a lot to do with Dan being one of the most prolific real estate photographers in the Seattle area.

So what do all you hardcore HDR/Enfuse people think of this new HDR processing?

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24 Responses to “What Do You Think About The New HDR Processing In Lightroom CC/Adobe Camera RAW?”

  • Does ACR 9 come with Lightroom 6 now? I’m confused.

  • Lightroom is just an interface to ACR… It’s always been that way. All the sliders in LR just work ACR features.

  • I processed my first shoot with the new HDR feature. I also batched processed the same images with Enfuse. The new HDR feature produces much better results, in my opinion – but yes, the lack of batch processing does slow things down a bit. Then again, I have to do less color correcting, tone adjustments, etc.

  • Lack of batch processing is a deal killer for me. I tried a few stacks with LR 6 an Enfuse. Not a fan of the preset sliders in Develop mode. I like Enfuse results better. But we will see in the newer updates.

  • Enfuse results better then photomatix

  • Hi i’ve just downloaded lightroom cc . I used the hdr it worked perfect
    But i must ask you, which is the best application
    Lightroom HDR
    enfuse ( which i just purcased a month ago )
    or Exposio for real estate agents ( which i just found on the net )
    If you can tell me what are the major differences between the three
    Mark from France

  • So there is no HDR unless you buy Acr which is not included in the $9.99 photography CC? So glad I paid for a year last night. This is not clearly presented by Adobe.

  • Hey present the HDR merge as a new feature of LR, not ADR? I’m confused.

  • Peter – ACR is included in CC, it is a desperate download.

  • Jerry & Peter,

    I don’t think you can actually download ACR on it’s own. You can load it from LR or Bridge, which you can download with the $9.99 plan, or it opens by default when you open a RAW with PS, which is also included.

  • Peter:

    If you signed up for the creative cloud, you can download photoshop, Adobe Camera Raw, and Bridge as part of the plan.

    So you don’t JUST get lightroom for $9.99 a month. You get the ACR plugin and photoshop as well.

    Hope that helps.

  • The Good:
    It’s fast, works in the background, and produces a really long tonal range DNG file.

    The Bad: Like every other HDR program, the new file that’s generated lacks the right local contrast through the whole range, so the new version is just as “muddy” as every other HDR program, and it’s a problem becuase:

    The Ugly:
    Even if you turn off “align”, LR CC’s HDR changes the image dimentions, so you can’t layer it with the original files because there isn’t any way to align it. So, you cant make use of the the good local contrast contained in the originals.

  • Oh, and Photomatix has figured how to retain the original dimensions so the HDR file can be layered with the originals if neccessary.

  • Ctrl-Shift-H (on both OS) and that will skip the HDR dialog box and just make the HDR. Not exactly batch, but still quick since it works while it is doing other HDR’s in the background. Contrary to Kevin, I find that by turning off the ‘align’ in the HDR dialog box, that I am able to layer original DNG files with the HDR when I ‘export as layers’ to Photoshop from Lightroom.

  • I think its a fantastic addition and will probably get better with time. But Im not getting rid of my strobes anytime soon. I can see blending this in with some strobe shots here and there.

  • New Camera Support in Camera Raw 9

    Canon EOS 5DS
    Canon EOS 5DS R
    Canon EOS 750D (Rebel T6i, Kiss X8i)
    Canon EOS 760D (Rebel T6s, Kiss 8000D)
    Canon EOS M3
    Casio EX-ZR3500
    Fujifilm X-A2
    Fujifilm XQ2
    Hasselblad Stellar II
    Nikon D5500
    Nikon D7200
    Olympus OM-D E-M5 II
    Olympus Stylus SH-2
    Olympus Tough TG-4
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 (DMC-TZ70, DMC-TZ71)
    Samsung NX500

  • To merge files in ACR, select the photos that you want to merge then press the “Merge…” button at the top of the filmstrip. Select “Panorama” or “HDR” from the pop-up menu.
    After a preview of the merge is generated, select desired options in the merge preview dialog and click the “Merge” button to start a full-size merge.
    The full-size merge is performed in the background so you can continue to edit other photos or start other merges while you wait. To view status, or cancel a merge, press the link in the lower left area of the main ACR window (it will say “1 remaining” if you’ve started a merge).
    Once the full-size merge is complete, the resulting DNG file will be added to the bottom of the filmstrip and be available for further editing.
    HDR deghosting has three amounts: low, medium, and high. In order to make it easier to select the best option for a given image, a visualization option is also available.

  • I started using the new hdr in ACR, and I can say that I am thrilled.
    The thing that really got me is the possibility to create a fully realistic HDR with local adjustment tools. Other HDR engines could pass for the exterior photos, but for interiors ACR is by far the best one I tried (and I tried almost all of the best ones).

    On the link below you can see one of my shots in a very high dynamic range interior – from the black stairs to the bright windows.

    I know that I blew it up a bit with shadows behind the chandelier, but I still think it’s a pretty good photo. Please feel free to criticize – any feedback is more than welcome.

  • Expanding on what Whit said, if you put your images in stacks, then you can

    1) Select first stack
    2) Press Ctrl-H and set the settings
    3) Press Merge
    4) Select next stack
    5) Press Ctrl-Shift-H
    6) Repeat steps 4 & 5

    This isn’t true batch processing, but it’s pretty quick to run through each stack. Depending on your machine, you may want to limit the number you launch at a time. These are all done in the background, so you can continue doing other things while they’re processing. If you need to stop any of them, just cancel them from the Activity Center within LR.

  • Although I have not used it, she mentioned in the video that …{retains all original information}…

    How is this possible? Very interesting. I find the biggest problem with HDR programs is color cast issues and strange shadow and highlight banding. If there was a way to maintain the “well exposed” areas without any unnecessary adjustments this could be amazing.

  • Scott Kelby and RC say you only need to merge 2 exposures in LRCC HDR (darkest & lightest). I tried it, not too bad.

    see the tip here:

  • My laptop is an A8 AMD with 6GB of ram. I figure that’s pretty fast. Guess not! I tried using raw files and the software is locking up. It can’t seem to handle to size of the images. I then tried using 24mb .jpg and it works and the results are good but it is dog SLOW. In my opinion this software is useless for HDR if you need to process multiple images. And no batch processing. What a piece of junk! And this is supposed to be for professional use? I’m glad I downloaded the trial version first.

    The problem is what other program does batch HDR and has similar features to Lightroom?

  • Angel – I was running with 4gigs of Ram last month. So painfully slow running HDR through any program. I think Lightroom is supposed to be for 16 bit machines now? Anyway, my new iMac is 32 gigs and I still have to wait to see the HDR preview in Lightroom (10-15secs.)

  • In LR CC…I had 7 stacks, select then ctrl+shift+H one after the other and went to take a shower (while LR carried out the 7 operations) to find them beautifully HDRd waiting for my final tweakings…

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