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Photomatix Pro and PTgui Pro now Both Support Exposure Fusion

Published: 07/04/2008
By: larry

It's worth noting that both version 3 of Photomatix Pro and version 7.8 of PTgui Pro now both support exposure fusion.

I think this is significant particularly to real estate photographers because exposure fusion, I find, can give most of the benefits of HDR processing in a faster work flow. Sure, you can probably do better if you spend some time with tone mapping but you need to remember that Realtors are not willing to pay for fine art. As M. James says, "real estate imaging is about quick and good - some times not perfect".

My prediction is that exposure fusion is going to be built-in to most DSLRs real soon now. In fact, the "Multiple Exposure" feature that the Nikon D300 has, that combines up to 10 consecutive exposures, sounds to me a lot like exposure fusion. Exposure fusion along with big ISO numbers like the Nikon D3 can do is going to revolutionize real estate photography in the near future. Come on Canon, I'm waiting!

Update 4/8/08: In the comments below David Palermo points out an interesting article titled "Photomatix 3: Exposure Blending or HDR" by Uwe Steinmueller over at digitaloutbackphoto.com. Uwe goes into the pros and cons of Exposure Blending and HDR and comes to the same conclusion that I do. David also correctly points out that I don't know for sure that Photomatix 3 is using Exposure Fusion in their function called "Highlights & Shadows - Adjust". It's a wild guess on my part that they are.

12 comments on “Photomatix Pro and PTgui Pro now Both Support Exposure Fusion”

  1. Larry,

    I've been following the discussion at the Flickr group on HDR and Enfuse.

    I've got a D300 and have been doing some testing on the mulitiple exposure mode.

    In the few tests I have done, the results were not exactly stunning. Usually shooting a series of bracketed shots in continuous mode provides one shot that is better than anything I have ended up with using "Multiple Exposure".

    It has promise and I hope at some point a firmware upgrade might take this idea a little further.

    Still need to do more testing (playing around) of mulitiple exposure mode to give a better chance to show its stuff.

    BTW I love shooting with the D300

  2. I'm a total noob at HDR photography, but I'd like to learn more about it. I have a Canon Digital Rebel on which I just found the AEB function.
    I was only able to find 3 brackets on it, and, in drive mode, it only shot 3 pictures indeed.
    Should I go ahead and buy Photomatix with or without the tone mapping feature? If I need more than 3 exposures to get jaw-dropping pictures, is my camera even suitable for HDR photography? Not sure if I'm even asking the right questions, but maybe it's a start. Thanks for indulging.

  3. @Dave - Perhaps the algorithm in the D300 needs refining or more likely the D300 doesn't have a powerful enough processor (YET) to do what needs to be done. I takes my Mac Book Pro 20 to 30 seconds to do the process 3 bracketed images.

    @Mark A - Yes, same goes for my Canon 1Ds. The AEB was not really invented for creating HDR. Few cameras can shoot the optimum 5 images 2EV apart. The Pentax K10D can shoot 5 bracketed images in 2EV intervals, the D2X, D2H and D200 can do 9 brackets 1Ev apart and the Canon 1Ds Mk II comes with driver software that lets you tailor tour own bracketing and save it as a preset.

    On my last shoot I shot 7 bracketed frames for each shot in addition to the flash shots I usually do and it's not really a big deal to shoot brackets manually.

  4. I'm with you Dave on the Multiple exposure setting on the d300 - I tried out when first got the camera but, like you, did not get anything fabulous. Thanks Larry to telling us about this, so far I would have spend at least 50 hours fiddling with hdr and still no good at it!!

  5. I agree with larry - I shoot with a Nikon D70s and frequently shoot 7 exposure HDR's - I have it down to all 7 shots in less than a minute. Once you get use to you can do it with you eyes closed. One thing to watch for is camera movement. Manally adjusting the camera that many time intruduces more of a chance of accidentially moving the camera even using a tripod. I use both hands when shooting and apply steady constant downward pressure to steady everything - it seems to work fine for me.

  6. That's right Larry although I am not sure what exact method Photomatix is using it is similar and it works great. I helped beta test it early on.

    In my opinion Adobe LightRoom 2.0 beta should be using the exposure fusion method of achieving a high dynamic range image. Currently Adobe will off load images to Photoshop to do HDR. That is a mistake! We don't need tone mapping at all in my opinion. Tone mapping is fun to achieve an "artistic" look but I am more interested in achieving a realistic representation of a property. Tone Mapping can also be very tricky and time consuming as we all know!

    I'll be writing Adobe about this.

    Thanks Larry,

    David

  7. @David - Yes, you are right, I don't know for sure that the algorithm that Photomatix 3 uses is Enfuse. It's just that the strength, color saturation, blending point sliders are highly suggestive of the exposure fusion.

    Thanks for the outbackphoto.com link I'd not seen that... great article.

  8. I'm using bracketing through Enfuse with 3 exposures and the results are pretty good (until I get my additional Nikon Flashes next month) and the Realtors love it! Photomatix 3 works well with Exposure Blending not tone mapping and when I get my D300 I'll bracket 7 to 9 exp as well as normal strobist-ismsz

    When I shoot for AD and BH&G it'll be all Alien Bees of course but here's whats the shizzle now

    http://www.compago.net/hdr/hdr.html

  9. I have just started to dabble in HDR for my Virtual Tour business here in Las Vegas. Previously, I was using a Nikon Coolpix 8700 with a fisheye lens and processing all my pictures through IPIX. As many know, they went out of business pretty much and support is gone.

    I bought a new Nikon D300, with a fisheye lens and decided to go with Photomatix software for HDR / Exposure Blending. Here is my first shot at the camera after only having it a couple days. The photos are large, but well worth it. Let me know what you all think.

    http://www.360lv.com/demo2

  10. @Shane - I think they look good. They have the soft low contrast look so characteristic of HDR processed images. One way to improve this is to open the equirectangular image that comes out of PTgui with photoshop and adjust the tonal curve slightly.

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