"Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide."
- Napoleon I.
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HDR photography
Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Permalink

Back in February I made a blog post about HDR cameras. Since then a few things have happened. Pentax released their K-7, which is the first SLR with built-in HDR. It's taking the traditional approach of multiple exposure and consequently needs a lot of processing after shooting (12 seconds according to some sites). Recently Sony released the a500/550, which is both faster (2 seconds) and unlike K-7 has built-in image alignment which should allow for handheld HDR photography. Fujifilm also released the F70EXR, which is a cheaper variant of the F200EXR. Fujifilm is still the only vendor to use an actual HDR sensor and thus need no particular processing at all. All manufacturers are still only producing a final jpeg image unfortunately. Fujifilm would be in a position to offer a RAW format with HDR since they have it built into the sensor, whereas the other manufacturers could opt to use the EXR format. Anything that allows you to post-process the tonemapping would be great. But this is still early and I'm sure better solutions are around the corner and this is all a very exciting development.

After having been tempted for a while I finally pushed the order button and got myself an F200EXR. After having played with it for a while and learned how to best take advantage of the HDR feature I'm really loving it. And here's why:

The picture on the right has HDR enabled. The picture on the left is about what every other camera would produce. The pictures are taken at the same time with the same settings and no other post-processing was done other than resizing for the web.

I'm convinced that HDR will be the next big thing in photography.



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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Does that mean you are going to release some new cube maps in hdr? I would love to use them for cg lighting.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Well, a P&S camera generally isn't suitable for shooting cubemaps, even if it's possible. But in any case, it just outputs tonemapped jpegs anyway, so it doesn't add anything in that area. I've experimented a little with HDR cubemaps before, but found that Stitcher was generally unstable in HDR mode. Most of the time it would just crash. Perhaps newer versions are better. In any case, I would need a good distribution format as well. File in .hdr or .exr format would just be too big. I've have loved to use jpeg-hdr, but it's not free for general use and basically no software supports it.

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