There have been many posts about HDR here and I apologize if this is old ground being covered again.
I am interested in using this technique mainly because I have found that the highlight clipping and shadow detail from my FZ18 leaves a lot to be desired (actually I feel that my old FZ20 gave much better results). I actually like some of the dramatic (artificial?) effects that can be created by HDR but I am primarily interested in capturing more detail.
I would like some advice from the experts. Specifically;
Is an HDR produced from jpg images going to give me the results that I am looking for? My FZ18 will autobracket (but only + - one stop) on jpg but will not on RAW.
Is there any software that is very good at aligning?
To get the exposure range that I need I need to use a tripod but there is invariably movement, either in the scene (wind effects etc) or of the camera from changing setting. The HDR software that I have tried is woefully poor at auto-aligning. Besides which, I really don't want to be carrying something as bulky as a good quality tripod......may as well move to DSLR if I am going to do this.
How much can be gained from using psudo-HDR from a single RAW image?
From reading the literature it seems that this will only gain you slightly more than one stop, but I have seen some good looking results from this technique and there are no alignment issues.
How effective is HDR using just two images, one exposed for highlights and one exposed for shadows?
I have read where some use photoshop or similar to layer two images as above in place of HDR and get very good results, however I believe that effective highlight selection can be a problem.
I guess that if I really want to concentrate on HDR then the FZ40 or LX5 would suit as the exposure bracketing can go + - 3 stops, even though the burst speed is not great.
Appreciate your advice.
Thanks in advance.