What I learned from Gollywop -- and what I wonder

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
Anders W
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Re: What I learned from Gollywop -- and what I wonder
In reply to Mark Scott Abeln, Mar 28, 2013

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Not sure exactly what more you'd like to know apart from what I already said. But practically speaking, the software I use at present is LR/Enfuse which works quite well in my experience so far and has the advantage of a) being cheap (a "donation" of 2 GBP is required) and integrated with LR (LR plug-in). The only significant disadvantage I have noticed this far is that it takes a while for it to do the number-crunching (we are talking minutes rather than seconds) even on my new and pretty fast PC. But I don't know if other options are faster.

I would normally use the default merging parameters, which in the case of exposure bracketing weighs the contribution of the various shots to the rendering of a particular area in the frame based on how optimal the exposure of that area is. When merging shots at the same exposure, it doesn't matter what parameters you use since the shots are practically identical.

Apart from LR/Enfuse, applications that can do stacking/merging include recent versions of PS, PhotoAcute, and Photomatix. I am sure there are others as well but I don't know enough to tell you what the very best options might be.

One thing that might be worth mentioning here, apart from what has already been said, is that you can stack/merge for more than one reason. What we have been discussing here is stacking for the purpose of improving DR/SNR and minimizing noise. But you can also stack for the purpose of extending the sharp area of a photo (focus stacking). And you can of course combine these two if you want. In a recent exchange with kenw, we discussed the possibility of doing this for landscape photos where it is important to have the foreground as well as background tack sharp and where you would also like to maximize DR.

I use Enfuse extensively, and it does the best job at merging when there is any kind of motion present in the frame; if the scene is completely static across exposures, I will try to do a manual blend in Photoshop.

With regard to motion, are you thinking here of the "hard mask" option in Enfuse that makes sure areas with lots of detail is taken from only one of the shots (the one with optimal exposure for the area when you bracket)?

When it comes to Photoshop, in what way do you find it preferable when you don't have any motion to deal with?

When I first used Enfuse about 5 years ago, it was extremely slow, taking about 20 minutes per merge.  Increasing the memory in the computer, and using the memory parameter in the software sped it up quite a bit, now it takes a few seconds, to at most half a minute to blend.

Thanks for the tip about the memory parameter. I should take a look at that. I have lots of memory on my machine and if the program isn't using as much as it can get by default, that might be the reason why the processing times I have experienced so far are longer than those you report. While it does not take 20 minutes in my case, I'd say it takes at least a couple of minutes on my new and pretty high-level PC.

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