What I learned from Gollywop -- and what I wonder

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
richarddd Veteran Member • Posts: 3,091
Re: What I learned from Gollywop -- and what I wonder

Macx wrote:

And what I was thinking was that stacking might be a way of improving noise performance beyond the maximum exposure at base iso. But I'm not sure I understand the fundamentals of merging bracketed shots, because I assumed that you just picked the best of the captures for that particular part of the tone ...map? But if all the data from the not-best captures for that particular part of the tone map is then discarded, that is of course a waste... so when we merge bracketed shots are we in fact stacking the captures also, just shifting them so they're added in the right place?

Eh, I apologise, English isn't my first language, and my limited lexicon is failing me. I'll try to explain it with an example: We have a scene with a dynamic range of 3. In order to get a better image we bracket by making three captures with a shutter time of respectively 1, 2 and 4 seconds.

Question is then, when we merge the captures, are the shadows going to use only the 4 second shutter time, or are we going to use the other captures too to get the maximum exposure for this bit?

If we are, there is little extra advantage to stacking, because we're already combining it with the bracketing. If not, it seems to me, we should.

It would seem to depend on the software used.

Photomatix, for example, has an Exposure Fusion mode which is defined as "Combination of photos of the same scene taken under different exposure settings in such a way that highlight details are taken from the underexposed photos and shadow details from the overexposed ones."

This reads as if they "use only the 4 second shutter time."  However, if the relevant portion of that shot has minimal noise, adding more exposure would not seem to add much to image quality.

I believe "stacking" essentially means combining (or merging) a number of photos of the same scene. The term doesn't tell us how they are combined. They could be averaged, they could be exposure fused, they could be manually processed, etc.

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