Using HDR RAW files? K3

Started Jun 11, 2014 | Questions thread
Leandros S Senior Member • Posts: 1,970
Dynamic range RAW vs. JPEG

emem wrote:

Phil_Rose wrote:

I'm not sure where you got the handheld bit from. I try never to do HDR (in camera or not) handheld. See my last response for why I would like to do HDR in camera.

See the images below. The first was taken with the K-5, the second with the K-3. Both were taken as JPGs, using a tripod and the DA18-135 (not the sharpest lens you can use). These were shot as HDR and processed further in ACDsee. I doubt very much that you'd get any better by shooting RAW and manually blending in dedicated software. I think 90% of the "I only shoot in RAW" is a form of snobbery (or elitism or boasting or whatever). Everyone claims that RAW is to give you more dynamic range - but a high dynamic range image surely, by definition, already has more dynamic range.

Let's imagine three fenceposts at equal distance. Each has a can of paint on top of it. You're going to be shooting at these cans. You have a choice of two weapons, assumed to be of the same accuracy: A paintball gun and an elephant rifle. Your objective is to cover the largest possible transverse distance with paint. Your choice is clear: the elephant rifle puts more energy into the paint cans, therefore the paint will splatter further.

By analogy, even if your goal is to create an HDR image, and your JPEG and RAW are, for sake of argument, three images spaced 2 Ev apart, you can generate more dynamic range from the raw images UNLESS the JPEGs have already had their DR increased. However, I've seen no evidence that Pentax firmware works with high DR JPEGs for HDR creation, nor that DR settings for JPEGs are honoured when creating HDRs in firmware.

As the fencepost example also illustrates, the effect diminishes with the number of fenceposts, as long as they remain at the same distance to each other (e.g. with five images at 2 Ev distance, covering a total of 8 Ev, the DR difference between JPEG and RAW will be much less; however, colour depth may be another issue!)

Nice workshop images btw.

Note: I do not condone the shooting of elephants except if necessary to maintain ecosystem balance, or in a veterinary context.

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