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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zuiko and High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range... what does that mean?

If we understand the Zone System, a HDR image should be able to capture up to 11 stops from Zone O to Zone X. Thus, the image will have tonal gradations of up to 2048 shades. This is quite high for a sensor to capture, and in most cases, if the image is shot in JPEG, only 8 stops are captured. As such, to get HDR image, it is imminent to use multiple images to stretch the dynamic range.

E-3 with Zuiko Digital 11-22mm f2.8-3.5

11mm, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO200, -0.3EV

This is a shot of Tanah Lot in Bali, Indonesia. The sun was setting, and the landscape struck a chord for an HDR scene. Click on the image to see a bigger picture.

I used the E-3 with the Zuiko Digital 11-22mm f2.8-3.5 lens and captured in RAW format. Knowing that the E-3 is able to capture up to 9-10 stops of dynamic range, I opted to use 1 RAW file to make a composite of 3 JPEG files in different exposure compensation. Then, I processed the JPEGs in steps of +2.0EV, +0.5EV and -1.0EV.

Using the GIMP software, I merged the 3 JPEG files using contrast masking procedures, and VOILA!!! A bit of advice: Watch out for color shifts. This can be very difficult to correct if got it wrong in the first place.

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