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Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6134 posts

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Wed 18-Apr-12 08:49 PM | edited Wed 18-Apr-12 10:32 PM by Arkayem

I haven't seen any reviews about the HDR feature that is in the D800, so I went out and took a few shots today comparing RAW and HDR.

HDR images are formed by the camera by taking two shots in rapid succession and combining them to make a single image. It seems to work extremely well. I like the HDR images better than the RAW images in every case. The original images are discarded.

HDR requires you to shoot jpegs, so I was using Large Fine jpegs with quality priority compression. That results in jpegs that are about 24MB each. 14 bit RAW with lossless compression makes 45MB images.

I took most of the test images on a tripod using Live View, but I was quite amazed to find that it also works very well handheld.

I have attached a few of the shots after this post.

Here is a link to my SmugMug gallery. You can view the original there if you want to marvel at the incredible detail this camera can capture!
http://www.russmacdonaldphotos.com/Smugmug-Site-Galleries/D800-built-in-HDR/

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

Click on image to view larger version

RAW on tripod


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HDR on tripod


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HDR on tripod


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RAW on tripod


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RAW on tripod


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HDR on tripod


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RAW handheld


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HDR handheld
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af4nc

Yardley, US
3194 posts

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#1. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 0

af4nc Registered since 07th Jul 2007
Wed 18-Apr-12 07:50 PM

Nice comparison, I haven't used that feature yet with my D800
Thanks for bringing the shots here.

Tom MILLS
Its all about the light and composition
My best investment is my Nikonians membership.
af4nc@msn.com
www.tommills.zenfolio.com

bobcooley

New York, US
30 posts

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#2. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 0

bobcooley Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Apr 2009
Wed 18-Apr-12 09:05 PM

Thanks for sharing - some interesting results!

bobCooley
photographer | communicationsStrategist
nyc/miami


www.bobcooleyphoto.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Jimi

South Lake Tahoe, US
349 posts

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#3. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 2

Jimi Team Member Nikonian since 09th Nov 2006
Thu 19-Apr-12 01:20 AM

They look great. My question is; is the raw image unprocessed? the jpg are processed by D800.

What if you took a one shot jpg and a 2 shot HDR jpg and compared. It almost looks like you could process the raw to look as good as the HDR? Maybe?

Jim Stamates
Nikonians Academy Workshop Instructor

https://www.nikoniansacademy.com
http://stamates.com/blog
http://www.stamates.com

RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3373 posts

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#4. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 3

RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter Member
Thu 19-Apr-12 01:38 AM

Quote>They look great. My question is; is the raw image
>unprocessed? the jpg are processed by D800.
>
>What if you took a one shot jpg and a 2 shot HDR jpg and
>compared. It almost looks like you could process the raw to
>look as good as the HDR? Maybe?<Quote<<<

Probably, but a lot more work to post process a NEF.

I will try this on Landscapes and Group shots,
as I almost always shoot Large Fine JPEGs anyway.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6134 posts

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#5. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 4

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Thu 19-Apr-12 10:49 AM

<quote<<<
>I will try this on Landscapes and Group shots,
</quote<<<

I don't think camera HDR will work well for group shots. It doesn't handle movement well at all. If someone moves even a slight bit between the two exposures, it will be evident in a large print.

I plan to use it on landscapes when I want a quick camera HDR.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide


Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6134 posts

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#6. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 3

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Thu 19-Apr-12 10:45 AM | edited Thu 19-Apr-12 10:59 AM by Arkayem

>They look great. My question is; is the raw image
>unprocessed? the jpg are processed by D800.

I imported the raw images into LR4 where they got the Adobe default processing for the Standard Profile during the raw conversion. Other than that, I didn't touch them. All the sliders are centered except the white balance, which picked up the auto white balance setting from the camera.

>What if you took a one shot jpg and a 2 shot HDR jpg and
>compared.

I didn't think to shoot a single jpeg without the HDR feature turned on. Now, I wish I had. I switched only between raw and HDR. However, my observation is that on the D800 in general, the large fine jpegs appear visually identical to the raw, with slight brightness differences, assuming I have all the default settings selected on the camera. But I think I could adjust my exposure preset in LR4 to eliminate even the brightness differences during the import of raw images.

One thing I don't particularly like is that there is no indication that a jpeg received the camera HDR processing. The camera automatically takes two images which are not stored on the card. Then, it combines them and saves only the HDR result on the card using the next available sequence number. All indications are that it is a normal jpeg.

>It almost looks like you could process the raw to
>look as good as the HDR? Maybe?

Yes, I think I could get close to the HDR look by adjusting the raw images. They have tons of adjustment range. However, that would take extra post processing time versus the HDR jpeg, and as a wedding photographer, I'm always looking for ways to reduce post processing time without sacrificing the quality.

I doubt I will use the HDR feature much when shooting a wedding, though. If you look closely in the HDR images, you will see a person moving in a couple of them, and the HDR algorythm does not select the best of the two images like you can do in photoshop. Instead, it blends the two and that leaves a double image where the person has moved between the two exposures.

I think the HDR feature is really nice for lanscapes and architecture. However, when I shoot those subjects, I usually don't take many images, so post-processing is minimal, and raw would probably be better. Then, if I want a really good HDR, I will combine raw images in CS5. It does a much better job of making HDRs than the camera!

But, it is always good to know about all the features on a camera!

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide












deenab

US
5 posts

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#7. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 0

deenab Registered since 01st May 2012
Wed 02-May-12 12:45 AM

I don't have my manual in front of me but I think I recall seeing two options for using the in camera HDR on the D800. One seems like what you used -- resulting in a single JPG output.

I think there is a second option where you can specify how many shots to combine and I don't know if you get only one result or you get all the base files as well.

Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6134 posts

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#8. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 7

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Wed 02-May-12 10:53 AM

>I don't have my manual in front of me but I think I recall
>seeing two options for using the in camera HDR on the D800.
>One seems like what you used -- resulting in a single JPG
>output.
>
>I think there is a second option where you can specify how
>many shots to combine and I don't know if you get only one
>result or you get all the base files as well.

You are right that there are two options, but they don't have the functionality you mentioned.

You can choose Single Shot or Multiple Shot modes. In Single shot the camera returns to normal mode after a single HDR shot. In Multiple Shot mode, the camera stays in HDR mode indefinitely.

The HDR mode always uses two shots, and the base shots are not saved.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide





Darrell Cottam

Halifax, CA
29 posts

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#9. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 0

Darrell Cottam Registered since 15th Apr 2012
Wed 02-May-12 11:44 AM

They look very good, thanks for sharing.

ricardoed

BR
6 posts

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#10. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 9

ricardoed Registered since 28th Jul 2012
Wed 03-Oct-12 07:05 PM

I got my D800 a few days ago and would like to inform that its HDR feature works not only in JPG, but also in TIF.

Rharbison

US
33 posts

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#11. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 10

Rharbison Registered since 24th Apr 2008
Wed 03-Oct-12 11:19 PM

I really wish Nikon wouldn't delete the raw files. I don't know if this could be fixed in firmware or not. While the jpg HDR looks good, I would much rather have the raw files too, just in case I want to export them to a stand alone HDR program that has additional functionality, such as the ability to add control points.

ricardoed

BR
6 posts

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#12. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 11

ricardoed Registered since 28th Jul 2012
Thu 04-Oct-12 09:53 AM

Rharbison,
You can save the HDR in TIF and edit it in CNX including the addition of control points.

slalom002

Ottawa, CA
69 posts

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#13. "RE: HDR Feature in D800" | In response to Reply # 0

slalom002 Registered since 11th Oct 2008
Thu 04-Oct-12 11:06 AM

Thank you for sharing the comparison shots. You have done a great job of showing how useful this can be.

I have had my D800 for less than a month but I have tried using the internal HDR mode with a tripod and I agree that it is easy to use, quick and gives a realistic image.

I have also done some using 5 exposures, RAW files, CS5, some tweaking and lots of patience. Even on a fast Mac with lots of RAM, it takes time.

Your comparison shots have made me curious. Next time I set up I will shoot some comparisons - RAW, JPEG, in-camera HDR and a CS5 HDR.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

G