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ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Fri 18-May-12 02:09 AM | edited Fri 18-May-12 12:04 PM by ljordan316

Are any of you HDR types getting a lot of noise as a result of merging three or more HDR frames?

I have been doing HDR with D300 bodies for almost three years. I have gotten excellent results with Photomatix, but even sharper images with less noise with CS5. I recently upgraded to Photomatix 4.2 and CS6. I have been running comparisons between my merge results with both. I have figured out how to get about the same sharpness with either CS6 merge or Photomatix merge. However, the noise in the Photomatix merge files are significantly higher than in the CS6 merge. Both seem to be more than I ever got with the D300.

I understand (with Winston Hall's help) that the following contribute to HDR merge noise:
- The HDR sequence was captured in very low light level scenes
- The scene has large areas of dark shadows
- Images are selected for HDR merging that are extremely under exposed
- Too many underexposed images (2 or 3) are merged into an HDR image
- Extreme tone mapping adjustments are applied

The frames I am merging and the tonemapping I am doing have none of these issues, yet I am getting a lot of noise. I shoot at 100 ISO most of the time for HDR. When I look at each individual frame, there is very little noise...I have to really look to see any.

I am puzzled.

What are you folks seeing?

Update 1:
I forgot to mention that I use Nik Define and Topaz Denoise as post noise reduction. I do no noise reduction before merge nor during the merge. When I use both in post merge, I can get rid of almost all of the noise without damage to the sharpness and details, but it is a lot of work.

Update 2:
Apparently lots of folks are experiencing high noise with HDR merges. Still not sure I am getting more just because of the D800, but Winston Hall just sent me a link to a great tutorial on reducing HDR-generated noise:
http://www.topazlabs.com/blog/topaz-denoise-for-hdr/?utm_source=mailinglist&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=maymonthly12

I had abandoned Topaz plug-ins because a local expert on large-format photography told me I would lose details by using them on D800 images because of the large pixel count in the images. I guess I have to revisit that decision now for HDR.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

Website:
http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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