Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Using HDR and DRO in the Sony A550

I`ve got many requests for proper HDR and DRO images taken with the Sony A550, so here goes.All images were taken handheld, between 35-70mm, shot as fine JPEGs in P mode. No post processing was done. Iso was set to auto for the first three images but was maintained at 400 for all other comparison images.

Auto HDR shot: DSC01952.jpg

Same scene without HDR: DSC01951.jpg

You can see in the above, how the details are more visible in the darker areas with HDR turned on. Mind you these were taken in very poor lighting.

A similar scene with Auto HDR: DSC01938.jpg


Now for some images where the settings were manually chosen. The following images were taken in the evening with the light slowly fading. Keep an eye out for detail in the trees and the clouds.

HDR with 3EV: HDR3-2.jpg

HDR with 2EV: HDR2-2.jpg

HDR with 1EV: HDR1-2.jpg

Auto HDR: AUTO HDR-2.jpg

DRO Lv5: DRO5-2.jpg

DRO Lv4: DRO4-2.jpg

DRO Lv3: DRO3-2.jpg

DRO Lv2: DRO2-2.jpg

DRO Lv1: DRO1-2.jpg

No DRO: NONE-2.jpg

Both DRO and HDR does a good job at bringing forth the dark details. I think it would be a matter of personal choice if you would use HDR or DRO. Then again it depends on what you are shooting and the light available too. So far I`ve been leaving the DRO at Lv3 by default. With the camera doing a great job at higher ISO, and with a tendency for the auto ISO to default to ISO 1600, some of my images have been getting slightly over exposed.

..and these during daytime:

HDR with 3EV:HDR3.jpg

HDR with 2EV:HDR2.jpg

HDR with 1EV:HDR1.jpg

Auto HDR: Auto HDR.jpg

DRO Lv 5: DRO5.jpg

DRO Lv 4:DRO4.jpg

DRO Lv 3:DRO3.jpg

DRO Lv 2:DRO2.jpg

DRO Lv 1:DRO1.jpg

Auto DRO:Auto DRO.jpg

No DRO:none.jpg

Even with ample lighting available, the advantages of both DRO and HDR can be noticed, with enhanced contrast and detail emerging in the images.g

Finally a number of you have enquired as to what would  happen if there was movement during the  HDR shoot. In good light, with little movement (shake) the camera does a great job of aligning the images perfectly and no error is detectable. However, when faced with low light conditions where there needs to be longer exposures in the two images, it is not enough to handhold the camera. The below image was taken at dusk with the light almost gone.


Although not much is noticeable in the full image, when zoomed in, you begin to see the two images have been mis-aligned resulting in artefacts. However say that in its defence I must say that HDR was probably never meant to be used with live moving subjects. In this case I should have gone for DRO instead.

HDR crop

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Please leave a comment on what you liked or disliked about this post. Any thoughts on technique or improvements are welcome.