Size Does Matter…

…or so my wife keeps telling me. Come to think of it she’s right, especially when you are using HDR software to process your images. Take this one for example;

I originally processed it using SNS-HDR Pro, which gives a very natural looking image, but I wanted to experiment with blending in a very vivid and punchy output from Photomatix. What a mess! They just wouldn’t line up and no matter what I did the new image always looked slightly blurred. Time for some investigation.

First step was to download some trials of various HDR software packages. The RAW output from my camera in DNG format is 3872 x 2592 pixels. ACR does not change this size when it’s reading the RAW files or when it’s converting them to TIFF. So where possible I used ACR to export my RAW images to the various HDR software packages. In all cases I allowed the HDR package to align the three RAW images and then process them. The final processed image I then saved as a TIFF file.

Now I can understand that after the alignment process the RAW images are not exactly going to be 3872 x 2592 pixels anymore because the software has to move them around slightly. Which means that to present me with a uniform image at the end of the processing there might have to be some cropping. What I wasn’t prepared for though was the variations in the size of cropping and, in some cases, actually making the images larger than 3872 x 2592. The table below shows the results from the tests I carried out.

Source Image Size
Camera 3872 x 2592
Adobe Camera RAW 3872 x 2592
PhotoMatix 3872 x 2592 *
Dynamic Photo HDR 3896 x 2616
HDR Expose 3884 x 2602
HDR Photo Pro 3844 x 2578
NIK HDR Efex 3861 x 2758
SNS-HDR Pro 3876 x 2586

PhotoMatix was the only one that preserved the original image size when exported from Lightroom, but, only if you remember to make sure that the Tick Box “Crop Aligned Result” isn’t selected.

If you’re like me you probably have several HDR applications in your arsenal. My tests show me that to blend different HDR outputs I’m going to have a few problems when it comes to the size of the images. It may only be a few pixels difference between each one but in this case “Size Does Matter”

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