Testing HDR Merge in the New Adobe Camera Raw 9


"Lightroom 6, Panasonic 20mm V2, Print Restoration" - Photography Podcast 476

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Shoot Out - Lightroom HDR vs HDR Efex Pro 2

I've been running my RAW source files through Lightroom CC's HDR Photo Merge and Google's HDR Efex Pro 2 to compare the differences. I have head to head examples to show you here.

lightroom-hdr-sf-v2.jpg San Francisco Skyline - Image processed with 3 RAW source files in Lightroom CC. Photos by Derrick Story. Click on image for larger view. Also, you can see a better rendering of this image on the TDS Flickr page.

Lightroom's workflow is an all-RAW process. In other words, you start with your camera's RAW files, and the resulting merge is a DNG that you can process in the Develop module.

The advantage to this is that more quality is retained through post production. Take a look at the Lightroom version above. It has virtually no tell-tale edge glow on the skyline buildings, and the overall image is very clean.

hdr-efex-sf-v2.jpg San Francisco Skyline - Image processed with 3 RAW source files in HDR Efex Pro 2. Photos by Derrick Story. Click on image for larger view.

When I processed the same 3 source files in HDR Efex Pro 2, the resulting image was more dramatic. But it also included edge glow around the skyline buildings.

Now to keep things fair, remember that I made editing choices in both applications to reach the final result. But, in both cases, I was trying to produce the best photograph possible.

The opinion I'm developing about both of these applications is this: When I want a more "photographic" image, I'll use Lightroom CC for my HDR processing. I think the overall quality is higher, and there are fewer tell-tale HDR byproducts.

However, when I want pure drama, I think HDR Efex Pro 2 delivers the goods. And if necessary, I can clean up those tell-tale remnants in post.

Free Guide to Adobe HDR and Panoramas

Check out my free eBook, Rocky Nook's Guide to HDR and Panoramas with Photo Merge in Lightroom CC that shows you how to create beautiful HDRs and panoramas with the latest Adobe technologies.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Lightroom 6 (and CC) Ready for Primetime, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 V2 Hands On, OM-D E-M5 Mark II Firmware Update Makes for a Faster Start - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - "Apple buys camera-technology company LinX" - The acquisition would indicate that Apple is planning to do more of the imaging hardware development in-house. Currently the iPhone range uses image sensors supplied by Sony. An implementation of the LinX technology in future iPhone generations could not only mean improved image quality but also a whole new range of features. (Source: DP Review)

In other news... "NY State Police lock down campus for suspicious package that contained developing supplies" - After a full lockdown of the campus and immediate evacuation of the building containing the suspicious package, it was discovered via an X-ray machine that the package was nothing more than an abandoned container filled with supplies used for photographic development." (Source:

And finally... "Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Firmware Update 1.1" - Various fixes include: Audio can be faded out of movie files created with My Clips editing. Speed at which information is displayed when the camera is turned on has been improved. The issue of noise appearing in images captured while shooting with High Res Shot has been corrected. (Source The Photography Blog.)

Story #1 - "Lightroom CC Debuts" - Creative Cloud customers now have a brand new version to work with. The box version (Lightroom 6) is available too, but at a price. Highlights include:

  • New Photo Merge for both HDR and panoramas.
  • Facial recognition.
  • Advanced video slideshows.
  • Filter Brush: Precisely control which parts of your image are affected by the Graduated or Radial filters. Now you can use a brush to edit the filter's mask, adding or subtracting filter effects wherever you want.
  • Increased performance using GPU support (Mac OS X 10.9 or 10.10 only).
  • New camera profiles including: Canon 5Ds, Nikon D5500 and 7200, Olympus E-M5 Mark II and SH-2, Lumix GF-7, Fujifilm X-A2 and XQ2, and Samsung NX500.
  • Lots of new lens profiles.

Requires Mac OS X v10.8, 10.9, or 10.10 or Microsoft® Windows 7 with Service Pack 1, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1.

I have an eBook titled, "HDR and Panoramas with Photo Merge in Lightroom CC" that's published by Rocky Nook and that's available at this URL for the price of an email address.


Story #2 - "Hands on with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 II. This gem weighs in at only 3 ounces and measures 2.48" x 1.00". Its fast aperture and natural 40mm effective focal length make it a wonderful street shooter. More about it in today's second story.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Photo Restoration Techniques: Damaged Black-and-White Images with Neil Rhodes.

You can watch Neil in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Neil's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Virtual Camera Club News

News from SizzlPix: For April, We'll make it easy to delight your friends and relatives with SizzlPix of your or their favorite photographs with a Digital Story exclusive! Take a 20 percent discount; 25 percent on 2 or more shipped together. Just put "TDS April" in the comments space on the ordering page.

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Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

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