HDR2 Test at Grande Hermine

This article features some HDR2 test images captured at the La Grande Hermine replica vessel which is situated near Jordan Harbour Marina. Readers who are interested in the history of the original La Grande Hermine and the replica situated at Jordan Harbour can use the link provided.

As regular readers know, I like to test out various photographic technologies… in many cases just to see what will happen.

Over the past four years or so since I bought my first E-M1X I haven’t  really done any work at all with the HDR2 function resident in it. I decided it was time to do so.  Last week I had about an hour of free time so I headed off to Jordan Harbour to do a quick HDR2 test. The images featured in this article were captured in less than 15 minutes.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-200, handheld HDR2, out-of-camera jpeg

With my very first photograph it was obvious to me that when using HDR2 technology the out-of-camera jpegs would not be useable. This didn’t upset me at all… but rather intrigued me as the jpegs looked very different than HDR1 out-of-camera jpegs.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/5.6, -0.5 EV, 1/400, ISO-200, handheld HDR2

When I worked with the HDR2 RAW files in post I found it a bit challenging. My usual approach working with landscape images in post just wasn’t cutting it. These files required me to rethink how I approached working with them in post. The images in this article are my initial attempts at devising a specific regimen when dealing with HDR2 RAW files. This is far from being fine tuned!

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 38 mm, efov 76 mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-200, handheld HDR2, out-of-camera jpeg

I tried purposely underexposing my HDR2 images by about -0.7 EV to see if it would improve the out-of-camera jpegs. I found it made only a modest amount of difference as you can see with the out-of-camera jpeg above.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 38 mm, efov 76 mm, f/5.6, -0.5 EV, 1/400, ISO-200, handheld HDR2

On the positive side, regardless of my initial exposures, the corresponding HDR2  RAW files have a lot of latitude with which to work in post. My challenge was figuring out some kind of reasonably consistent and workable process in post, given the combination of software that I use.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 29 mm, efov 58 mm, f/5.6, -0.5 EV, 1/250, ISO-200, handheld HDR2

I typically shoot using Auto White Balance. I found that I had to adjust the white balance with each image in post. This is easily done  of course and isn’t a huge issue. In the future I may experiment with manually setting my white balance to see what effect that has with file quality.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/5.6, -0.5 EV, 1/500, ISO-200, handheld HDR2

After I began to get a bit more familiar with these HDR2 RAW files things went a little quicker. I still had to spend more time on these files than I typically would have done… maybe a couple of minutes or so.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/5.6, -0.5 EV, 1/500, ISO-200, handheld HDR2

As is the case with HDR1 RAW files, the HDR2 RAW files also show a -0.5 EV exposure adjustment on the EXIF data. As mentioned earlier, the corresponding jpegs look quite different between these two modes. It is also different working with the two modes in post. The HDR2 RAW files seem to need more incremental adjustments. The order of the adjustments appears to vary as well. At least with how I’ve been initially approaching them.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 17 mm, efov 34 mm, f/5.6, -0.5 EV, 1/500, ISO-200, handheld HDR2

While more experimentation is required, my early assessment is that I will likely prefer using HDR2 more than HDR1. Individual photographers will need to decide for themselves whether they like using either of these HDR in-camera technologies.

 Technical Note

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Two unprocessed out-of-camera jpegs appear in this article. All other images were produced from RAW files using my standard programs in post. This is the 1,330 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

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8 thoughts on “HDR2 Test at Grande Hermine”

  1. Had good results with handheld AE bracketing and hdr software. Especially the m43 has fast bracketing. Auto ISO 400-800 f4…f5.6 in A-mode. The in-camera HDR even in recents cameras is never great.

  2. After reading your article I’ve been experimenting with HDR2 RAW. I like the results I’m getting. I did run into a problem with the sky being clipped, but by setting a negative exposure compensation the clipping problem goes away in RAW as well as in JPG.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with HDR2 RAW. I also found that there is good potential to work with this technology. I plan on doing more experimentation in the future which will include using exposure compensation.


    1. Hi Ben,

      I appreciated your question about purposely underexposing an image to see how the out-of-camera jpeg may be affected. I actually did this with the second out-of-camera jpeg featured in this article… by -0.7 EV. After reviewing the article it became apparent that my original text did not clearly state this purposeful underexposure… so I adjusted the wording accordingly.


    1. Hi Ben,

      I think the images being “a bit heavy in colour” has more to do with my initial attempts at post processing these particular files… and my subjective interpretation of the photographs. More experience working with these types of files would yield more variety of interpretation. Some folks may prefer colours that are not as intense.


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