For a lot of people this will sound like old news as it was already published back in March on the digikam website with the release of the newest version of Kipi-plugins. For those who do not yet know the parent-program, DigiKam:
"digiKam is an advanced digital photo management application for Linux, Windows, and Mac-OSX.
The people who inspired digiKam's design are the photographers like you who want to view, manage, edit, enhance, organize, tag, and share photographs under Linux systems.
I have only now downloaded "Expoblending" with a recent update through Synaptic but as shown on the DigiKam website, it is also available on MacOS and Windows. Expoblending uses align_image_stack
) to register hand-held exposuresand Enfuse
(Enfuse - PanoTools.org Wiki
) to fuse the exposures.
Expoblending can work with JPEGs, TIFFs and even directly off of RAW files (including PEF and DNG) , where a bitdepth of 16 is maintained). Except for selecting the files to be processed and checking off a few options when processing the final images, the whole thing is fully automated. I have given it a try on a few handheld shots of the cathedral in Brussels that I took this weekend I'm quite satisfied with the userfriendliness of the processing and with the end-result. You can be the judge.
These were the original exposures (normal, -2 en +2 stops):
Lets start Expoblending:
And add three jpeg files (the eventual result will be an 8-bit PNG file):
or of course the RAW files, Pentax PEFs in this case(the eventual result will be a 16-bit PNG file):
We can now choose to have the three hand-held shot automatically registered:
This does take some time, especially when processing RAWs:
After which we are ready for the next and final step:
A few parameters can be adjusted to taste for Enfuse, which is normally a command-line tool such as having the levels adjusted automatically. You can obviously leave the last step out to be executed to taste in an image-editing package, like the GIMP.
And the final result can be saved:
This is the endresult, after some USM:
All of the screenprints are on my Fotki page Expoblend album | Mike Bing | Fotki.com
I feel that with exposure-blending the result remains more natural looking than with any HDR process I used. On top of that, noise is kept to a minimul, different lighting sources are replicated more as I remember having seen them and the amount of detail is exquisite. Not to mention the fact that a tripod is no longer essential!