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Thread: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnicklin View Post
    So the feature is only usable if one shoots jpegs or RAW + jpeg. That's something to keep in mind at least.
    @jnicklin- this is not true in the slightest. You don't need to shoot RAW + jpg to use ISO bracketing. Keep everything set to RAW, and just make sure you start with a minimum ISO 200 value to start if you want 3 different exposures. When brought into LR, you will see not only 3 exposures, but 3 different ISO values, all as RAW files.

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    A very long thread over on DPReview about this very subject - ISO Bracketing, what it really does...: Olympus SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review.

    Is it Tone Mapping or is it HDR?

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    That thread seems more like folks wanting to achieve in-camera capabilities. This thread was to explore ISO bracketing techniques for 32bit HDR processing which is currently only available in Adobe Photoshop CS6 / CC

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by findramon View Post
    That thread seems more like folks wanting to achieve in-camera capabilities. This thread was to explore ISO bracketing techniques for 32bit HDR processing which is currently only available in Adobe Photoshop CS6 / CC
    I didnt see that consensus, mostly it seemed to be a longwinded way of lampooning one particular 'actor' which gets stated fairly early

    I recall making the case that 3 jpegs, a stop up and a stop down create a resultant image that yields more DR (question mark)
    'they' didn't buy that
    I remember saying something about E3 fragile highlights
    that didn't run either
    I could have said that the DR of E3 was as close to what it yielded in RAW anyway, that you had nothing to lose and everything to gain
    I expect 'they' would just restate their position

    'they' contended that you could not possibly have more DR than an original RAW,you should have seen that
    I could have said that, for the purposes which we seek more DR, the resulting image establishes the functionality of more DR
    and make the case that,if 3 images aren't enough, what about 1012 ?
    but it wouldn't have mattered, people opposing any attempt at a positive or logical view would routinely disagree

    at the end of the day I figure I know a thing or two about what will work for me and what wont
    and the magic of the argument between trolls and assistant trolls somehow loses its magic
    I don't have any patience with any of them
    Riley

    Olympus User, Pro Photographer since 2003

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by findramon View Post
    @RAH. Since when can you duplicate a RAW image file and change a value on top of that? I don't understand how that is possible. The goal for 32bit HDR processing requires only RAW files to be used to get the best details from each exposure.
    I didn't mean duplicate the file. I meant that it seemed that you can produce the same results (i.e. duplicate the results) from one RAW file by tweaking its settings. I was just paraphrasing my understanding of what Julie had said earlier: 'the camera was only doing one analog reading from a single exposure and then creating three identical ORFs, except the files had different metadata telling the RAW developer and the in-camera JPEG engine to develop each with a different brightness ("ISO"). The data contained in the three "bracketed" ORFs was identical, down to the last byte.'

    However, I do think that even if all this is true, it would make it easier to do an HDR image starting with the 3 images from the bracketed ISO technique.
    Rich
    Olympus E-M10; Panasonic GM5
    m4/3 lenses: Oly 75-300; Oly 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II R; Oly 17 f1.8; Oly 40-150 f4.0-5.6 R; Oly WCON-P01 adapter; Rokinon f7.5 fisheye; Sigma 19 f2.8; Pan 20 f1.7; Pan 12-35 f2.8; Pan 12-32

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    I will try this technique very first time I get an opportunity (HD scene, landscape). I will shoot both ways, shutter speed and ISO range and develop in the same way through same converter (32 bit ACR) AND through some other (Nik) converter.
    Then I will report and note cons/pros which worked for me. I do like idea of not having ghosting in clouds and lakes even if it gives me a bit more noise.
    Noise can be really toned down these days. Even for a demanding micro stock inspectors who are the most picky about noise.

    One of my first 32bit HDR experiments:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Actually I wouldn't call it HDR when developed in this fashion. I think eXDR for extended d. r. is much more suitable.
    Cameras:E-5; E-3; E-1; E-620; GH-1
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    And while you are at it, Like it if you like it

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    I think to actually see the difference you are going to have to have a scene where with a single exposure you are either going to have blown highlights or black shadows or both. You can't change the amount of light falling on the sensor by changing the ISO. You need to have a scene where the camera can't handle the range of brightness in a single exposure. What you are trying to "recover" is the detail you lost in the clipped highlights or the black shadows. If a photo does not use the whole dynamic range of the sensor then yes you can increase the "dynamic range" of that photo but not of what the sensor is capable of capturing. Also remember that as you increase ISO your dynamic range decreases.
    Last edited by saburns; 08-08-2013 at 08:24 PM.

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by findramon View Post
    @ Julie, I think your contribution comes across as downplaying the significance of not only ISO Bracketing (which any modern Pro Canikon can do by the way), but ISO bracketing for HDR.
    Hi Ramon.

    I'm not sure what you mean by downplaying. The way I see it, there are two possibilities here. One is that you are right, and the E-5 is doing something revolutionary with its ISO bracketing, in which case I said, "it would be a game changer for many photographers, and Olympus would be shouting it from the rooftops." I don't see how calling a feature a game changer is in any way downplaying it?

    The other possibility is that it is too good to be true, and the E-5 is doing the same thing as the earlier Oly bodies that feature ISO bracketing, which is to make three identical ORFs with different metadata. If that's the case, then I think I was making a totally fair assessment when I wrote, "I can see advantages for some JPEG shooters and for some RAW and HDR workflows."

    If the E-5 is working the way you think it is, and if anybody here is downplaying things -- massively! -- don't you think it's Olympus? I've NEVER seen them mention ISO bracketing as a selling point.


    If you looked at the example images that I uploaded
    I did look. First, let me say that the finished image is fantastic! Very cool model, lighting, staging, pp, etc.

    I opened up the bracketed images in different tabs, but for some reason the ones labeled ISO 200 and ISO 400 look the same, when I know the ISO 400 one should be noticeably brighter. I trust what you say and don't need to see the ISO 400 file as proof, but I thought you might want to know.

    At any rate, there is no side-by-side comparison against a single ORF, so it's hard to comment on shadow/highlight retrieval, but as far as I can tell from the information available, I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing could have been done with a single E-5 ORF, given the right workflow.

    Honestly, I suspect that's exactly what happened -- a single ORF shot at ISO 200 was developed three times at different brightness settings.

    I could be wrong, and the E-5 could be doing something totally different from the previous cameras. In fact, I would love to be wrong! I've been interested in the ISO bracket feature ever since I owned the E-3. It's just that the evidence seems to be overwhelmingly against true ISO bracketing in the E-5. The biggest question mark is, if Olympus implemented this amazing feature three years ago, what reason could they possibly have for keeping it a secret? Modesty? Or maybe they went to great effort and expense to create a new industry-leading technology without understanding its implications? Why has nobody else noticed until now? Where is the patent? I'm afraid it just doesn't add up.

    Answering my own question rarely comes from posing on a thread such as this. Only a technical rep from Olympus could truly answer what is going on.
    I don't know if I agree with that, as far as determining whether the E-5 is doing something special here. Either three ISO bracketed ORFs from the E-5 contain all different information and collectively more data than any single file could, or they don't. It's as simple as that. It seems like that should be something that can be tested by users with decent software and technical knowledge, like was done a few years ago over on DPR (thanks for the link, Steve!).

    Nevertheless, I'll definitely start using this feature moving forward, since even at ISO 100 & 200 with AE Bracketing, I'll be able to get a 2nd dimension of detail from an exposure string.
    It seems like a good plan. I actually don't doubt that you get better results from ISO bracketing than from a single exposure. It seems possible that it's like Rich said, if I'm reading him correctly: the "bracketed" images make a good starting point for HDR processing. I don't know what the reason would be for that. Maybe it has something to do with tone curves and the way your Adobe software processes the files.

    Julie


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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnicklin View Post
    I shot a few frames to see what happens. The thumbnails for each triplet look different, one dark, one light, one just right. When I take the orfs into LR4, the resulting images are identical, no difference from one to the next. The metadata says that they were shot at three different ISO values with the same shutter and f-stop as would be expected. Curious.
    Just curious, John, but was this done with the E-3 or the E-5? How did you determine that the files (minus metadata) were identical?

    Julie


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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidh202 View Post
    Hate to burst the bubble here but ISO Bracketing is not so special at all, and was available on the E-3 also. Remember that Oly Guru Wrotniak ...here's what he had to say about the setting on the E-3... " This is really autoexposure bracketing by means of changing the ISO only. (Yes, at extreme ISO value it works only in one direction, leaving some frames identical.) Again, Off by default. "Autoexposure bracketing can be dialed in after pressing simultaneously the [Mode] and [AF] buttons. (This may be not most intuitive combination, but it is better than going through the menu system in the E-510!)
    The exposure difference between neighboring frames can be set to
    • 1/3, 2/3, or 1 EV if the exposure adjustment step is 0.3 EV;
    • 1/2 or 1 EV if that step is 0.5 EV.

    This makes sense and should be enough for any "normal" use, but I've received complaints from some E-510 users who would like to be able to apply larger values for use with extended dynamic range applications (which take a number of differently exposed frames and combine them into one).
    In film cameras I've used (at least those with autowind), the camera would automatically shoot all frames as needed upon a single shutter release. Not so in the E-3: you have to press the release button three or five times (the indicator in the Control Panel changes color in the middle of the sequence, the ones in the finder or top panel blink). You may switch the drive mode to sequential, but even then you have to keep the shutter pressed long enough, or the sequence will be incomplete (although the shooting will stop after the sequence is done.)
    This means that to use bracketing I have to alter two settings, not just one, and I find it quite irritating. At least there should be a preference setting to change this.
    Exposure adjustment in this process depends on the mode: in shutter priority the aperture is changed from one frame to another; in aperture priority the shutter, and in program — both (in the same amount). ISO bracketing is basically the same, achieving the effect by adjusting the ISO down and up from the value set. Three frames can be shot, with the ISO difference between them as above. If you are already at the ISO setting limit, two or three frames in the sequence will be identical, i.e., using the same ISO value.
    With my e3, set to auto bracket ISO, one shutter activation gives 3 frames with three different ISO settings, aperture and shutter stay the same as would be expected. In the tests I did, my initial ISO was 200 so I got one at that setting and two more, one at 100 and one at 400. Didn't have to press the release more than once.
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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by windsprite View Post
    Just curious, John, but was this done with the E-3 or the E-5? How did you determine that the files (minus metadata) were identical?

    Julie
    No, I didn't do any fancy magic, just looked at the histograms which were all pretty much the same, so much so that they appeared identical. I used an e3, so there might be some big difference with the e5. LR shows the frames as virtually identical, Viewer 2 shows them as different, but with virtually identical histograms.. I did some HDR in PS5 and the results were no different than processing the target frame (the one shot at the set ISO). Like I said, maybe the e5 does something different. I'm going to try a few more tests, but for me it's not a game changer. If I want HDR, I'll use another technique... for now anyways.
    __________________________________________________ _____________________________________ ​
    ​John Nicklin

    e3, ZD 11-22, ZD 12-60, Sigma 70-200, EC14, FL50R, 5DMkIII, 24-105 L, 70-200 f4 L, RB67, OM1, B&J 8x10, 5DIII, 24-105 f4 L, 70-200 f4 L, 100D.
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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnicklin View Post
    No, I didn't do any fancy magic, just looked at the histograms which were all pretty much the same, so much so that they appeared identical. I used an e3, so there might be some big difference with the e5. LR shows the frames as virtually identical, Viewer 2 shows them as different, but with virtually identical histograms.. I did some HDR in PS5 and the results were no different than processing the target frame (the one shot at the set ISO). Like I said, maybe the e5 does something different. I'm going to try a few more tests, but for me it's not a game changer. If I want HDR, I'll use another technique... for now anyways.
    OK, that's pretty much what you would expect from the E-3, but like you say, the E-5 may be different. Thanks John!

    Julie


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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by windsprite View Post

    It seems like a good plan. I actually don't doubt that you get better results from ISO bracketing than from a single exposure. It seems possible that it's like Rich said, if I'm reading him correctly: the "bracketed" images make a good starting point for HDR processing. I don't know what the reason would be for that. Maybe it has something to do with tone curves and the way your Adobe software processes the files.
    I just meant that if this ISO bracketing is really just the same as starting with ONE raw file and fiddling with the settings to produce 3 versions, it might be easier to have the camera produce those 3 images for you and start from that point, with the 3 files all ready to go.
    Rich
    Olympus E-M10; Panasonic GM5
    m4/3 lenses: Oly 75-300; Oly 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II R; Oly 17 f1.8; Oly 40-150 f4.0-5.6 R; Oly WCON-P01 adapter; Rokinon f7.5 fisheye; Sigma 19 f2.8; Pan 20 f1.7; Pan 12-35 f2.8; Pan 12-32

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnicklin View Post
    ... When I take the orfs into LR4, the resulting images are identical, no difference from one to the next. The metadata says that they were shot at three different ISO values with the same shutter and f-stop as would be expected. Curious.
    Actually Olympus is cheating! The camera does nothing to the RAW files, all three so called 'bracketed' files are identical! The only change is in the value entered in the EXIF data. I checked it with several converters and they all produced identical JPEG/TIFF images from the 'bracketed' RAW files. The only converter which treats it as bracketed exposures, and produces bracketed images, is Olympus Viewer! The play-back in camera is also rigged to show as if the images are bracketed.

    Moshe

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    I've tried ISO bracketing multiple times with both the E-3 and EPL-2 with identical results. RAW, 3 frame bracket at -1, 0, +1, base ISO 400, gradation normal. Opened all with Adobe Camera RAW in Photoshop CS5, and confirmed identical results in LR4. Reported ISO in ACR is 200, 400 and 800. In every case the ACR histograms are identical for the 400 and 800 ISO frames, but showing slightly reduced exposure for the 200 ISO frames. Tried it again with base ISO at 800, for a spread of 400, 800 and 1600. Same result, the two higher ISO frames have identical histograms, but the lower one shows slightly less exposure.

    The histogram differences between the base ISO and -1 conditions were much smaller than in separate frames recorded at ISO 400 and 200. The histogram differences in the bracketed shots were equivalent to reducing the exposure slider by about 0.15.

    As reported by others, the situation is different when looking at the previews in Bridge or LR. The previews are always jpegs and are built with the reported ISO differences which is also reflected in the preview histograms. RAW image results are different.

    So, I'm left thinking the ISO bracketing feature must have been intended for jpeg use with moving subjects, and it is a programming mistake that it can be enabled in RAW.

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    ------response from Olympus---------
    Dear Ramon,

    Thank you for contacting Olympus Technical Support.

    In regards to you question about bit depth and ISO bracketing, the E-5 use
    a 12 bit sensor, and the ISO bracketing does not capture 3 different
    exposures, it simply takes the same exposure, makes two extra copies, and
    adjusts the levels to match the ISO's that are equivalent. To get the most
    amount of information for the method you are using, exposure bracketing
    will provide more information. This is ideal for landscape or still life
    objects.

    However, for some subjects, such as portraits, the ISO BKT is the only
    option that can be used, as the risk of ghosting is very high with these
    subjects. In that type of situation, it is better to use the JPEG ISO bkt
    and merge together after the fact, for the HDR effect. The Olympus E-M5
    uses a newer, lower noise sensor with improved tonal range, but this is
    also 12 bits.

    If you require additional assistance please reply to this email leaving the
    complete history intact.


    Best Regards,

    Olympus Technical Support
    Olympus Imaging America Inc.
    ------------end response----------

    So, based on this reply, it is just a single RAW file with varying values that can still be read as 3 separate RAW files for HDR processing in Photoshop. I am unaware how to "fudge" a duplicate RAW files with different values in any easy manner. The other point that I disagree with is letting the E-5 process everything as a JPG in-camera. 1)you lose a ton of detail because it is a JPG and 2)you eliminate the digital darkroom workflow of using Camera RAW in Photoshop to help you fine tune and recover details accordingly.

    1 or 2 of your made the comment that this feature is not useful for HDR or whatever. For backdrops and backgrounds, I would choose AE bracketing every time, especially since you need something like a Cam Ranger for a Canikon to help automate the ISO bracketing approach (which could actually work well in studio for inanimate objects like product photography. That said, because I am getting 3 different RAW file versions of corresponding ISO, the histogram staying the same is moot. Try the HDR approach with your ISO bracket on a live/moving subject and the results are pretty impressive indeed.


    Kind Regards,
    ~Ramon

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    I know I am going to regret stirring the hornet's nest on this topic but technically this is not HDR. True HDR requires multiple exposures with the amount of light captured by the sensor varied between exposures. Changing the ISO does not change the amount of light striking the sensor it just changes how the data is processed.

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    Default Re: ISO Bracketing with E-5: Too good to be true?

    Quote Originally Posted by saburns View Post
    I know I am going to regret stirring the hornet's nest on this topic but technically this is not HDR. True HDR requires multiple exposures with the amount of light captured by the sensor varied between exposures. Changing the ISO does not change the amount of light striking the sensor it just changes how the data is processed.
    Oh Saburns, you are too funny! Semantics- tomayto, tomahto. ISO, by definition, has everything to do with light sensitivity recorded at each capture. While the Oly way of ISO bracketing is just a "creative" way of giving 3, RAW files of the same exposure, it would most certainly be considered HDR if one were to manually change the ISO values over multiple exposures (using a tripod, of course). And, putting all of that aside, you are still able to process the separate RAW files via the HDR Pro Adobe Photoshop CS6 or CC function.

    My invitation to all of you is to get out there and try it and have fun



    ~Ramon

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