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Chromatic Aberrations and HDR

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Chromatic aberrations, which are also commonly called “color fringing”,  are a common problem in HDR photography.  This is a type of distortion caused by a lens, typically a cheaper model or a wide angle lens.  The lens fails to focus all colors to the same convergence point.  The end result is  fringes of color, which is particularly dramatic at high contrast edges, or along boundaries that separate dark and bright areas of the image.  The resulting image appears to be generally more blurry and this effect is worse at the edges of the image.

Photomatix Pro does have the option to “Reduce chromatic aberrations”,  and it is recommended to always have this box checked when processing HDR images.  The processing of HDR images in general tends to amplify the chromatic aberration effect, which can make the final image contain visible “fringing” and blurring.

Close up

To ultimately reduce chromatic aberrations in your HDR images, it is recommended to first convert your RAW exposures, preferably in Adobe Camera RAW, to either TIFFs or JPEGs, prior to combining them in Photomatix Pro.  The process of converting them, by choosing the  “Lens Correction” tab within Adobe Camera RAW, will reduce chromatic aberrations on your source images. Simply checking the box within Photomatix to reduce chromatic aberrations will not completely remove them.

Shooting in JPEG rather than RAW is not actually recommended, as the in-camera conversion from RAW to JPEG is typically not as good as using software such as Adobe Camera RAW.  It is much better to shoot in RAW and then convert to TIFF or JPEG later.

Please read my full Photomatix Pro version 4.0 HDR tutorial.

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