Oloneo HDRengine review
High dynamic range (HDR) photography involves shooting a scene at various exposure settings and combining them to create an image with a greater range of brightness than would normally be possible. Various general-purpose editors include a tool especially for this task, but dedicated HDR-processing software takes these techniques much further.
Oloneo HDRengine starts in the Browse module to help you locate your photos. Folder navigation could be neater but resizable previews, an EXIF data display and a Recent Projects panel keep things moving along nicely. Raw files are supported, with the ability to rescue highlight and shadow detail that's often stored in these files but discarded in cameras' JPEGs. Raw files from recently launched cameras such as the Canon PowerShot S100 and Panasonic GX1 aren't yet covered, but otherwise the list of supported cameras is comprehensive. The lens distortion correction data that's embedded into Micro Four Thirds cameras' raw files was disregarded, though. Once the source images have been selected, there are options to align them automatically and to remove ghosts created by movement in the scene. Then it's on to HDR processing.
The first thing that struck us about the main editing environment is how fast it is. The preview window updated instantly and constantly as we adjusted sliders, making it easy to fine-tune settings. When we zoomed in to see the image at 1:1 magnification, the preview resolution dropped as adjustments were made, but pixel-sharp previews appeared less than a second after we released the mouse button. When photos were shrunk to fit the screen, preview updates were pixel sharp and instant. It's a huge improvement on the performance of HDR Soft Photomatix, and an even bigger improvement on the basic HDR functions in Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel Paint Shop Pro.
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