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Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps
  
 
kdrk888
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


I used the Smooth Reflection app several times, here is one:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/qzueWq]DSC03418 by Douglas Liu, on Flickr[/url]



Dec 20, 2015 at 10:57 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Today I tested the Sky App and got mixed results. Let's just say I didn't like the image quality.

I produced 3 images comparing exposure techniques using the same scene from the image I posted previously.

1) Using the Sky App: I tried my best to get a natural looking image on the LCD and was fiddling with it for a while until I was happy with what I saw. After the picture was taken, I even adjusted for better results before it was saved.
In Lightroom, the image from Sky App lacked density. It was not very malleable and highlights were not preserved as it was shown in-camera. They were not blown when checking the histogram but lowering the highlights slider would not make them any better. The image also has some weird shadows in some areas (don't ask me why) and I couldn't tweak it too much in post.

2) I used my ETTR Bracket method described here. In post I tried mimicking the look of the Sky App image.
The resulting image from the ETTR bracket looked the best to me. Deep clean shadows with great colors and contrast. it's very close to the image I saw at dusk lighting.

3) Used the Smooth Reflection app to take 256 images of the same scene. (mimicking a 8-stop filter)
This image also looked great. Sharp, Contrasty and great colors even at 1:1. Even though it was only one resulting shot (instead of 3 bracketed shots) it had even better shadows than 2). That is because it had tremendous signal to noise ratio from the median blending done in-camera.

After this test, I decided to stick with the ETTR technique for expanded DR and the Smooth Reflections App for whenever ND filters are not available or desired.

Ok here they are. Resized to 1,200 pixels.




1) Using the Sky App

  DSC-RX1RM2    35mm F2.0 lens    35mm    f/8.0    1s    100 ISO    +2.3 EV  






2) Bracket ETTR method

  DSC-RX1RM2    35mm F2.0 lens    35mm    f/8.0    1/3s    100 ISO    +0.3 EV  






3) Smooth Reflection app to take 256 images (8-stop ND equiv.)

  DSC-RX1RM2    35mm F2.0 lens    35mm    f/8.0    1/1s    100 ISO    +1.7 EV  




Dec 21, 2015 at 03:23 AM
dandrewk
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


That last shot reminds me of some ISO 50 Velvia shots I took with a Toyo 4x5 and Schneider lens.

Which is to say.... Wow!



Dec 21, 2015 at 04:26 AM
nntnam
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Fred Miranda wrote:
There is no interval time control but the minimal internal time seems to be about 1 second between exposures.



Thanks Fred.

Your last shot looks great. I has been using median blending for few months and the results pleased me very much. Especially now I don't have to deal with huge color cast when using high density ND filter.



Dec 21, 2015 at 06:26 AM
jviegas
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps




Yesterday I tried the Sky HDR app but only at home I've found that I needed to configure it's menu to RAW, I did like the final results of the tests..... in JPG



Dec 21, 2015 at 10:31 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


True,
Color cast is an issue even with very expensive filters.

nntnam wrote:
Thanks Fred.

Your last shot looks great. I has been using median blending for few months and the results pleased me very much. Especially now I don't have to deal with huge color cast when using high density ND filter.




Dec 21, 2015 at 07:51 PM
dandrewk
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


This is great news.

I recently had a 25 second shot that included SF Bay, low overcast clouds (bright) and some yellowish army barracks off in the mid ground. That combination of cool tones of the bay, warm tones of the barracks (and nearby hills) and neutral sky is a big challenge under normal circumstances. Adding a 10 ND filter (Hoya) made it a much bigger challenge.



Dec 21, 2015 at 08:48 PM
dennishh
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


I was trying out sky HDR and used it in the studio while I was shooting a lens to sell. It was set to -2 top +1 bottom. The horizon was set to 12 for the blending. Background was totally white.





Sky HDR 28mm f2 FE




Dec 21, 2015 at 11:20 PM
pdmphoto
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


^ Nice result!


Dec 22, 2015 at 01:51 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


dandrewk wrote:
That last shot reminds me of some ISO 50 Velvia shots I took with a Toyo 4x5 and Schneider lens.

Which is to say.... Wow!


Here is how it looks at 1:1 from the previously posted image.
Super clean shadows even after I bumped the exposure quite a bit.

Now we just need a Focus Stacking App from Sony....If they make one, it will probably have a weird name though.





256 shots using Smooth Reflections app (1:1 crop)




Dec 23, 2015 at 06:24 AM
 

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Frogfish
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Fred Miranda wrote:
I could never get it to work from my computer either...Another app you should try is the "Smooth Reflection". It also yields a RAW file.
Sky HDR should be called "GND" and Smoother Reflection "ND".


I simply can't get it to work either way. I can connect just fine by WiFi and have downloaded a free app that needed updating but whenever I try to buy an app (my Credit Card has already been registered) I log in and then get a "Network Error' every time. Maybe this is specifically a banned site in China (accessing the Hong Kong server).

Direct from the computer I get a warning from Chrome that Sony are using an old 'NAPI' format that is now a security risk and that these have been updated to PPAPI. Safari stops in the same place in the purchase procedure but without giving any explicit warning. Here's the explanation from Chrome :

https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/6213033

Sony really need to get their act together, they have always been a right PITA to use online and now it seems WiFi is not much better.



Dec 23, 2015 at 09:35 AM
TheEmrys
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Sounds like the Great Firewall of China.


Dec 23, 2015 at 11:54 AM
bulletlavolta
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


The camera gave my the exact same network error (and login screen even though i was logged in before) when i tried to purchase an app. I had to get really close to my router, then it suddenly worked for me.


Dec 23, 2015 at 12:33 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Currently there are some issues with El Capitan for Mac users.

Aside from that, Sony support wrote about possible solutions:

"If you cannot download the camera application successfully, please try again with one of the following supported browsers.
Windows: Internet Explorer
Mac: Safari

If you canít download the camera application successfully with the Safari web browser, please select the appropriate USB connection mode in your camera.
MENU → (Setup) → [USB Connection] → [Mass Storage] or [MTP]"



Dec 23, 2015 at 04:37 PM
RVRitcher
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


I, too, had problems, and maybe my experience will help someone??
While I don't recall the exact screen notation, each time I tried to pay w/ a credit card, nothing happened, then moving into my account details, the attempt was listed as something like "payment unavailable" -- that's not it, but you get the idea . . .

Tried MANY times, with same result, then went back into the account, changed payment priority to PayPal, and BINGO, all was good. All those prior, failed attempts were with a cc that's been used plenty this season, before and since, so I'm assured the account is valid and working. Good luck!

And thanks, Fred, for the detailed notes & images!! Most helpful and inspiring!!

Ron




Dec 23, 2015 at 06:43 PM
Frogfish
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


TheEmrys wrote:
Sounds like the Great Firewall of China.

If it's the GFC then you can't access the site at all. I am however using a VPN (on my iMac) so everything is accessible, though of course I can't use it on the camera



Dec 24, 2015 at 05:16 AM
johnmatrix84
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Reading this thread has intrigued me about both these apps. I did not realize the smooth reflection app averaged shots for its effect and both gave a raw output.. Sony does a terrible job of naming things. lol.

Just for everyone's information, as you average shots your signal to noise ratio decreases by the square root of the number of shots you are averaging. For example, if you take and average 16 shots, the signal to noise ratio will increase by a factor of the square root of 16 or 4. In other words, the noise floor should decrease by a factor of 4.



Dec 24, 2015 at 02:14 PM
mark1958
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


I went to the Coast near Ano Neuvo State Park yesterday and played with the reflection app. One point is that the App generated RAW files were half the size of my uncompressed single shot files. I regret I did not do some direct comparisons with my set of ND filters.


Dec 24, 2015 at 06:53 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


mark1958 wrote:
I went to the Coast near Ano Neuvo State Park yesterday and played with the reflection app. One point is that the App generated RAW files were half the size of my uncompressed single shot files. I regret I did not do some direct comparisons with my set of ND filters.


The Smooth reflections app currently does not support 'uncompressed' RAW. It would be nice if it did but probably we would not be able to detect any difference in normal shooting.



Dec 24, 2015 at 07:09 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


johnmatrix84 wrote:
Reading this thread has intrigued me about both these apps. I did not realize the smooth reflection app averaged shots for its effect and both gave a raw output.. Sony does a terrible job of naming things. lol.

Just for everyone's information, as you average shots your signal to noise ratio decreases by the square root of the number of shots you are averaging. For example, if you take and average 16 shots, the signal to noise ratio will increase by a factor of the square root of 16 or 4. In other words, the noise floor should decrease by
...Show more

Also, the app seems to be doing "mean" blending instead of "medium" which is a great choice for noise reduction and mimicking ND filters.
It's easy to test, just use the app to take several images and in the middle of the process, remove an element from the frame. If it was "medium" blending, the element would just disappear from the resulting image without a trace.



Dec 24, 2015 at 07:14 PM
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