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Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps
  
 
mark1958
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p.4 #1 · p.4 #1 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


I don't understand how one can do this. With the App-- the camera continues to shoot and does the blend before saving the RAW file. How can one remove remove an element? Maybe I have misunderstood what you suggest trying?

Fred Miranda wrote:
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 10:01 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.4 #2 · p.4 #2 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


mark1958 wrote:
I don't understand how one can do this. With the App-- the camera continues to shoot and does the blend before saving the RAW file. How can one remove remove an element? Maybe I have misunderstood what you suggest trying?


While the app is taking the pictures, be sneaky and remove something from the scene.

Or try an experiment without the app. Take 4 images of anything you want. However, for one of the exposures, remove one element from the scene OR just change its position for the 4 exposures.
Then bring the images to Photoshop as a smart object and blend them using stack mode "medium". The result image will be your scene without the element you tampered with as if it was never there. If instead, the stack mode was "mean", a trace of it would still be in the final image.
As an example, 'Medium' would be useful when taking a picture of a subject that has unwanted people moving around or crossing by it. The resulting image will remove the crowd from the scene.

From the quick test I did, the Sony app seems to be doing on-the-fly 'mean' stack mode which is pretty incredible considering the time it takes to do this in Photoshop. It's also a better stack mode for replacing ND filters.



Dec 24, 2015 at 10:48 PM
dennishh
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p.4 #3 · p.4 #3 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Thanks Fred! The Smooth reflections app is totally amazing. I set the app to custom with a 28mm lens close-up and pushed the shutter button on the A7r2. The app shot about 29 frames and blended all of them together. The surprise here was it was shot at ISO 6400 at F11 and there is no noticeable noise at all and every speck of dust on the bike frame is sharp. Can't wait to experiment with all the modes but I'm sure this will be an exceptional app for many many uses. The flower shot was shot at ISO 500 at f3.2 again with 29 frames. No sharpening or noise reduction was used for these images in lightroom.





A7R2 F11 ISO 6400 28mm F2 FE lens 29 frames







A7R2 F3.2 ISO 500 28mm F2 FE lens 29 frames




Dec 25, 2015 at 04:23 PM
TheEmrys
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p.4 #4 · p.4 #4 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


This is so cool.


Dec 25, 2015 at 05:38 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.4 #5 · p.4 #5 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


dennishh wrote:
Thanks Fred! The Smooth reflections app is totally amazing. I set the app to custom with a 28mm lens close-up and pushed the shutter button on the A7r2. The app shot about 29 frames and blended all of them together. The surprise here was it was shot at ISO 6400 at F11 and there is no noticeable noise at all and every speck of dust on the bike frame is sharp. Can't wait to experiment with all the modes but I'm sure this will be an exceptional app for many many uses. The flower shot was shot at ISO 500
...Show more

Nice tip!
I just renamed this thread as there is a lot of info for the "Smooth Reflections app" as well.



Dec 25, 2015 at 06:27 PM
dennishh
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p.4 #6 · p.4 #6 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


The way that the smooth reflection app works makes me think that a pixel shifting capability like the Olympus isn't far from introduction. I also have sent a request through Pro services for Sony to implement the ability of the remote camera app to accept multiple points of focus and then shoot images of each one of those points. This would be a manual way of assigning focus points for focus stacking and then having the camera do the rest of the work. Many times now I do this manually by just tapping which points on the screen I want to focus. These apps are turning out to be quite enjoyable and productive.


Dec 25, 2015 at 06:49 PM
dandrewk
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p.4 #7 · p.4 #7 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


dennishh wrote:
Thanks Fred! The Smooth reflections app is totally amazing. I set the app to custom with a 28mm lens close-up and pushed the shutter button on the A7r2. The app shot about 29 frames and blended all of them together. The surprise here was it was shot at ISO 6400 at F11 and there is no noticeable noise at all and every speck of dust on the bike frame is sharp. Can't wait to experiment with all the modes but I'm sure this will be an exceptional app for many many uses. The flower shot was shot at ISO 500
...Show more

Agreed this is a cool thing, but how different is this from setting the ISO at 100 and taking a longer exposure? How long did it take to complete the 29 frames?

Next, we need a comparison shot - using the App vs. the "old fashioned way". Compare them for noise, sharpness, color, artifacts. Pixel Peeking Paradise!

I'd do it today, but I'm a bit busy.



Dec 25, 2015 at 07:12 PM
dennishh
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p.4 #8 · p.4 #8 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Next time I try it i'll see how long it takes but because you are on a tripod it doesn't matter that much, it's not for moving subjects. I don't really need to do a test to know that at 6400 ISO the noise will be substantially worse. It truly is amazing how little noise there really is. I'll be looking forward to your tests Christmas isn't the best time this.


Dec 25, 2015 at 07:21 PM
mark1958
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p.4 #9 · p.4 #9 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps



I had several images where there was a person in the foreground who had moved between frames and you can see the ghost like movement.. Will try more scientifically next time

Fred Miranda wrote:
While the app is taking the pictures, be sneaky and remove something from the scene.

Or try an experiment without the app. Take 4 images of anything you want. However, for one of the exposures, remove one element from the scene OR just change its position for the 4 exposures.
Then bring the images to Photoshop as a smart object and blend them using stack mode "medium". The result image will be your scene without the element you tampered with as if it was never there. If instead, the stack mode was "mean", a trace of it would still be
...Show more




Dec 25, 2015 at 08:07 PM
dennishh
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p.4 #10 · p.4 #10 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


I think this movement could be a good thing if you want to do double exposures and movement images. So many different uses.


Dec 25, 2015 at 08:31 PM
 

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Fred Miranda
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p.4 #11 · p.4 #11 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


mark1958 wrote:
I had several images where there was a person in the foreground who had moved between frames and you can see the ghost like movement.. Will try more scientifically next time



Yes that is how the App works. That is because the app blends images using stack mode "mean" instead of "medium".
As I wrote that is good thing because it's a better method for replacing ND filters.



Dec 26, 2015 at 12:58 AM
Mike Ganz
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p.4 #12 · p.4 #12 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


I don't know...I'd much prefer to use actual filters and get the shot with a single shot or, at worst, with a 3-shot bracket. Although I seem to be using my grad filters less and less and opting for LR instead, nothing can really duplicate an ND filter. Battery life on the A7R/A7R2 is bad enough...having to take dozens of shots for blending seems like a time-killer to me, not to mention heavy-duty computer needs.


Dec 26, 2015 at 12:49 PM
dass101
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p.4 #13 · p.4 #13 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


This seems similar to the Olympus Live Comp. Can anybody confirm this?


Dec 26, 2015 at 01:13 PM
TheEmrys
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p.4 #14 · p.4 #14 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


In ways, yes, you are totally right. But, there are some advantages, namely the color cast nd filters seem to always have as well as the demonstrated noise reduction. For night shooters who like long exposurds, this is a helluca way to get a clwan image.

Mike Ganz wrote:
I don't know...I'd much prefer to use actual filters and get the shot with a single shot or, at worst, with a 3-shot bracket. Although I seem to be using my grad filters less and less and opting for LR instead, nothing can really duplicate an ND filter. Battery life on the A7R/A7R2 is bad enough...having to take dozens of shots for blending seems like a time-killer to me, not to mention heavy-duty computer needs.




Dec 26, 2015 at 01:51 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.4 #15 · p.4 #15 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Mike Ganz wrote:
I don't know...I'd much prefer to use actual filters and get the shot with a single shot or, at worst, with a 3-shot bracket. Although I seem to be using my grad filters less and less and opting for LR instead, nothing can really duplicate an ND filter. Battery life on the A7R/A7R2 is bad enough...having to take dozens of shots for blending seems like a time-killer to me, not to mention heavy-duty computer needs.


Regarding battery life and number of shots.
Battery life on the A7 series is not great and for the RX1 series, it's much worse.

I tested the smooth reflection app one afternoon and took over 600 shots total wth my RX1RII. I can't get these number of shots during normal shooting with a single battery. It's actually far from it with an average of 150 shots per charge.
However, to my surprise, the battery indicator barely changed after all these shots. I learned that battery life won't be a big issue when using these apps.
You say that nothing really duplicates a ND filter. I disagree. Taking multiple shots and blending using stack mode 'mean' actually yields better IQ as long as shutter speed is low enough.

Think of it like this. While you are taking a long exposure using a physical ND filter, the camera is basically "averaging/blending" everything that is going on the scene. It's a similar process.

Canon and Nikon shooters have this feature (app) built-in on their cameras. It's called "multiple exposure" and I have used it with my Canon cameras for years.

One final tip is to turn off "LERN" when taking very long multiple exposures.



Dec 26, 2015 at 04:50 PM
retrofocus
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p.4 #16 · p.4 #16 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Below is an example where I used the smooth reflection app with my A7R and CV 35/1.2 II lens. At the time, I didn't have a ND filter with me which I would have used otherwise. I liked the result obtained with the app but there is one big challenge - hope that your camera does not shake at all during the multiple frames taken. I had to try it 3-4 times to keep a keeper since my camera was sitting on a rock and not directly mounted on a more rigid tripod (didn't carry one with me either on this hike). I also highly recommend to use a remote control to release the first shutter.

Fred, if you take this huge number of frames with the app, how do you avoid any kind of camera shake during this time?




Dec 26, 2015 at 05:02 PM
retrofocus
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p.4 #17 · p.4 #17 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Fred Miranda wrote:
Canon and Nikon shooters have this feature (app) built-in on their cameras. It's called "multiple exposure" and I have used it with my Canon cameras for years.


Can't speak for Nikon cameras, but in the 5D series Canon added the multiple exposure option first time into the 5D MkIII - it is one thing which I miss in the MkII. Sony has a similar app also called multiple exposure but unfortunately it only allows to take a dual exposure (IMO the name here is more than misleading!). So far I did not find a way to overlay in my Sony camera more than two shots. Always wished that Sony would update this app to allow more than two exposures!



Dec 26, 2015 at 05:08 PM
AGeoJO
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p.4 #18 · p.4 #18 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


Fred Miranda wrote:
I tested the smooth reflection app one afternoon and took over 600 shots total wth my RX1RII.


So, Fred, did the camera actually take 600 shots continuously and the shutter was activated 600X times? Then, if you end up taking 3-4 similar shots, I will log in 600 shutter actuations for each shot, right? On a scenery that I really like, I do take 3-4 shots and recompose here and there. Just confirming....



Dec 26, 2015 at 05:14 PM
millsart
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p.4 #19 · p.4 #19 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


The "best" feature of these apps, and what makes them "better" than real filters is that for lenses with bulbous front elements it's the only real option.

If you've got a 16-35/4 then you can screw in a 72mm Filter or use a Lee system etc. if you've got a 14-24/2.8 or 17 TSE et al, you don't have those options, so being able to do something in camera with an app is a great alternative.

Likewise, if one doesn't do a bunch of long exposure shooting, it might not make sense to buy expensive large filters when an app, or PS, can get the job done well for little investment.



Dec 26, 2015 at 05:24 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.4 #20 · p.4 #20 · Sky HDR and Smooth Reflection Apps


retrofocus wrote:

Below is an example where I used the smooth reflection app with my A7R and CV 35/1.2 II lens. At the time, I didn't have a ND filter with me which I would have used otherwise. I liked the result obtained with the app but there is one big challenge - hope that your camera does not shake at all during the multiple frames taken. I had to try it 3-4 times to keep a keeper since my camera was sitting on a rock and not directly mounted on a more rigid tripod (didn't carry one with me either on
...Show more

The shooting technique to avoid camera shake with the app would be the same one you would use when using a physical high stop ND filter.
I would advise using a sturdy tripod on stable ground and a remote shutter (or using the app self-timer)

If it's very windy or if the ground is unstable, I would not even use a real ND filter. I would take multiple exposures separately (without the app) and auto-align them in Photoshop before blending.
Remember, the App does not auto-align images. That would be a great update for it.



Dec 26, 2015 at 06:01 PM
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