What is the best workflow: Exposure Fusion or HDR Tone Mapping?

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What is the best workflow: Exposure Fusion or HDR Tone Mapping?

This depends on the dynamic range of the scene, the characteristics of the differently exposed images and the effect you want to achieve. Our recommendation is to try both. The table below lists the main pros and cons of both processes.


Pros Cons
  • HDR Tone Mapping
  • HDR image file can be saved, enabling to tone map the same image with other methods or other settings.
  • Ability to preserve details in shadows and highlights even when the dynamic range is particularly high
  • High degree of parametrization, i.e. tone mapping methods can offer many settings to adapt image to one’s liking
  • When source images are noisy, tone mapping may further increase noise.
  • In spite of the availability of settings, controlling the tone mapping operation is not easy.
  • Exposure Fusion
  • Fusing the images has the effect of reducing noise
  • Fused image is close to the source images giving it a “natural” look
  • Easy-to-understand process, no or few parameter setting
  • Lack of local contrast when dynamic range is high, “flat-looking” results in some cases
  • Memory required for Exposure Fusion increases with the number of source images and bit-depth.

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