I know that the question may sound strange coming from a tripod obsessed person like me, but I have started to look at doing HDR from handheld shots.
I am looking for the best possible software option to handle these cases. Here is what I tried myself and the results. I shot 3 images with the D3x in 14 bits raw mode, meaning at a speed of about 2 images per second using a -1, 0, +1 auto bracketing pattern. The shutter speed was around 1/125 sec average at f8. Because of the rather slow shooting speed, there was not huge, but significant differences in the framing of the 3 shots.
- The first software I tried was Photomatix, but it just wasn't able to align the images correctly. -> I am not very knowledgeable on Photomatix, is there a way to improve on the default alignement?
- CS4 auto align function also didn't do such a good job, about in the same league as Photomatix, meaning barely suitable for 10x15cm critical prints.
- PTgui did a much better job than the other 2, and its Fusion based algo for pano did also produce a much more pleasing result much faster than Photomatix.
Here is the resulting image processed with PTgui:
Based on this, my current feeling is that PTgui is by far the best option for handheld HDR work, but this is a result I have never seen reported by anybody else until now.
What are you ladies and gentlemen doing?
Thank you in advance for your kind feedback.