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Currently I'm playing with Luminance HDR but I find it quite complicated and hard to get decent results. Darktable does offer a HDR module but with limited options.

Looks that some of option I require are hard to be find in today Linux HDR photo software, so I split down the necessary and non necessary options.

Required features

  • Easy to import photos (in different formats including most common RAW formats)
  • Easy-to-use GUI
  • Good align preset (like Hugin)
  • Fast processing speed and not too memory-hungry (I plan to use it on a box with 3GB RAM).

Optional features (I can take care of this in other photo software, so not a must):

  • Minimal exposure adjusting
  • Quality tone mapping presets with preview
  • Good anti-ghosting script (option)

I'm running on Ubuntu so the recommended tool should be installable on Ubuntu. Although I'm not a fan of Wine or PlayOnLinux types of installations, I will consider it if the software meets my requirements. The tool doesn't necessary need to be free and open-source but I would definitely prefer it.

6

I'm using ExpoBlending for this task:

ExpoBlending opening screen
ExpoBlending opening screen (ckick image for larger variant)

  • Easy to import photos (in different formats including nef): Very easy to handle. Works Wizard-style, guiding the user through all steps. Not sure about the .nef format however, as I rarely use RAW images.
  • Easy and compressive to use GUI: Definitly. As I wrote: Wizard. Only thing you could do wrong is selecting the wrong images :)
  • Good anti-ghosting script(option): I don't remember having any ghosts with it. Image alignment works fine.
  • Good align preset (hugin alike): Not alike. Based upon. AFAIK it uses hugin backends for that.
  • Minimal exposure adjusting: Here I'm not sure what exactly you mean. It doesn't "over-do" things IMHO.
  • Quality tone mapping presets with preview: That's a thing from Luminance I always had trouble handling. Maybe I haven't dug deep enough, but here I must pass: I didn't see things like Fattal, Reinhard, & Co here. But I felt no need, either.
  • Fast processing speeds: That's a subjective thing. It always could be faster, but it's acceptable to me.
  • Ubuntu: Yepp, as the link shows, it's in the repos.

One thing to keep in mind: as it's a "Kipi plugin", it will draw in a lot of KDE dependencies.

  • Not fan of cluttered OS what will happen if adding KDE dependencies to my BOX. I'll definitely prefer something more native. However will test it in VM. – danijelc Feb 8 '14 at 22:02
  • Yupp, understand. That's why I brought up that topic, so you're aware of it before installing. For me it was not an issue: I started with KDE. Dropped it last year in favor of LXDE, as plasma drove me crazy ;) – Izzy Feb 8 '14 at 22:11
  • I already tried digicam on Ubuntu but beside crashing and installing half KDE no use. If test in VM works well I’ll reconsider it :) – danijelc Feb 8 '14 at 22:43
  • Having issue to make it run in my VM Kubuntu.. Crashes regulary. – danijelc Feb 11 '14 at 16:15
  • Never crashed on me. Which KUbuntu version? I'm using it on 12.04 (LTS). – Izzy Feb 11 '14 at 16:49
3

Hugin deserves a look for this capacity. It is primarily tooled as a panorama sticher, but the libraries it uses to blend the resulting overlaps (enfuse/enblend) also know a thing or two about dynamic range!

In fact, you can load up a set of pictures of exactly the same shot with different exposures just for the purposes of selecting the HDR output options. The significant advantage here over many other solutions is that you can also fix alignment and perspective issues in shots that do not exactly match and even use partially overlapping ones to supplement the data for areas of an image.

The disadvantage is that there is not a lot of fiddling with the settings to be done unless you do it behind Hugins back, and what settings there are you need to understand ahead of time because the preview of exposure settings does not function very well as it was tooled mostly for detecting alignment issues.

  • I didn’t know Hugin offers such options. Let me dig in Hugin than, if HDR options are half quality of panorama stitching this may be solution – danijelc Feb 18 '14 at 21:11
  • @danijelc They aren't going to hold a candle to software conceived as lightroom/darkroom type processing such as most RAW editors, but it gets a basic job done. – Caleb Feb 18 '14 at 21:14
  • basically I don’t need tone mapping at all since colours are processed latter in darktable. Problem with Luminance is that stitched photos become surreal and presets are quite hard to manage to get good outcome – danijelc Feb 18 '14 at 21:19
3

I found a usable solution in software Fotoxx. Fotoxx is not the most beautiful tool around but works pretty well for my HDR needs. Its GUI is more compressive than LuminanceHDR and the results I'm getting look way more natural than what I was able to achieve with LuminanceHDR.

Fotoxx main screen

Fotoxx is open source Linux software and a kind of all-in-one photo editing, collection and managing program.

It's straightforward and easy to use: in the Combine menu choose High Dinamic Range. In the pop-up window choose the images you want to make an HDR image from.

Fotoxx supports a number of image types including RAW formats; whatever format I threw at it, it just worked. After the images are chosen alignment is performed automatically, and it's very effective even for hand held shoots.

Processing times were approximately twice as fast as LuminanceHDR in my box. Once the images are stitched Fotoxx offers to correct colours and apply tone mapping with easy-to-understand curve-based adjustments, with live previewing.

Beside the HDR capability, Fotoxx offers a panorama-making tool and depth of field adjustments as well as more usual photo editing tools.

The best way to install this tool is to download the latest .deb from here.

So far the only two quirks I've found in this software are unusual GUI design and quite high memory usage when performing heavy processing on images such as panorama stitching or HDR operations).

  • Great find! I didn't have to do anything other than select the photos and it already looks better than anything I've ever produced with Luminance (but then I never really learned how to use it properly). Does anyone know if Fotoxx uses an external HDR library "under the hood" or if it's all self-coded? If it uses a library, maybe someone made an application based on it that has a less atrocious interface but works just as well... – pmos Aug 6 '16 at 16:43

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