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Focus/Exposure Bracketing Software for RAW Images


Is there a software solution that can merge focus/exposure bracketed (C)RAW images and outputs a RAW image? I only found programs that can output JPEGs, but I’d prefer to edit the result rather than the input images in DxO PhotoLab.



No, because then it won't be raw anymore. For example, an exposure bracketed image might exceed the dynamic range of the RAW file.

I'm not sure how it handles cRaw, but Helicon Focus will export a DNG (digital negative) using Adobe DNG converter that should open in DxO. Now, I have no idea whether or not it's as good as a Raw file in DxO, but I have used Helicons DNG export in other Raw editors and it seems to work OK, but I was just messing around and didn't spend much time tweaking them.

My primary method is to use either Helicon Remote or the built in stacking feature of our cameras (R5 / R6 II) to get the stacks, then load them into DPP 4 and edit one image. My exposure is usually good so all I have to do is apply some saturation from both the basic adjustment panel and the image color panel, and maybe some contrast or unsharp mask. Once I get my Raw file looking like I want, I copy the recipe from the single edited Raw file and batch paste it to the other shots in the stack, then process the stack in DPP 4. DPP is slow on my system, so sometimes I just run the stack SOOC by getting the stacks with Helicon Remote and allowing it to import and process in Helicon Focus. This is much faster but requires that if I want to post edit the results, I have to export as DNG or tiff. I will add that if you lay off of the NR and LC in DPP, things go much faster. I used both tools with the older EF 100mm macro, but the RF 100mm doesn't need it.

As slow as DPP is, it still does a really good job stacking and touchup goes smoothly once you get your brush size sorted out. Helicon has an edge in touchup, but I expect that from a "pay for play" application 🙂


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