In-camera HDR now here

Back in November of 2006, I had a few ideas about taking foolproof photos. I predicted that it wouldn’t be long before we might see in-camera HDR. That feature is now here. Let me show you two cameras that have recently become availble. They both do in-camera HDR.

Ricoh CX1

Ricoh CX1 - 1

Here’s what Ricoh says about their in-camera HDR feature:

“It can be difficult to photograph scenes in which the level of brightness varies greatly. With dynamic range double shot mode, the CX1 shoots, consecutively at high speed, two still images with different exposures, and then it records an image that combines the properly exposed portions of each. Expanding the dynamic range up to a maximum equivalent to 12 EV makes it possible to record images that give an almost naked-eye impression.”

Ricoh CX1 - 2

[via Ricoh]

FujiFilm FinePix F200EXR

FujiFilm FinePix F200EXR - 2

Here’s what FujiFilm says about their in-camera HDR feature:

“Just as your eye sees the full range of shadows to highlights in high-contrast scenes, “D-range Priority” simultaneously captures two images to produce a single image with Wide Dynamic Range up to 800%, revealing subtleties in shadow and eliminating washout of the bright areas.”

FujiFilm FinePix F200EXR - 1

[via FujiFilm]

It looks like both companies use a two-exposure method, where one is underexposed to capture the very bright areas, and the other is overexposed to capture the dark areas. The two exposures are combined in-camera to create a single photo that contains the proper details from each exposure. You have to specifically turn on this feature — the camera won’t do it automatically — but the nice thing is that you only press the shutter button once.

I’m really glad to see this feature come to market. In some ways, it’s similar to a feature found on Canon DSLRs, called Auto Lighting Optimizer, except that feature adjusts the sensor signals within a single exposure to render a better photo instead of combining two photos. I imagine the dynamic range compensation obtained through that technique isn’t as pronounced as the in-camera HDR done by Ricoh and FujiFilm.