Settings used as per my preferred settings seen here.
The fourth mode in the EXR settings menu of the HS20 is the Dynamic Range Priority Mode. When you are faced with a scene that has heavy shadow areas as well as bright highlights, then Fuji suggests this is the mode to use. As is the Case in both SN & HR modes there are limits to this mode as well. This mode is designed to control the highlights from being blown out and at the same time give more detail in the shadow regions. This is a somewhat simplistic description, but you will find more information pertaining to this on the HS20 section of Fuji's website. EXR Technology
DR mode is probably one of the most difficult modes to understand on the HS20. Its results can be very hard to ascertain as there are a number of variables that have to be accounted for.
The first 2 images are taken Using HR (Res priority mode). The right hand picture is straight from the camera. The left hand picture I have done some minor PP work to to better show the scene. Shot at ISO 200 and Ev 0.00 & Dr100%. This is our base image to work from.
|Original from camera|
The next two images are both taken in DR at ISO200 with the Dynamic range set at 800%. The Dynamic range was set at 800% due to the high contrast and extreme light that was currently available. The cat was most obliging and acted as the model. The shadow area is quite different on her fur between the two images.
These shots show how very important it is to use correct metering. In both these exposures the camera is reporting correct ISO and exposure and this can be seen in the Exif data. Spot metering on the left and average metering on the right.Taken 15 seconds apart.
The spot metered image is very slightly overexposed and the average metered image is about one f stop underexposed. Of the two, the image at left is far more accurately exposed and at DR800% the camera has maintained highlights and shadow detail much better than in the averaged image but has lost some of the horizon and cloud detail due to being overexposed. This tells us that retaining both highlight and shadow detail is better when correct metering is used. This serves also to tell us that the camera is only part of the equation and that the photographer really must review each exposure and set the camera appropriately. Below is a quickly adjusted version of the average metered image from above. I adjusted the image by 0.8 of one exposure f stop, added a small amount of contrast and saved it at that. As you can see this brings it very close to what was achieved by spot metering. The other thing to be remembered is that correct metering means less PP work.
So far we have seen a little gain in the image as far as detail and color range are concerned, when viewed against our base image shot in HR mode @ DR100%. So how then does this mode stack up against SN mode. The following two images are taken using exactly the same settings, using average metering mode with the image at right in DR Mode @ DR800% and the image at left in SN mode @ DR100%. We are looking for differences in highlights and shadow as well as color retention and resolution in these two images. Color and shadow as well as highlights appear to be very much on a par but of more concern is the apparent loss of resolution detail seen in the DR mode image. This is evident especially in the upper right quarter of the image. When looking at the detail in the branches of the tree and the fairy lights hanging from the veranda roof there is a noticeable decrease in image quality.This is to be expected as the trade off between more balance in the overall image, comes at the expense of slightly better resolution.
|SN Mode, direct from camera|
|Dr mode, direct from camera|
The gains in using Dr mode are not huge, but could help with difficult lighting conditions. In my own experience using this mode I have not seen enough change in a image to warrant the regular use of this mode. Perhaps when shooting something along the lines of a sunset this would be well worth the effort, or when dealing with very brightly lit subjects. It is more likely that the use of HR and SN modes will yield better overall performance from the HS20 on a day to day basis. As always I urge you to try different settings as you go about your photographic journey, hopefully this will lead you to your own preferred settings.
If you want more image information, click through to the largest image and download to your computer.
To view the Exif data correctly from the images download and install Exif Tool and Exif Tool Gui from here
Follow the instructions to install and you will be up and running in no time at all.