Reviewing the HS20EXR Update…Pt4

Reviewing the HS20EXR Update…Pt4

Dr Mode.
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.

   Adjusted                                                                                                                 Orignal 

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.

Spot metering

The spot metered image is very slightly overexposed and the average metered image is about one  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
at Dr100%
Dr mode, direct from camera
at  Dr800%

To summarize:
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.

Posted by R. McKenzie at 12:59 PM  

  1. May I just say what a wonderfully informative blog you have here – so useful. However, I have a problem… I wonder if you’ve considered reversing the background colour and text?

    Currently, the site leaves after-images on my eyes as I read – stripes for some reason – it makes it difficult to appreciate some of your fine pictures.



  2. I’m pleased you’ve been able to get something from the blog.
    The afterimage you are referring to sounds somewhat familiar.
    Two things come to mind. If you are using a CRT style monitor I would check the refresh rate of the monitor and video-card. It shouldn’t be less than 75 Hertz.

    If you are using a LCD monitor then make sure the monitor is running at 60 Hertz.
    Thats traditionally what cause the type of thing you are describing. I have a Viewsonic LCD, about 4 years old that I run at 1920 x 1080 resolution at 60 hertz.
    If you already have your monitor set this way I would try a few other monitors and see how you get on. I would be interested to hear what the outcome is.


  3. Hi Ralph.

    First of all, thank you. I’m revisiting and love the fresh layout and colour scheme. No more stripes 🙂 thank you.

    I’ve just checked my LCD monitor settings. I’m at 60 hertz but my resolution is lower, I wonder if that was the problem?

    Once again, thank you for sharing your insights and tips on using the HS20EXR. I’ve just bought one (my previous visits were to help me decide whether or not it might suit me) and plan to put your hints and tips into action. Your info on exposure is especially helpful as most of my first test photos, in EXR mode, appear to be over exposed and disappointing.

    I’m hoping that, with your advice, I’ll manage to get the kind of crisp clear shots that you do. So, once again, thank you. Thank you very much.


  4. Glad to see you back 🙂
    You will find it a fun camera to use, and a right pain in the butt at times. But at the end of the day its a very reliable shooter with good quality IQ and thats all we need ask of it.
    Good luck & have fun. Keep us posted as to your progress.


  5. Hi Ralph
    I wonder if you can give me some advice. I have had my hs20 for about 8 months and my shots give me some inconsistent results in that a fair number of them look somewhat blurred. I as yet have not been able to pinpoint the root cause since it happens on a wide range of subject material.Certainly I got consistent results with my trusty S5600 for many years.
    I am using the camera in program mode. I have not tried the other modes
    I have a suspicion that the blurred results seem to be at the longer focal length and I wonder if perhaps I am allowing my shutter speeds to get too long.
    As a rule of thumb (from my 35mm film days!)I do not allow the shutter speed to be less than the reciprocal of the focal length (expressed as equivalent 35mm length)
    So 100mm would be a min speed of 1/100 sec and 720 (max zoom)would be 1/720 sec. Is this a valid


  6. Hi Stefan
    Yes that’s a pretty good rule of thumb for shutter speeds Vs focal length. But by no means is that a fixed rule, as I often take shots at 126mm at say 200th second.

    I have on occasion experienced the same blurring of the images, & in about 90% of cases its me moving slightly just as I press the shutter button, so I’ve had to learn to be a lot smoother with the shutter action. I always have I.S. set to shooting only, as I find that continuous seems to introduce slight blurring on some subjects as it compensates for your movement.

    I have changed to using continuous AF as well as it seems to be a lot more reliable if you or your subject are in motion. Bird in flight shots are generally a little better as well.

    And as always watch the metering. I find the HS20 can be a monster to use if you have the metering wrong. I lost/lose more shots to wrong metering than any other cause. Basically its spot if over 2-300mm and average for everything 24-200mm and its seems to work fine. Doing macro work can change that general rule depending upon how you are shooting at the time.

    I would try also using EXR HR rather than p mode as well as I find P mode can be unreliable at times and generally I find image quality is better using the EXR functions.



    1. Thank you very much for sharing your hard won knowledge freely with us newbies!

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