I recently purchased a DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone for my Real Estate Photography business and have been curious about just how good the HDR feature is. Previously I had a Phantom 4 and its HDR capabilities were okay. I was better off using exposure bracketing and then creating the image in Adobe Lightroom.
Which Method Is Best?
The new drone begged the question: Do the easy thing and use in-camera HDR or take a couple minutes more and craft the image in Lightroom?
My short answer is: Shoot a five image exposure bracket and then use Lightroom’s HDR capabilities.
Let me show you why.
Both of these images are unedited, except for what the default settings do.
The HDR process for the Mavic 2 Pro is to take a number of images, with different exposure settings, and then combine them in camera. It’s results are okay, and maybe in different lighting I wouldn’t notice as much.
Crop It Close
But look around the sun. Let me crop it closer for you.
Ick. While you won’t always be pointing the drone at the sun, this is less than stellar.
The alternative is to shoot five images, spaced .7EV(stops) apart and letting Lightroom do its thing:
The Mavic does the shooting for you. The process in Lightroom can be automated by highlighting all the images and pressing Command (or Ctrl)+Shift+H. Really not that hard.
Granted, I don’t like the look of either image as they stand and will edit them further.
It’s clear to me that using the HDR feature in the drone should be used sparingly. Or when you’re just feeling lazy.
As for my final image, I spent a little more time cleaning things up, because not many HDRs are perfect on the first pass.