The new Sony NEX 6 mirrorless camera has an Auto-HDR feature which works just as you would expect: it captures three images with one press of the shutter, at slightly different exposures, then merges them into one image. At the default setting, the system selects the variation in exposure, or you can select EV ranges of from 1.0 to 6.0. (For an explanation of exposure values – EV- please see this post). I can’t determine what values are selected at the default setting, and my experience is that at default, the results can be great or barely noticeable.
The above photo was taken at the default setting, with no post-processing. However, I was using a circular polarizer filter to bring out the colors as the scene was captured.
When in Auto-HDR mode, the NEX 6 also shoots one image as is, before firing off and merging three exposures. This is helpful so you can compare the Auto-HDR image and the “as is” image. Here is the “as is” image:
You can see a significant difference between these two images. There’s much more detail in the Auto-HDR version, along the shores of the island and in the far shore, in the foreground, and the colors are brighter too.
This feature is not going to replace the flexibility and output you can get from a capable HDR processing application, but when you’re in the field and faced with a high contrast scene, it’s a handy tool to have at your disposal.
I’ll be experimenting with other features of the NEX 6 and will be reporting back to you periodically.