Use RAW directly or convert to TIFF to use in LuminanceHDR?

I was wondering whether there was a preferred or a recommended method for processing a series of exposure images in LuminanceHDR. I searched the forum for this, but my expertise in HDR production is less than basic, atm, so I even have a hard time figuring out the relevant terms to feed to the search algorithm. En bref, I don’t know how to put my search query into words. The only useful comment I could find in that regard is

I guess my question is what I should do with my raw images before importing them into LuminanceHDR to process the stack into an HDR (and apparently back to an LDR, which seemed strange to me at first, but I think I now understand why this actually makes sense).

What is your workflow with a series of RAW images with different exposures, but technically not an exposure bracket per se? Or do you even do everything in darktable, mayhaps, as this seems possible in DT, but not in RT?

The answer is nothing. Just import the raw files directly into luminancehdr - no pre-processing required.

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that settles it for me (and is also what I’ve done until now)

All I want from LuminanceHDR is to align my images (if shot hand-held), merge them to HDR and then tonemap them to LDR after which I will save that LDR in a 16-bit TIFF which I can continue to tweak in Gimp.

Very seldom, I’ll save the HDR as 32-bit TIFF and post-process it directly in Gimp which sometimes gives more of an exposure-merge effect as opposed to tonemapped (which can be over the top at times).

Yet for other bracketed exposures, I’ll use Digikam to align the images and merge them through Enfuse - again, some post-processing is always required.

Here are a few examples:


I’ve found I get cleaner results if I denoise and remove hot pixels before HDR creation.

I’ll do a export to 16-bit TIFF using darktable with minimal modules; no filmic or basecurve, just profiled denoise, hot pixesl and lens correction (TCA only).