Recommend that you share a bracket of shots so that members can test on their rigs. Perhaps at Dropbox.
Are you accomplishing any develop edits prior to the merge?
Do you apply any presets at import?
Please post your System Information as Lightroom Classic (LrC) reports it. In LrC click on Help, then System Info, then Copy. Paste that information into a reply. Please present all information from first line down to and including Plug-in Info. Info after Plug-in info can be cut as that is just so much dead space to us non-Techs.
Are you shooting in JPEG, not RAW?
Wondering if these are the in camera originals.
This is on my laptop, though I get identical results on my desktop.
Lightroom Classic version: 11.4.1 [ 202206241800-b406ce4c ]
License: Creative Cloud
Language setting: en-US
Operating system: Mac OS 10
Version: 10.15.7 [19H1922]
Application architecture: x64
Logical processor count: 8
Processor speed: 1.4GHz
SqLite Version: 3.36.0
Built-in memory: 8,192.0 MB
Real memory available to Lightroom: 8,192.0 MB
Real memory used by Lightroom: 1,251.3 MB (15.2%)
Virtual memory used by Lightroom: 11,032.0 MB
Memory cache size: 257.9MB
Internal Camera Raw version: 14.4.1 [ 1122 ]
Maximum thread count used by Camera Raw: 5
Camera Raw SIMD optimization: SSE2,AVX,AVX2
Camera Raw virtual memory: 733MB / 4095MB (17%)
Camera Raw real memory: 737MB / 8192MB (8%)
Displays: 1) 3360x2100
Graphics Processor Info:
Metal: Intel(R) Iris(TM) Plus Graphics 645
Init State: 2
User Preference: 1
Application folder: /Applications/Adobe Lightroom Classic
Library Path: /Users/jonathanstampf/Pictures/Lightroom/Lightroom Catalog.lrcat
Settings Folder: /Users/jonathanstampf/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom
2) Aperture/iPhoto Importer Plug-in
5) Luminar AI
6) Nikon Tether Plugin
Config.lua flags: None
Hi @schmirector . I took the liberty of downloading your images and tested HDR merge.
I cannot reproduce the 'noise' effect you are seeing.
I might suggest that you really do not need seven images for a HDR. Even 2 or 3 should suffice to give a suitable result.
So i do not have an answer for you, other than it could be lens flare that is being exaggerated in the HDR, but then I would expect to see it in my merges!
Try with 3.
My Seven merge-
And a merge from 3 photos (136, 138, 140)
So, looking at your samples. Your shooting at what bracket, something like 1-1/2 stop? To tight, your camera has better dynamic range than that, try something more like 2 stops, perhaps 2-1/2 stops, and you will not need seven frames, more like 3. Too many frames can cause artifacts in challenging pics in LrC Photo Merge.
Also, in terms of artifacts, shooting RAW would be better. (separate observation/inquiry to follow)
OK, a more useful observation/inquiry.
When you merged, what did you have the Deghost Amount set to? Deghosting is not perfect, and can lead to issues. When it does, try less deghosting.
In my test, I went all bonkers and set deghost to high, and a circle of noise occurred much like your issue, same location, circular. (might also be a bit on the left)
Mind you, your friend appears to have moved a bit, so no deghosting will not work. Try low:
Mind you, just some quick tonal adjustments, so take the results with a grain of sand.
Thank you very much, GoldingD! My deghosting setting sat at High and I never bothered with it, had no idea I was living my life all bonkers. 🙂 Lowering the ghosting solved my long term issue. This saves me time and improves my work. Thank you.