I guess I don’t quite follow, what exactly do you want to achieve?
Could you post screenshots including the pertinent Panels and dialogs to illustrate?
Under Mode when changing from 32bit/channel to 16bit:
It will ask if you want to merge the layers:
When you tell it to merge it gives you four options and for my images the exposure and gamma setting works perfect:
When you tell it not to merge the layers it doesn't give you any option and seems to automatically use the Local Adaptation setting. How can I tell Photoshop to use the exposure and gamma settings while maintaining my layers?
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In my tests with CC17, selecting the “Don’t Merge” option appears to apply the “Exposure & Gamma” method with a value of 0.0 Exposure and 1.0 gamma. This makes sense, as this creates the same visual result in lower bit per channel modes as the layered 32bpc preview.
For some reason, it completely alters the colors and overexposes the bright parts of the images for me. Maybe my default setting is somehow switched to the default local adaptation settings because it comes out the same as that, or has something to do with my layers. Is there a way to see what the default HDR toning options are when not merging layers or is this just not possible to change?