HDR Bracketing

This is a discussion on HDR Bracketing within the IR & HDR Photography forums, part of the PHOTO GALLERIES category; I am using a Nikon D3000 and it does not have an option for automatic bracketing. Would there be a difference if, instead of using ...


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Thread: HDR Bracketing

  1. #1

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    I am using a Nikon D3000 and it does not have an option for automatic bracketing.

    Would there be a difference if, instead of using 3 photos shot using automatic bracketing I just use one shot in RAW format then save 3 copies of the same photo edited to have 3 different exposures? Nikon has RAW editing in it that allows to save the same photo with different exposure.


  • #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamz111 View Post
    I am using a Nikon D3000 and it does not have an option for automatic bracketing.

    Would there be a difference if, instead of using 3 photos shot using automatic bracketing I just use one shot in RAW format then save 3 copies of the same photo edited to have 3 different exposures? Nikon has RAW editing in it that allows to save the same photo with different exposure.
    i use the same camera... and is there a difference? yes there is.... 3 raws would have a lot more dynamic range that just one raw file would... however, it most cases you can get away with using just the one raw file... in some situations where there is a lot of dynamic range bracketing would be essential.

  • #3

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    It's not the same and it all depends on what "look" you want to achieve. You can get that tone mapped "look" just fine with 1 RAW. You'll battle noise a bit more, but easily taken care of with noiseware app, unless you really push it. I've done a lot of my pics with this method, it's not HDR, but it is a tone mapped image with the "look" I wanted.

    There seems to be a growing debate of HDR vs. Tone Mapping. A true HDR tho will have different exposures, one to capture the highlights, one to capture the shadows and one to capture the mid range. My thought is, if you are happy with the end results no matter what you had to go through to get there, it's all good. Shoot and have fun!
    KJS

  • #4
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    HDR is High Dynamic Range. You simply can't make an HDR image from a single exposure. If it's possible to capture all of the range in a single RAW then there is no high range. When working with a single image everything that needs to be done to get the right look can be done with masks in PhotoShop.

    I have automatic bracketing on my Canon but I only use it about half the time. Bracketing only takes 3 pictures and I frequently take a set of 9 instead of just 3. I find that using exposures one stop apart seems to work best. Even so, I typically find myself selecting exposures 2 stops apart when I want to run a 3 image HDR.

    Here's what I do when in a church:
    mount the camera on a tripod, of course.
    set the f/stop to something around f/5.6 to f/8. If you open up more, say f/4 or wider, your depth of field will become too shallow.
    set the ISO to 200, but this really depends on the ISO capabilities of your camera
    set the camera to work with the remote control
    set the shutter speed to 15 seconds (or 30 if really dark)
    take a series of pictures at 1 stop increments. That is, increase the speed by 3 clicks of the shutter speed knob. This works without needing to memorise the whole darn dial.
    that is, take a shot at: 30", 15", 8", 4 ", 2", 1", .5", 4, 8, 15, 30, ... as needed

    Since I do a lot of this and have a camera that supports this, when shooting something at my leisure, I also use mirror lock up.

    Just me, but... I photographed a church in Paris last month and did a bracketed set of 3 images 1 stop apart using the auto-bracketing feature. When I processed the images last week I found that I really needed more range than the 3 1/stop images provided. I tried to combine the images using Photomatix but I wasn't pleased with the result. I selected the best exposed image and tweaked it in PhotoShop to my liking. It wasn't as automatic as running it through Photomatix but the result was more pleasing. If you really know how to use PhotoShop you can make two layers of the same image and then blend the layers to get a better false HDR than you can using an HDR program with only one image. Just my opinion.

    I would also like to agree with wolfden, if you like the result it doesn't matter how you got there.

    Charles

    BTW: wolfden you're stealing our family moniker Debatable, LUPICA means little she wolf in Sicilian. When I was growing up (in the 60s) my father had a sign made for our house: Lupica's Lair
    I currently spend a fair amount of time on Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/103236949470535942612

    my personal website (not very current I'm afraid): clupica and family
    my photogarphy : cwlupica - Photograher
    my photos on SmugMug. StudioLupica on SmugMug
    me on facebook: Charles Lupica
    My fan page on facebook: StudioLupica

  • #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfden View Post
    It's not the same and it all depends on what "look" you want to achieve. You can get that tone mapped "look" just fine with 1 RAW. You'll battle noise a bit more, but easily taken care of with noiseware app, unless you really push it. I've done a lot of my pics with this method, it's not HDR, but it is a tone mapped image with the "look" I wanted.

    There seems to be a growing debate of HDR vs. Tone Mapping. A true HDR tho will have different exposures, one to capture the highlights, one to capture the shadows and one to capture the mid range. My thought is, if you are happy with the end results no matter what you had to go through to get there, it's all good. Shoot and have fun!
    I'm using one RAW file and save it three time in TIFF with 3 different exposure so I'm using those 3 TIFF's. Is it going to make a lot of difference if I were to use 3 RAW files instead of 3 TIFF files?

  • #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by clupica View Post
    HDR is High Dynamic Range. You simply can't make an HDR image from a single exposure. If it's possible to capture all of the range in a single RAW then there is no high range. When working with a single image everything that needs to be done to get the right look can be done with masks in PhotoShop.

    I have automatic bracketing on my Canon but I only use it about half the time. Bracketing only takes 3 pictures and I frequently take a set of 9 instead of just 3. I find that using exposures one stop apart seems to work best. Even so, I typically find myself selecting exposures 2 stops apart when I want to run a 3 image HDR.

    Here's what I do when in a church:
    • mount the camera on a tripod, of course.
    • set the f/stop to something around f/5.6 to f/8. If you open up more, say f/4 or wider, your depth of field will become too shallow.
    • set the ISO to 200, but this really depends on the ISO capabilities of your camera
    • set the camera to work with the remote control
    • set the shutter speed to 15 seconds (or 30 if really dark)
    • take a series of pictures at 1 stop increments. That is, increase the speed by 3 clicks of the shutter speed knob. This works without needing to memorise the whole darn dial.
    • that is, take a shot at: 30", 15", 8", 4 ", 2", 1", .5", 4, 8, 15, 30, ... as needed

    Since I do a lot of this and have a camera that supports this, when shooting something at my leisure, I also use mirror lock up.

    Just me, but... I photographed a church in Paris last month and did a bracketed set of 3 images 1 stop apart using the auto-bracketing feature. When I processed the images last week I found that I really needed more range than the 3 1/stop images provided. I tried to combine the images using Photomatix but I wasn't pleased with the result. I selected the best exposed image and tweaked it in PhotoShop to my liking. It wasn't as automatic as running it through Photomatix but the result was more pleasing. If you really know how to use PhotoShop you can make two layers of the same image and then blend the layers to get a better false HDR than you can using an HDR program with only one image. Just my opinion.

    I would also like to agree with wolfden, if you like the result it doesn't matter how you got there.

    Charles

    BTW: wolfden you're stealing our family moniker Debatable, LUPICA means little she wolf in Sicilian. When I was growing up (in the 60s) my father had a sign made for our house: Lupica's Lair
    ehehe on the family monikir. I read mixed feelings on having just 3 shots vs. multiple shots. I shoot 3 and I have run into same problem as you with getting bad results. So, if we watch our histograms we should be able to take the 3 shots we need. I'm not comfortable nor have a good enough tripod to be able to be switching stuff around to get those 3 shots. Than you have the scenarios where HDR just isn't there to even capture. Like you say tho, find the best ones and work with that.


    Quote Originally Posted by jamz111 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by wolfden View Post
    It's not the same and it all depends on what "look" you want to achieve. You can get that tone mapped "look" just fine with 1 RAW. You'll battle noise a bit more, but easily taken care of with noiseware app, unless you really push it. I've done a lot of my pics with this method, it's not HDR, but it is a tone mapped image with the "look" I wanted.

    There seems to be a growing debate of HDR vs. Tone Mapping. A true HDR tho will have different exposures, one to capture the highlights, one to capture the shadows and one to capture the mid range. My thought is, if you are happy with the end results no matter what you had to go through to get there, it's all good. Shoot and have fun!
    I'm using one RAW file and save it three time in TIFF with 3 different exposure so I'm using those 3 TIFF's. Is it going to make a lot of difference if I were to use 3 RAW files instead of 3 TIFF files?
    It all depends on what "look" you are going for. If you want a true HDR, you need 3 different exposures of an HDR scenery. You need to capture the shadows, highlights and midrange. Every scenario doesn't provide this, so you kinda got to develop an eye for it. Find a scene that has the high dynamic range going on and capture it.

    If you just want the tone mapped "look" and not concerned with keeping the highlights and shadows as priority than yes it will work for that. It doesn't make it a HDR tho.

    from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_dynamic_range_imaging

    Tone mapping

    Tone mapping reduces the dynamic range, or contrast ratio, of the entire image, while retaining localized contrast (between neighboring pixels), tapping into research on how the human eye and visual cortex perceive a scene, trying to represent the whole dynamic range while retaining realistic color and contrast.

    Images with too much tone mapping processing have their range over-compressed, creating a surreal low-dynamic-range rendering of a high-dynamic-range scene.



    All really depends on what you are seeking. A lot of the images you see on the internet and even on the great hdrspotting.com website are single RAW files. I would even go to say that 80% of the people do not understand what a true HDR is. That is why I was saying those that do true HDRs are getting kinda fed up with these over done tone mapped images from single files claiming to be HDR. They have a valid point. Work with it, try different ways and have fun. The end results is what matters.
    KJS

  • #7

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    Here is simple test: Which one is the Real HDR?

    One is 3 Raws and One is 1 Raw saved out to 3 tiffs


    or


    clicking on the images will tell ya which is which
    KJS

  • #8
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    Raw images are produced by the camera so you can't take a single RAW file and make it 3 RAW files with different exposures. Just a wording thing. When you open the image in RAW you work on it and then save a copy of it. As far as I know, you can't write a RAW file. RAW files have extensions like CR2 or NEF.

    ---
    Just to confuse things a bit more , the number of images needed to produce a smooth HDR image depends on the scene. That is, every HDR image is essentially different. I think I read somewhere that the human eye can see something on the order of 9 times the range of what can be captured in a single photo. If the difference between the darkest detail and the lightest detail is great you'll need a complete range of images in between. A single mid-range image won't provide enough gradation between the dark details and the the light details. The result will be a grainy picture with serious noise problems. When I do church interiors, a set of 3 will almost never produce a pleasing result. The dark corners are just too dark compared to the light coming in through nearly transparent stained glass windows. If the church is well lit or it's an overcast day, the dynamic range will be different.

    --
    Wolfden makes a point too; that is, if the scene is flatly lit you may already be capturing the full dynamic range in a single picture. No amount of manipulating can create more range than was there (well "no amount" is a bit strong). That's why I think shooting even one stop apart doesn't generally have enough range to provide good results.

    Just my 4 cents worth (2 before, 2 now)

    Charles
    I currently spend a fair amount of time on Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/103236949470535942612

    my personal website (not very current I'm afraid): clupica and family
    my photogarphy : cwlupica - Photograher
    my photos on SmugMug. StudioLupica on SmugMug
    me on facebook: Charles Lupica
    My fan page on facebook: StudioLupica

  • #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by clupica View Post
    Raw images are produced by the camera so you can't take a single RAW file and make it 3 RAW files with different exposures. Just a wording thing. When you open the image in RAW you work on it and then save a copy of it. As far as I know, you can't write a RAW file. RAW files have extensions like CR2 or NEF.

    ---
    Just to confuse things a bit more , the number of images needed to produce a smooth HDR image depends on the scene. That is, every HDR image is essentially different. I think I read somewhere that the human eye can see something on the order of 9 times the range of what can be captured in a single photo. If the difference between the darkest detail and the lightest detail is great you'll need a complete range of images in between. A single mid-range image won't provide enough gradation between the dark details and the the light details. The result will be a grainy picture with serious noise problems. When I do church interiors, a set of 3 will almost never produce a pleasing result. The dark corners are just too dark compared to the light coming in through nearly transparent stained glass windows. If the church is well lit or it's an overcast day, the dynamic range will be different.

    --
    Wolfden makes a point too; that is, if the scene is flatly lit you may already be capturing the full dynamic range in a single picture. No amount of manipulating can create more range than was there (well "no amount" is a bit strong). That's why I think shooting even one stop apart doesn't generally have enough range to provide good results.

    Just my 4 cents worth (2 before, 2 now)

    Charles
    The software that came with my Nikon (NX) allows to duplicate a RAW file. It also has an option to change the exposure on each of the duplicated RAW files. This is why I'm not sure if doing it this way vs. auto bracketing 3 shots make any difference.

  • #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfden View Post
    Here is simple test: Which one is the Real HDR?

    One is 3 Raws and One is 1 Raw saved out to 3 tiffs


    or


    clicking on the images will tell ya which is which

    I think the second one with the truck was made from 3 TIFF's. I really like the first one becasue of its clarit


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