July 18, 2008

Bracketing tutorial (HDR)

I promised to post a short tutorial on how to turn on bracketing on Canon cameras. I only have a 40D, but I used to have a 30D, and I've seen 350D. The menu systems, and the way that you turn on bracketing is almost the same om most Canon models.

Why do you want to turn on bracketing?

You will get a lot better results when you use Photomatix (or Photoshop) to create an HDR from 3 exposures. Extracting 3 exposures from one RAW file is pretty pointless since Photomatix can do that for you. HDR processing from one RAW file will work for certain images, but you will most likely get lots of ”ISO noise” in the dark areas of the photo.

So now you know why you want to take more than one exposure, but you still don't know how to setup the camera for more than one exposure.

First a photo of the back of a 40D.

You will mostly use the menu button (1), the setting button (2) and the quick control dial (3).

Step 1:

Press the menu button when the camera is turned on. Then navigate to a menu that looks like this:

The menu option that you are looking for is the one that is named AEB (if you are using English menus)

Select the option using the quick control dial, and press the settings button when it's selected.

You are then in edit mode. Turn the quick control dial clockwise till the 3 small dots are placed under -2, 0, and +2

Finally click the settings button again, so you get back to the menu. The AEB values should now look like this:

You are now done changing the values in the menus. Note that AEB will turn back to normal values when you turn off the camera.

Step 2)

This is an important step that you must remember to do. Switch to A-DEP (Automatic Depth of Field) or AV mode using the mode dial. Trying to take multiple exposures in other modes will most likely give you odd results.

You are now almost ready to take your first HDR photos using multiple exposures. Only one thing is remaining.

Step 3)

The camera is capable of taking 3 exposures in sequence if you hold down the shutter button and the camera is in one of the following drive modes:
Low-speed continuous shooting, High-speed continuous shooting, Self-timer 2-sec delay or Self-timer 10-sec delay.

I usually find it best to take HDR photos in High-speed continuous shooting if I'm not using a tripod or if there are moving people.

You switch to High-speed continuous shooting by pressing the DF*Drive button at the top of the camera, and then turn the quick control dial till your top display looks something like this:

The 3 rectangles with an H below indicates High-speed mode. Note that the display also shows that AEB is turned on.

Step 4)

Go out an take lots of photos! Do also note that you still can change the ISO setting, but it's usually best to take the photos at ISO 100 if you are using a tripod.


Christian Wiedel said...

Why would you shoot i A-DEP mode? And not in AV or something. AEB works the same anyway. Is it something I'm not getting?

Kaj said...

No, you can shoot in AV as well, but not in e.g. Tv

Ingrid said...

Hi Kaj,
Saw your pictures of Las Cataratas de Iguazu, Argentina. I would like to use the Devils throat in a weblog, part of a course I am following. Is that ok whith you? I will mention your name of course.

Kaj said...

Yes that's ok

Will Higgins said...

Good tutorial!

I think ADEP would make sure that the shots are similar while the +/- EV changes.

Unknown said...

Thanks, the tutorial worked wonders!

Unknown said...

Big Fan, BIG BIG BIG fan! But a new follower...
Will try and do what you taught here! :)

Unknown said...

ONe big question... DO YOu leave your ISO to auto???

Kaj said...

I almost always shoot in ISO 100. I just recently started to use ISO auto for some street photography, but I always set the ISO when I use bracketing.

Kirk said...

This is the first time I've seen A-DEP or whatever one's camera has for a DOF setting. Usually, I'm steered toward the Manual setting.