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Bracketing

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When bracketing, you shoot a row of identical images, but each is exposed differently.  There are two reasons for doing this:

  1. Ensuring that you get one well exposed image by doing a number of different exposures. One will most likely be good and you simply select that from the series when done.
  2. Producing a bunch of images for an High Dynamic Range (HDR) picture. You will need a separate program to merge the images and make the actual HDR image. There are excellent free programs like Luminance HDR, excellent inexpensive programs like Photomatix, and excellent expensive programs like Photoshop, for this purpose.

 

You can set up the bracketing in three ways:

  1. Exposure bracketing - Here you choose how many images you want to shoot and what exposure they are to be shot at by checking each setting. The program has set a simple three frame sequence as default -1 -> 0 -> +1 stops. You can go from -5 steps (EV) to +5 in 1/3 steps giving you more than 30 images with different exposures. Usually three, five or seven images are produced - one exposed as the camera advises and one, two or three under- and overexposed by differing numbers of aperture/EV steps.
  2. Manual bracketing - Here you simply decide exactly what exposures you want to use. Same rules apply as above, but you assign the exposure values explicitly.
  3. Preset bracketing - This uses the settings from the camera, and shoots the number of frames at the exposure set in-camera.

In all cases you want to keep focus, aperture, and ISO constant, so use A-mode, manual focus and constant ISO for bracketing.