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12-21-2013, 12:31 PM   #1
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K5 braketing

Experimenting with exposure bracketing on my K5. Set for 5 images per release. Step interval at 1/2 as recommended by manual. Results usually render 3 0f the images useless since the are way too over exposed or under exposed. What am I doing wrong? Can I set up the 5 exposures for a much more modest/incremental exposure variation between the 5 shots to get more usable SUBTLE exposure increments? Thanks, Barry Hall


12-21-2013, 12:35 PM   #2
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Set up interval to 1/3... but why would you want a more subtle range?
1 stop is probably going to give you more than adequate coverage for making an HDR or similar composite.
I often shoot 1.5 even two stops difference between shots.

You ARE going to get several shots that "appear" useless due to over and under exposure. But as long as you shoot RAW, a LOT of data will be recoverable and useable in the final assembly.

Of course, if you're shooting JPG, then you'll definitely want to shoot every 1/3 stop and take a lot more images to piece together. In the end, you may actually save RAM by shooting less RAW images to get a decent end result.
12-21-2013, 12:54 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barry Hall Quote
Can I set up the 5 exposures for a much more modest/incremental exposure variation between the 5 shots to get more usable SUBTLE exposure increments?
You can. Down to 1/3 stop. But why would you want to?

If you are making HDR images then you need to adjust the range of exposures so you have an image with the darkest area in good exposure and an image with the lightest area in good exposure. If you can get both of those in one exposure, or at least within 1/3 or 1/2 stop then there is not much use in exposure bracketing because you can tone map the image in LR by at a minimum one full stop. So no need for the HDR route just do it in Lightroom.

If you are taking 5 exposures and some of those are out of bounds then the image being shot does not have an extreme dynamic range anyway. Try doing only 3 exposures, or reducing the step interval to 1/3 stop. Or just shoot all 5 and discard the outliers you don't need.

Also, take note of your exposure compensation as that will adjust the range of bracketed exposures up or down just like it will with a single image.
12-21-2013, 12:56 PM   #4
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piece together? I just want to save the best (subjective) of the 5 (JPG) as light variation between settings may make over or underexposure more the most pleasing rendition. By the way have not tried this with flash assuming will not work.

12-21-2013, 01:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barry Hall Quote
piece together? I just want to save the best (subjective) of the 5 (JPG) as light variation between settings may make over or underexposure more the most pleasing rendition. By the way have not tried this with flash assuming will not work.
Often, bracketing is done with the intent to create HDR or composites containing the best pieces of exposure such that there is detail in both the shadows and the highlights. In some cases this cannot be achieved with just one exposure.

But, it sounds like you have different intentions... in which case just setting the interval to 1/3 will help.

Bracketing will work with flash, but that brings in a whole other level of exposure battling!

I may be way off here, and feel free to tell me off (I honestly mean no offense)...
It sounds like you're not sure what settings will make the image better, so you're sort of in spray-and-pray mode with bracketing. If you're keen on learning more about why one exposure works better than another, I would suggest taking one shot and using exposure compensation or Aperture/Shutter settings to make the proper exposure. Next time you may just be able to get it right the first time without playing with bracketing.
Regardless, for now, the 1/3 interval will help.
12-21-2013, 01:22 PM   #6
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How are you processing the images? The tone mapping utilities will take in all the frames, and process them together, selecting the areas to blend together. You want the wide extremes in these cases.

It sounds like that you just want to take the 5 frames, look at them and then select the one that best appeals to you. The results from bracketing can be used in many different ways, tone mapping or HDR are one of the largest uses. Bracketing is primarily used to capture the very wide and large range of exposure conditions within a scene.

You can capture 1/3, 1/2, 1 and 2 ev increments. You can also bias or shift the entire range by +/- 1/3, 1/2 or 1 ev, thus better optimizing the captured results. Use the [+/-] button on the top and then shift with the rear thumb wheel.

I have used the bracketing in the way that it sounds like you intend to. When conditions were changing very fast, and I wanted to try to bracket a wider environment and could not depend on any specific shutter speed, I used TAv and put in an ISO range, and then used either 1/3 or 1/2 (1/2 worked better for me in that particular application). Then selected the best result in post.

12-21-2013, 01:34 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by amoringello Quote
Often, bracketing is done with the intent to create HDR or composites containing the best pieces of exposure such that there is detail in both the shadows and the highlights. In some cases this cannot be achieved with just one exposure.

But, it sounds like you have different intentions... in which case just setting the interval to 1/3 will help.

Bracketing will work with flash, but that brings in a whole other level of exposure battling!

I may be way off here, and feel free to tell me off (I honestly mean no offense)...
It sounds like you're not sure what settings will make the image better, so you're sort of in spray-and-pray mode with bracketing. If you're keen on learning more about why one exposure works better than another, I would suggest taking one shot and using exposure compensation or Aperture/Shutter settings to make the proper exposure. Next time you may just be able to get it right the first time without playing with bracketing.
Regardless, for now, the 1/3 interval will help.
thanks for insight, here is the problem. Most often I am not doing still-life or studio work. Even with landscapes, lighting (clouds) birds in motion etc the best shot is dymamic and studio style expermintation not practical. Given my inexperience with the K5 I thought bracketing would be viable way to capture a fleeting opportunity to get exposure options. Sounds like the best approach over bracking is to concentrate on composition and leave the tuning to lightroom or other software.
12-21-2013, 01:47 PM   #8
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thanks observer, sounds like your TAv suggestion worth trying given our similar requirements

12-21-2013, 02:01 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barry Hall Quote
I thought bracketing would be viable way to capture a fleeting opportunity to get exposure options. Sounds like the best approach over bracking is to concentrate on composition and leave the tuning to lightroom or other software.
Correct. There is a lot of leeway in Lightroom for RAW files. Jpeg as well although not as much as with RAW still more than enough to cover 1/2 stop either way or more. So while you want to do your absolute best to get the exposure correct in the camera, if you are off a bit I think it is better to correct in software rather than shooting 5 shot brackets.

Bracketing has it's place but I don't think this is it. Now if you are shooting a sunset or a high contrast image where you may not be comfortable you will get the exposure right then sure try a bracket. But unless I'm shooting for HDR and need all 5 exposures to blend I would probably just shoot a test, chimp the results and adjust using exposure compensation to get what I want.

Just remember there are lots of ways to get the job done so don't let us scare you off of bracketing. If nothing else it is a good teaching experience until you get the confidence to just shoot the scene.
12-21-2013, 02:15 PM   #10
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With the K-5's dynamic range and PP capabilities, there is little need for 1/3 stop brackets. Five exposure brackets are useful for high contrast situations where HDR or exposure blending will be done, or where you are not sure if you are interested in the shadow or light source information.
12-21-2013, 03:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barry Hall Quote
thanks observer, sounds like your TAv suggestion worth trying given our similar requirements
Let me expand a bit on this. I had an opportunity to shoot the USS Constitution in the shipyard at dusk/sunset after it closed, along with the next morning for sunrise. Great opportunity and the weather was wonderful, very little breeze. I shot using bracketing (5 shot +/- 2ev), thinking that I could increase the dynamic range in evening and increase the image quality. Checking the images they looked good. Back at the hotel, I downloaded everything and did a quick look. They stacked terribly. Quickly leafing through the set, I could see that the tide was changing and was getting some movement that the eye just did not see. Also, the rigging - even in the light breeze was moving. The HDR idea was a bust, however - with the bracketing, I was able to save quite a few shots - by cherry picking (along with the K5's great sensor).

So, a year later - I had requested another opportunity. Beforehand, I tried to figure out the slowest shutter that I could stand (about a 1/2 sec - perhaps 3/4 sec), and figured I could go as high as ISO 800 (but really preferred ISO 400 as a ceiling). I also figured out that using 1/2 ev would force a wider assortment of shutter speeds. The shipyard had lost my request, so I just shot from over the fence, and everything turned out quite well. There is always a next time.

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