Have a D800 and also a Promote that I will use for doing HDR shots. My question is what is the effect of more shots vs less and should there be a defined range (ie +/-2ev with say 5 shots at 1ev step or 3 shots at 2 ev steps) or is it better to get a bigger dynamic range and then work down as required?
Going to experiment when I get a better tripod (its on the way) but just asking what the effect of the number of shots actually is as its not clear in all the tutorials and manuals.
#1. "RE: HDR and number of shots effect" In response to Reply # 0
There is no set number of exposures to take but it should be at least three. I usually take anywhere from five to nine exposures 1 ev apart and then I will either use them all or every other one depending on the exposure range of the scene and the subject matter.
#2. "RE: HDR and number of shots effect" In response to Reply # 1 Wed 14-Nov-12 12:51 AM by barrywesthead
I have done several tests and concluded that there is no loss in going to 2-stop increments so I would recommend either -2 0 +2 or -4 -2 0 +2 +4. I have seen improvements from the latter where wide ranges are involved. Just use auto bracketing and ignore the odd exposures.
For best detail use a tripod and remote. If you touch the camera (except at say 20mm focal length or less) check the image alignments manually before combining.
#3. "RE: HDR and number of shots effect" In response to Reply # 2
I'm by no means an expert, but I have been working with HDR for a while now. In my somewhat limited experience, there are a number of factors which should be taken into account when doing HDR. To a large degree, what brackets and increments you choose are a function of the specifics of any particular scene you are trying to capture.
For example, if you have a static scene with a very high dynamic range, going from very bright sunlight to deep shadow, you may be well-served by doing a five or even seven shot bracket at 2EV increments to insure a full capture of all the exposure information you want. I agree that for most situations you can get by with a 3 to 5 exposure bracket at 2 EV.
Occasionally, a scene may present itself where you are limited by technical factors such as the need to keep subject motion ghosting artifacts to an absolute minimum. When this happens, you may end up with chromatic aberration or ghosting artifacts that can be difficult to eliminate.
This is where I've found that a 5 to 7 bracket at 1 EV can be helpful. Sometimes, the best final outcome (post-processed with the least amount or no residual artifacts) is from doing a "pseudo-HDR" with the single, most-optimally exposed image.
One thing I'm discovering with my new D800, as compared with my "old" D700 is that the intrinsic dynamic range of the D800 is vastly superior to the D700. I'm finding scenes now where I might have previously done HDR as a matter of routine, but with the D800, I can massage a single image with curves, contrast, vibrancy/clarity and get the result I want. For myself, I think I will start experimenting with a +/- 2 EV, 3 shot bracket with the D800 and see if that works well as my basic HDR setup. I'll still probably keep a 5 shot, -2 EV to +2 EV for my D700, though.
I strongly second the advice that a remote release is mandatory for good technique, particularly with the D800. I'm still trying to decide for myself if I need to "mirror-up" for all my HDR with the D800, though. I'm leaning in that direction, however.
Good luck and enjoy your D800. BTW, what software are you using for your HDR?
#5. "RE: HDR and number of shots effect" In response to Reply # 4
I learn that beside just thinking of whether it should be 3, 5 , 7 or 9 shots, if I look at the histogram of of the darkest & brightest image then that will help me decide how many I need. Recently I try (with Efex HDR)a 4 shots -rather than 5 shots combination and turn out I got much better result- because the 5th shot (+2) has too much clipping on the hightlight. I find the slider on the Efex Pro 2 preview screen very useful- because you can kind of see detail you got available from dark to light.