I understand that the normal setting for Bracketing takes 3 exposures. Is the only difference between Bracketing and HDR (in the camera) is that HDR combines the 3 photos into a single "best" photo for you while with Bracketing you select the best of the three? Am I understanding this correctly?
#1. "RE: Bracketing vs HDR in the D7100" In response to Reply # 0 Mon 27-May-13 08:24 PM by mklass
On the D7100, you can bracket up to 5 shots. While you can certainly use bracketing to take 5 and select the best (or least worst), the main purpose is to use the bracketed images in HDR software to combine them so as to get details in the light and dark areas.
The in-camera HDR process takes care of this for you.
However, there are certain disadvantages to letting the camera do it:
the camera does not use as many shots, so the output may not be as good
the camera gives you no control over the HDR process, as you get with the software
in-camera, you can only do this while shooting JPGs
You're likely to get a better image doing it yourself, but the in-camera method is a cheap alternative.
#2. "RE: Bracketing vs HDR in the D7100" In response to Reply # 0
The concept behind HDR photography is that the human eye has a contrast range of approx 20 stops (I've seen varying values depending on the article.) Film has in the neighborhood of 12 stops and the sensor in a DSLR can be in the range of 5 to 8 stops.
HDR imaging is a way to increase the total dynamic range of the sensor to eventually produce an image more closely resembling what the eye sees.
According to the D7100 manual, pages starting at 115, the in-camera HDR uses 2 shots and combines them internally to produce an HDR image in jpeg format. the amount of exposure "offset" between the shots in this mode is controlled by the HDR STRENGTH menu setting.
BRACKETING (See BRACKETING in the D7100 manual, page 133.) allows you to take a series of up to 5 images at user-determined exposure value differences (all the same for any one series of bracketed shots) and depending on the values, the maximum number of exposures taken. (See the chart on page 134.) These images are then fed into the HDR software of your choice, which produces the final image.