The In-Camera HDR function can be found in many newer cameras today. It is important to understand how the In-Camera HDR function works in your own camera as this function could be incredibly useful or something you want to avoid. Whether or not this feature is useful depends on one thing: if the In-Camera HDR function in your camera records the RAW files and keeps them on the memory card, or if this function only keeps the final HDR processed image. In this article, we will discuss how the In-Camera HDR function works and why it is important to keep your RAW files on the memory card.
Introduction to In-Camera HDR
- The In-Camera HDR Function: Handy or Not?
- Turning on the In-Camera HDR Function
- Using the In-Camera HDR Function
The In-Camera HDR Function: Handy or Not?
As mentioned before, the In-Camera HDR function only comes in handy if your camera keeps all of the original RAW files on the memory card. If your camera only keeps the final HDR processed version of the image, all of the other sequence images are lost. Then, when you get into post production and decide that you do not like your final HDR image, you cannot do anything about it because you only have that one processed HDR image saved on the memory card. You will not have any of the original files that went into creating the final HDR image so you are essentially stuck with the final HDR image.
In addition, we teach techniques in our HDR Workshop that require you to have the original RAW files. If your camera’s HDR function only keeps the final HDR image, we highly recommend you do not use this feature when shooting HDR photography.
Turning on the In-Camera HDR Function
To turn on the In-Camera HDR function on the Canon 5D Mark III, hit the “Menu” button. Once you have clicked on the button, your camera settings will appear as shown below.
To turn on the HDR Mode, go to the third screen displaying the settings. As you can see below, the HDR Mode is at the bottom of the list.
Next, adjust your settings for bracketing sequences, exposure value spacing, the processing style, and more. Simply hit the “Set” button to select each setting.
Using the In-Camera HDR Function
When shooting HDR photography, we almost always use the In-Camera HDR function on a camera like the Canon 5D Mark III because it allows us to record in whatever file format we choose. In addition, we can choose what type of bracketing settings and exposure value spacing we want for the image. Then, the camera will do everything according to the processing style that we select, as well as process the final HDR image.
The processed image is useful because we can get an immediate representation of what the scene will look like with the In-Camera HDR processing. However, we will usually delete the camera processed final HDR image because we want to reprocess the RAW files in HDR processing software. The HDR processing software is much more powerful than your In-Camera HDR processing.
Still, the In-Camera HDR function is a great feature because the camera controls everything. For example, with the In-Camera HDR function on the Canon 5D Mark III, we can use Mirror Lock-up, set the camera to a 2-second timer, and set our bracketing sequence with a number of frames as well as set the exposure value spacing in the camera. Then, with just one press of the shutter, the camera will do an automatic countdown from 2 seconds to 0 seconds and take all of the shots in that sequence with the mirror up.
If you have a DSLR, we recommend you play around with the In-Camera HDR function to figure out if your camera will save the RAW files or save just the final HDR image to your memory card. Once again, the In-Camera HDR function is only useful if your camera saves all of the RAW files. If so, this is a great function to use because it simplifies the shooting process for your HDR photos. If you are looking to buy a new DSLR, the In-Camera HDR function is something you might want to have if you are constantly shooting HDR photographs. Although this is a great feature, remember that you will always get the best results and the most control when you process your HDR images in HDR processing software.