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Canon 5D Mark III In-camera HDR

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Mark Fuentebella
While Sean was enjoying warm weather and sunshine in Florida I had the opportunity of exploring one of Canon's best, the 5D Mark III in the cold weather of Dubuque. Along with the 5D, I was using the 17-40mm f4L lens.

One feature on the 5D III that is not on the 5D II is the in camera HDR ability. HDR stand for "High Dynamic Range." Basically what this means is that an image will have a greater range that it can capture between its highlights and its darks. The effect achieved by doing this is an extremely crisp image with minute details you would not get with just a regularly single exposed image. It takes the best information from an under exposed image, over exposed image and a properly exposed image and combines them into one. The processed image then has a unique look (as long as it's done right and tastefully).

How does HDR work? Well, normally for any image you would take just one correctly exposed image and move along. Like I mentioned above, HDR consists of higher highlights and darker shadows. The way that this is achieved is actually by taking multiple images - usually three- in the same spot: an under exposed image, a normally exposed image, and an over exposed image. Next, before the 5D III you would take these three images and merge them to extract all the important elements (highlights and shadows) and produce an HDR image.

Easy enough right? All it takes is 3 images and a little bit of editing. However with the 5D III you don't even have to edit the images on a computer. In any mode other than Automatic or Bulb press the picture style button on the top left (under the menu button) and there will be three options. Choose the one all the way to the right that says HDR.


A menu will pop up for the HDR settings.



The first option is for adjusting the dynamic range. By default it will say disabled. You'll want to go into this menu and you can choose for it to take two exposures 1, 2, or 3 stops above and below your settings or have your camera automatically decide for itself.

The next option is the type of effect you want. There are five options: natural, art standard, art vivid, art bold, and art embossed. The natural mode makes it somewhat difficult to see what the effects HDR is supposed to produce. It mostly looks like a pictures levels had been edited a bit. The art standard mode is basically the same idea but to a little bit more extent. The art vivid mode starts to become a little bit more noticeably HDR-ish with more saturated colors. This mode might be more favorable for the more conservative photographers. I personally like the art bold the most. This mode is just so blatantly HDR. The colors are exaggerated almost to the point of being overly saturated, but the highlights and the shadows make objects pop out of the screen. Finally there is the art embossed which does the same thing with the lighting, but turns most of the things in the image gray.

The third option is just for if you want to only take one image in HDR or continuously use the HDR capability.

The forth option in the HDR menu is for automatic image alignment. You do not need this if you are using a tripod. When shooting handheld, however, the camera will adjust minor differences between the 3 images.

The final option is called "Save source images." What this allows you to do is save the three exposures the camera took to merge for the final images. You can choose between saving all four images or just the HDR image.

Of course you don't need the 5D III to take HDR photos, it just makes it easier. There is a shortcut for taking it on other cameras by going into the menu settings and changing the exposure comp./AEB settings. This will take the three exposures, but will not merge them. You will have to do this in post production.

Here's a little bit more information if you are interested!
High Dynamic Range

Here are two photos I took using the Art Bold HDR mode.

5DIII with 17-40 f4L

5DIII with 17-40 f4L

-Mark Fuentebella

If you are not familiar with our camera store, we are located in Dubuque Iowa, and specialize in new and used camera equipment, as well as camera rental, lens rental, and photography classes and photography workshops. Feel free to contact us at (563) 845-7207, or visit our website at www.everyphotostore.com 


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