The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is an incredibly awesome camera. I’ve used this camera on a number of occasions and continue to be impressed by it. Besides the quality of photos it’s able to capture, there are a few features that I’ve totally fallen in love with. One of these features has to do with bracketing. If you aren’t sure what bracketing is, please read through this post. It’ll catch you up to speed.
In the most basic sense, exposure bracketing has to do with when a camera takes multiple photos in sequence at different exposure settings. So, if you wanted to capture one image underexposed, another at normal exposure and the final one overexposed, you can easily do that. Many cameras offer this type of feature. Now, you may be asking why on earth you’d want to do this. It’s because of HDR (high dynamic range) photography. Sometimes, photographers like to merge their images together so they can better capture the entire range of light in one photograph. Cameras are limited in their dynamic ranges and by capturing multiple images, all the way from under exposed to over exposed, they can show a more realistic and stunning scene. If you haven’t already, simply search Google for “HDR Photography” and you’ll see what I’m referring to. The photos are incredible. Here’s a great example image for you.
Okay, so what’s the reason I love the Canon EOS 5D Mark III? Well, because it allows the photographer to not only take three or five differently exposed images in sequence, it allows him or her to take seven. That’s pretty wild. That’s going to allow for quite the range of exposure in the final image. Now, this isn’t to say that you can bracket fewer images if you wanted to. Such as only three or five. What I am saying is that this particular camera allows up to seven.
This camera also includes a “bracketing sequence” option, where you can set what the sequence will be when you take your shots. For instance, you can set things so the darkest shot is taken first, followed by the normally exposed shot and finally the lightest shot. You can do this backwards as well or you can keep the default normal, under and over exposure order. To access this option, click the Menu button on the back of the camera and then navigate to the Custom Controls > Bracketing Sequence menu item to change your settings.
On this camera, to set the number of brackets shots you’d like to capture, simply navigate to the next option down from the one I just wrote about (Bracketing Sequence). When you’ve navigated to the Number of Bracketed Shots item, click the Set button on the back of the camera to enter that area. It’s there you can choose either 3, 2, 5 or 7 shots to bracket. When you’ve made your selection, click on the Set button to accept the change.
At this point, we’re ready to set up the actual bracketing on the camera. Using the dial on the rear of the camera, navigate to the Expo.comp./AEB option and press the Set button to enter.
To set your spread of exposure, use the dial on the top of the camera. You’ll see the highlighted bars spread out wider and narrower, depending on which direction you roll the dial. To increase the number of stops between images, widen the bars, to decrease them, make them closer to one another. Also, if you’d like to control where the entire range of photos will lie, use the dial on the back of the camera to shift the range of brackets photos from the center to the left (darker) or the right (brighter). When you’re ready, press the Set button to accept your changes. What’s special about this camera is that it can accept exposures from -6 to +6 stops and even more if you shift the entire range. That’s pretty incredible.
By the way, the Canon 5DS has very similar controls, as does the Canon Rebel series. Although, the Rebel series is pared down some. I’ll write about that series exclusively later on.
Before we continue, it’s important to change the drive mode of the camera. Currently, if we were to take a photo, it would be one of these “exposure-altered” photos. Then, the next shot we took would be the next in line and so on. Since we want the camera to do all the work all at once, we’ll need to change the drive mode settings from one shot to continuous shooting.
To do this, you’ll need to enter the drive mode area and simply choose either the high or low speed continuous options and then press the Set button again to accept the change. Now we’re ready to take some pictures.
I highly advise you to use a remote shutter button when capturing bracketed images on any camera. Also, please use a tripod. It’s imperative that all of the images are aligned with one another. Although you can align the images in Adobe Photoshop or Camera Raw, it’s so much easier to keep the camera absolutely still when taking the pictures in the first place to cut down on the work later on. To take the pictures, simply hold down the button on the remote shutter button. You’ll hear the camera take the pictures and then stop. It won’t let you take any more until you repeat the process.
When reviewing your photos, if you see that some are far too under or over exposed, you’ll need to go back in to the bracketing settings to make adjustments. You’ll need to either collapse the range in a bit or shift it from one side to the other.
Give this process a try and let me know your thoughts. Some stellar photographs have come out of this series of steps. Tell me about yours down below.