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D90 - Automatic Bracketing


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#1 Lateral

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 08:55 PM

Hi Guys, I am new to the forum and whilst I was very much "into" photography when I was younger (I am now 51) and was a proud owner of a Canon A-1, i have not used a 35mm camera for many years. I am in the process of purchasing a D90 with a range of lenses as my son and I are going on an African Safari for 3 weeks in July and have a question regarding the "automatic bracketing" function. Does anybody use this feature and what are the pros and cons? On my old Canon you bracketed manually. Thanks Regards Greg
My kit

Camera: Nikon D300S and D90

Lenses:

Nikon 50mm 1.8
Nikon 18-55mm (VR)
Nikon 55-200mm (VR)
Nikon 80-400mm (VR)

Accessories:

V-tec tripod
The Pod (http://www.thepod.ca/)
Camera raincoat (http://www.fotosharp.com/)

#2 mule_patterson

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 09:04 PM

Welcome to Planet Nikon, Greg. You will love your new Nikon and find plenty of answers right here. The bracketing feature is useful for more than simply, well.. bracketing. These exposures can be anywhere from a 1/3 to a full stop apart and be used to create an HDR image if you expose the complete range of tones in your bracketed frames - usually three to five will do it. HDR software is relatively easy to learn - Photomatix is consider the better of the third party products, but you can also use Photoshop CS. Enjoy your stay at PN and post some images when you get a moment... Mule
Brian "Mule" Patterson
Knoxville, Tennessee USA
www.brianrpatterson.com

DSLRs Nikon D300 w/ MB-D10 | Nikon D40
DX Optics 10.5/2.8 DX Fisheye | 16-85/3.5-5.6 VR DX Nikkor
FX Optics 14-24/2.8 Nikkor | 24-120/3.5-5.6 VR Nikkor | 70-200/2.8 VR Nikkor | 85/1.4 Rokinon | 50/1.8 AIS Nikkor | 55/2.8 1:1 Vivitar Macro | Kenko 1.4X TC
Support Bogen 3221 w/ Markins M20 & RRS B2 LR II| Bogen 681B Monopod/Gtai Ballhead | Induro C014 CF/Gtai Ballhead | Nodal Ninja 180 Pano Head
Software Adobe Lightroom | Adobe Photoshop CS | Nikon Capture NX | Photomatix HDR
Lighting (2) Nikon SB-800 | (4) Sunpak 422/433 | (2) Lester Dine Ringlights

#3 Lateral

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 09:56 PM

Thanks for the quick reply Mule! As the focus for our Africa trip is photography, I was planning on using this feature to "hedge my bets" and to automate the bracketing function so as to ensure that we get the best shots possible. If the D90 is taking 5 separate shots, does this process take a long time (ie: seconds or bits of a second)? Regards Greg PS: We have not yet gotten our hands on the D90 yet...hopefully next week.

Edited by Lateral, 22 May 2009 - 09:56 PM.

My kit

Camera: Nikon D300S and D90

Lenses:

Nikon 50mm 1.8
Nikon 18-55mm (VR)
Nikon 55-200mm (VR)
Nikon 80-400mm (VR)

Accessories:

V-tec tripod
The Pod (http://www.thepod.ca/)
Camera raincoat (http://www.fotosharp.com/)

#4 mule_patterson

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 07:07 AM

If you set up your camera for continuous shooting and use the highest FPS rate, it will shoot as fast as the current shutter sppeed will allow - usually enough to capture landscapes with cloud movement. Animals and other moving objects may not remain in place long enough to get a sequence that will work in HDR. In that case, half-stop or less bracketing will just serve as a safety net. Also, HDR requires brackets in full stop increments - that might be a bit more than you intended for typical bracketing, which is all but unnecessary if you are metering well and shooting in RAW mode. Either way, practice beforehand to get your chops down and see what the real life scenarios will produce. And unless you're shooting in JPG Fine format, I guess you'll be taking plenty of CF cards, eh? Let us know what you decide on your shooting strategy... Mule
Brian "Mule" Patterson
Knoxville, Tennessee USA
www.brianrpatterson.com

DSLRs Nikon D300 w/ MB-D10 | Nikon D40
DX Optics 10.5/2.8 DX Fisheye | 16-85/3.5-5.6 VR DX Nikkor
FX Optics 14-24/2.8 Nikkor | 24-120/3.5-5.6 VR Nikkor | 70-200/2.8 VR Nikkor | 85/1.4 Rokinon | 50/1.8 AIS Nikkor | 55/2.8 1:1 Vivitar Macro | Kenko 1.4X TC
Support Bogen 3221 w/ Markins M20 & RRS B2 LR II| Bogen 681B Monopod/Gtai Ballhead | Induro C014 CF/Gtai Ballhead | Nodal Ninja 180 Pano Head
Software Adobe Lightroom | Adobe Photoshop CS | Nikon Capture NX | Photomatix HDR
Lighting (2) Nikon SB-800 | (4) Sunpak 422/433 | (2) Lester Dine Ringlights

#5 Arlon

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 06:08 PM

I use the auto bracket all the time. I usually set it at +-2 stops for HDR where I merge three shots into one with best parts of the exposure from each.

JUST DON"T FORGET TO TURN IT OFF WHEN YOU'RE DONE. Yes, I ruined a couple of good subjects because I was bracketing when I didn't want to be.


From three bracket shots merged in photomatix (click image for a larger version).

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D50, D90, D100 IR, D700, D800E and a bunch of old manual lenses..
D70 IR (stolen), D200 (stolen)

#6 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 07:41 PM

How to do bracketing with your Nikon D90 (Custom setting e4)
Copyright 2009 by Darrell Young, All Rights Reserved

This is an excerpt from Mastering the Nikon D90, Chapter 7 - Custom Settings > Custom setting e4 - Auto bracketing set.



Here's how to do various types of bracketing using the Nikon D90. This is from my newest book, not yet released. If this is useful information, please use the link above to pre-order.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Custom Setting e4 Auto bracketing set (see user's manual pages 191-194)

This setting allows you to control how bracketing works within your D90. There are five different functions that allow bracketing, which we'll discuss below. This setting is designed to work in exposure modes P,S,A, and M, but none of the scene modes.

Here are the menu screens used to configure Custom Setting e4:

Attached File  Figure32.jpg   57.2KB   4 downloads

Figure 32 - Custom Setting e4 Auto Bracketing Set

Here are the settings within Custom setting e4:

  • AE & Flash
  • AE only
  • Flash only
  • WB bracketing
  • ADL bracketing
AE & Flash When you set up a session for bracketing, the camera will cause any type of shot you take to be bracketed, whether standard exposures, or using flash. See how to bracket, below.

AE only Your bracketing settings will only affect the exposure system, and not the flash. Bracket described, below.

Flash only Your bracketing settings will only affect the flash system, and not the exposure. Bracketing explained, below.

WB bracketing White balance bracketing is described in detail in Chapter 3 White Balance. It works in a similar way to exposure and flash bracketing, except it is designed for bracketing color in "mired" values, instead of light in EV step values.

ADL bracketing Active D-Lighting bracketing provides two images, one not D-Lighted, and the second with your current D-Lighting selection in the Shooting menu > Active D-Lighting section.

Here is how to configure Custom setting e4 (see Figure 32):

  • Press the Menu button and scroll to the Custom Setting Menu (looks like a pencil).
  • Select "e Bracketing/flash," and then scroll to the right.
  • Select "e4 Auto bracketing set" from the menu, and then scroll to the right.
  • Select one of the five types of bracketing from the menu.
  • Press the OK button.
Now lets consider how to use the bracketing system. First, let's look at the external camera controls for bracketing, as shown in Figure 32A:

Attached File  Figure32A.jpg   45.99KB   2 downloads

Figure 32A - BKT button, Main Command Dial, and Control Panel LCD with Bracket Symbols

How to Use AE and Flash Bracketing

As shown in Figure 32A, choose the number of shots in the bracket by pressing and holding the function BKT button on the front of the D90, near the label. Turn the rear Main command dial to select the number of shots in the bracket.

Look for the BKT symbol to appear on the top control panel LCD, along with a set of characters on the top left of the Control panel LCD. These symbols are presented in a list below. The number of shots in the bracket are represented by these characters:

  • 0F = Bracket not set
  • 3F = Three shot bracket with order set in Custom setting e6
  • -2F = Two shot bracket, normal and underexposed
  • +2F = Two shot bracket, normal and overexposed
Hold the BKT button and rotate the rear Main command dial to select any of these settings except 0F. The D90 will take the total number of exposures represented by the character pattern in the list above.

You can use Custom setting e6 to set the order of the exposures. We'll discuss this in the Custom setting e6 section below. The default order is MTR (normal) > underexposed > overexposed. You can change it to underexposed > normal (MTR) > overexposed, if you'd like.

While holding the BKT button you can rotate the front Sub-command dial to change the EV step value of each image in the bracket, in steps of 0.3, 0.7, 1.0, 1.3, 1.7, or 2.0 EV, based on having selected 1/3 in Custom setting b1 EV steps for exposure control. If you've selected 1/2 in Custom setting b1, the EV step values in the bracket will be: 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0.

Therefore these steps give you your desired bracketing range:

  • BKT button plus rear Main Command dial = Number of exposures
  • BKT button plus front Sub-Command dial = EV step value of bracketed exposures. (1/3 or 1/2 EV steps)
In Figures 32B to 32D are a series of pictures of the top Control panel LCD set to various bracketing values.

Attached File  Figure32B.jpg   45.1KB   2 downloads

Figure 32B - 3 exp. Bracket at 1.0 EV

Figure 32B shows a total of three exposures (3F) with 1.0 EV between each exposure (1.0).

Attached File  Figure32C.jpg   45.69KB   2 downloads

Figure 32C - 2 exp. Underexposure Bracket at 0.7 EV

Figure 32C shows a total of two exposures (-2F) with 0.7 EV between each exposure (0.7).

Attached File  Figure32D.jpg   46.13KB   0 downloads

Figure 32D - 2 exp. Overexposure Bracket at 0.3 EV

Figure 32D shows a total of two exposures (+2F) with 0.3 EV between each exposure (0.3).

Recommendation: I normally bracket with a 1 EV or 2 EV step value (1 or 2 stops) so that I can get a good spread of light values in High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. In most cases, I will do a three image bracket, with one image overexposed and one image underexposed by 1 or 2 stops. This type of bracketing allows detail in the highlight and dark areas to be combined later in-computer, for the HDR exposures everyone is experimenting with these days.

How to Use ADL Bracketing

Now lets look at Active D-Lighting or ADL bracketing. This is a rather simple bracket, since it only takes two images. The first image will be a normally metered image with no D-Lighting applied. The second image taken will be with whatever Active D-Lighting you've applied in the Shooting menu > Active D-Lighting section.

Therefore these steps give you your desired bracket:

  • Set Shooting menu > Active D-Lighting to one of the Active D-Lighting selections, such as Low, Normal, or High.
  • Select ADL bracketing in Custom setting e4. (see Figure 32)
  • Hold down the BKT button and verify that AdL shows up on the upper Control Panel LCD. Do not release the BKT button.
  • Rotate the rear Main command dial until the small BKT symbol appears on the right side of the upper Control panel LCD.
  • Release the BKT button.
  • Take two pictures of the same subject.
Note: In any bracketing situation, except White Balance (WB) bracketing, you can set your camera's Release mode to L (CL) or H (CH), and fire off the frames of the bracket in one continuous burst. The camera will know how many frames to fire and will stop when the bracket is complete. White balance bracketing works differently, in that all you have to do is press the shutter button once and the camera takes the one image, makes a copy, and applies the different WB Bracketing values to each image. It then saves the two images with their differing WB settings, under different file names. (See Chapter 3)
Best regards,
Darrell Young (Digital Darrell)
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"Better too many words than not enough understanding." - Darrell Young
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#7 Lateral

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 07:45 PM

Thanks for the comments guys. My son and I will be taking 4 x 8 gig SD cards each and I will be taking a small Netbook notebook PC with 160 gb hard drive so that we can copy the SD cards onto it and view the images at night. Regards Greg
My kit

Camera: Nikon D300S and D90

Lenses:

Nikon 50mm 1.8
Nikon 18-55mm (VR)
Nikon 55-200mm (VR)
Nikon 80-400mm (VR)

Accessories:

V-tec tripod
The Pod (http://www.thepod.ca/)
Camera raincoat (http://www.fotosharp.com/)

#8 Black Pearl

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 03:10 AM

Instead of auto bracketing all your shots, 95% of them you won't need, I would shoot RAW and 'save' any exposure problems in Nikon Capture NX.

Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.

 

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