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How can I use my Olympus DSLR for High Dynamic Range photography?
High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is technique in which a set of images are made of a scene at different exposures and combined using special software into an image that exceeds the dynamic range capability of a digital camera. HDR makes possible images with detail in both deep shadow areas and bright highlights that cannot be captured with a single exposure.
HDR can produce an architectural interior photograph that shows the details of a room and retain detail in the windows, which would normally be overexposed and lacking detail. It can capture a longer brightness scale in landscape photography and hold the shadows and lights in night photography. HDR photography can be used in product photography in which it would be difficult to pull up details in dark features of a product without over-illuminating the lighter tones.
There are two techniques for shooting a set of HDR images with Olympus DSLRs:
Auto Exposure Bracketing
Auto Exposure Bracketing (AE BKT) is found in the Camera 2 menu. AE BKT enables setting up the camera to shoot a sequence of bracketed shots consisting of a normally exposed frame and under-exposed and over-exposed frames. The majority of Olympus DSLRs allow up to a three-frame bracket—one normal, one under-exposed and one over exposed. The compensation values can be set in value intervals of 0.3, 0.7 or 1.0. Most practitioners in HDR photography employ the 1.0 value as it yields the longest range. The E-3 and E-30 have a large enough buffer that they can shoot a five-frame bracket with a normal frame, two under-exposed frames and two over-exposed frames. Aperture Priority should be used to insure the camera does not allow a shift in depth of field. ISO Auto should not be used to insure the camera does not vary the amount of digital noise brought into the image. If the HI Sequential Drive mode is used the set of shots is captured in rapid fire by holding the shutter button down. This is ideal for shooting scenes with motion in them and even allows an HDR capture hand-held if the camera is held steadily. Whenever possible, a tripod and cable release should be used for HDR photography.
Exposure Compensation Bracketing
Exposure Compensation Bracketing is a technique that can produce a set of images with a much longer scale than Auto Exposure Bracketing. However, since this is a slower process, it is more suited to still scenes—such as the inside of a cathedral or a night exterior scene. The process involves shooting images and changing the exposure values using the Exposure Compensation button found near the shutter button of the camera. The Sequential Drive mode cannot be used for this technique. Aperture Priority should be used to insure the camera does not allow a shift in depth of field. ISO Auto should not be used to insure the camera does not vary the amount of digital noise brought into the image.
It is recommended to always use Manual Focus when shooting HDR because autofocus might refocus the image from shot-to-shot and produce problems when combining the images for the final HDR image. Use a tripod and cable release to stabilize the camera.
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