Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Need Advice HDR....

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    56
    Real Name
    Dave

    Need Advice HDR....

    Dear Folks,

    I am really "taken" by the beauty and slight "surrealistic" nature of High Dynamic Range photography. I am a novice but would like to purchase equipment that I can grow into (not have to replace for a few years). On say a $3000 budget, what cameras and lenses are recommended for this type of photography? I will probably look at refurbished cameras and lenses. Any thoughts on the SonyA77 for this? Is a Canon 60D good for this? And which mid-range Nikons are recommended?

    (I'll need to leave a little room to purchase Photoshop and Photomatix, maybe a used MAC computer to boot).

    Thanks to all who respond.

    Dave

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    6,294
    Real Name
    Frank Miller

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Hi Dave. This kind of question is on the mind of many folks that want to enjoy photography and thus has been posted many time in this forum. Usually the first few replies seek to determine what kind of photography you would like to do. Although almost any camera can do any kind of photography, the majority of the budget is not spent on the camera body but on the rest of the kit for lenses, software, lighting, bags, filters, lighting... the list goes on and on. My camera, new with a basic lens, was about $600 (US) but the rest of the kit, not including a PC, is over $2,000. Studio lighting can be expensive and so can telephoto lenses for wildlife but if you prefer landscapes you could get by with a smaller budget.

    Whether you decide on Nikon, Canon, Sony, or any other DSLR, once you start buying lenses, you are pretty much locked into that brand for additional lenses and accessories.

    Start with this thought. The hammer, paint brush, camera, etc., is the TOOL. It is the carpenter, artist, photographer, etc., that produces the results. You can get really stunning images with a very basic Point n' Shoot and once you have experience, be in a better position to understand why you want a different camera and kit. For some situations, I still use my bridge camera instead of my DSLR.

    If you are like me, when I get a bee in my bonnet, I want to go out and spend money on the best I can afford. If this is you, head down to your local camera shop and physically handle as many cameras as you can. Ask questions about the features of specific cameras, and realize that not only the mainline camera vendors, but many others as well can put a totally capable 'tool' in your hands. Most folks end up with either Canon or Nikon as these two brands provide not only top quality cameras, but offer the widest variety of accessories available.

    Once you have your equipment, start posting your images. There is a wealth of learning available from the folks at CiC!

  3. #3
    krispix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    268
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Hi Dave,
    I agree with everything that Frank says. When you take that first step it's a bit frightening because it does lock you into a system pretty much for ever more. Frank says go to a camera shop and try out as many cameras as they will let you play with, see which is most comfortable in your hand. Try to limit yourself to the 'Big' names; Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony although the first two will give you the entire world to choose from when you come to buying bits for your camera.
    I would suggest you do your shopping in bite-size chunks rather than laying your nest-egg on the counter and only stopping when it's all gone!
    So, let's look at your 'essential' shopping list:
    Camera (obviously)
    A Lens. This will depend on what you want to do. If you want landscapes something wide will be most useful, Portraits want something at the longer end, say 80mm. Wildlife demands really long stuff. It might be a good idea to kick-off with a 'kit-lens' these are small zooms (about 18-55mm). They're cheap and pretty good quality for the money, and they'll give a good idea of where you want to go beyond that.
    A Computer. You mentioned a Mac. That's fine, but you will pay more for that than you will for a PC and the jury is very much out on which is best for Photographic Post Production. You don't say where you are, but I'm guessing State-side because you mention $ in your budget. Here, in UK, you can pick up a second hand PC for next to nothing and I'll bet it's the same on the other side of the pond.
    As for software, sure Photoshop is the industry standard and you'll pay for that. To start with try Gimp - it's free and very powerful.
    A Printer. This isn't a must to begin with, but you'll quickly be wanting to print your results out. You'll be surprised at the quality you get out of a cheap little inkjet.
    A Tripod. This essential piece of kit is often overlooked by the beginner. I would recommend you get something sturdy which means spending a bit of money. Perhaps something second-hand? Look at Giotto, Manfrotto, or Slik. A tripod will come in for a lot more abuse than your camera so it's worth getting something that will take it. If you've had it stuck in the surf, the mud, the "unmentionable", you need to be able to hose it off and a cheap 'pod won't survive that for long.
    A Bag. Something to keep your precious gear in. Get something that you can 'grow into'. Whether you go for a shoulder bag, a back-pack or one of the new belt hanging ideas is a very personal choice. Think about what you're going to do and how suitable your bag choice will be. (Most of us will have 2 or 3 bags that we pick from depending on the occasion).
    Finally, get used to the idea that whatever your budget is, it won't be enough. I doubt you'll find a single contributor to this forum who hasn't got his eye on a new lens, tripod, camera body "when he can afford it".

    Good Luck and post your images up here when you get your camera. We don't bite and will help you along the road as much as we can.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Greece (ex UK)
    Posts
    618
    Real Name
    Russell

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Hi, As you asked about HDR I suppose I will be the one to tell you.
    Go to STUCKINCUSTOMS website it is all about HDR with tutorials and advice.
    I did a search for HDR forums and supprised that they seem to have shrunk in the forums out there.
    A year ago if you typed in HDR forums you would a list to long to read in one day.
    I think nowdays that people have been taught more about what HDR is supposed to be used for when it first hit our screens there where some really awful images out there, really over cooked.
    You also ask about cameras, I use a Canon 1DS Mk II it can be programed to take upto 7 shots ie +1, +2, 0, -1, -2,
    however I believe that some Nikons can do 9 shots but as I don't use Nikon I cannot be 100% on that.
    Software for HDR is a bit of a minefield and as such I would suggest that you do a search for HDR software reviews then download the FREE 30 day trials that many offer to see what one suits you.
    Russ

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    56
    Real Name
    Dave

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Thanks for the replies. I failed to mention that I do have a tripod. And I realize that HDR has been used inappropriately on subjects that don't lend themselves to HDR. I have also seen the Stuckincustoms.com site....just mesmerizing!! I think I want to start with landscape photography, so a wide lens is probably first priority. Can a Canon 40D go from -2 to +2 in exposure compensation? (I have used a 40D but don't remember). And would that camera give me the tools necessary to make great HDR, all else being equal? (And I am writing from the U.S.).

    Thanks again for the help and friendship.


    Dave

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Greece (ex UK)
    Posts
    618
    Real Name
    Russell

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Quote Originally Posted by acroreef View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I failed to mention that I do have a tripod. And I realize that HDR has been used inappropriately on subjects that don't lend themselves to HDR. I have also seen the Stuckincustoms.com site....just mesmerizing!! I think I want to start with landscape photography, so a wide lens is probably first priority. Can a Canon 40D go from -2 to +2 in exposure compensation? (I have used a 40D but don't remember). And would that camera give me the tools necessary to make great HDR, all else being equal? (And I am writing from the U.S.).

    Thanks again for the help and friendship.


    Dave
    Hi, Actually I had the 40D and is IMO a very good camera but remember on a 40D as with most pro sumers you have a 1.6 or less crop small sensor ie put on a 100mm lens and it goes 160mm, also the 40D will like most Canons only do a 3 shot exposure in auto mode if you want to have say 5 or 7 shots you will have to do that in manual mode, it's not difficult once you get the hang of it and probably the best way to make yourself a better photographer because you have to think before you act. Please because you intend to go landscape think you need an ultra wide angle lens some of the best landscape photos are taken at around 70 to 80mm and also remember if you use a zoom and want to do HDR put it in manual because if you don't it may just refocus between shots.
    Sure there are more people on here with a lot more knowledge than me so I just hope I got it correct

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Quote Originally Posted by acroreef View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I failed to mention that I do have a tripod. And I realize that HDR has been used inappropriately on subjects that don't lend themselves to HDR. I have also seen the Stuckincustoms.com site....just mesmerizing!!
    Hi Dave,

    I should probably mention that although stuckincustoms has some amazing work, it's more a tribute to Trey's considerable ultra tone mapping skills than it is about HDR. HDR are a set of techniques for capturing a scene who's dynamic range is too large to be captured in a normal single exposure; it doesn't have any particular "look". Any "look" is created during tone mapping - with the resulting image being anything between completely "normal" to slightly surreal - to very "surreal" (eg Trey) - to over-saturated - over-sharpened - unrealistic Harry Potter nightmare "mush".

    I'm just trying to draw a line in the sand an get people to stop associating in their minds "HDR" with a certain "look"

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Greece (ex UK)
    Posts
    618
    Real Name
    Russell

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Dave,

    I should probably mention that although stuckincustoms has some amazing work, it's more a tribute to Trey's considerable ultra tone mapping skills than it is about HDR. HDR are a set of techniques for capturing a scene who's dynamic range is too large to be captured in a normal single exposure; it doesn't have any particular "look". Any "look" is created during tone mapping - with the resulting image being anything between completely "normal" to slightly surreal - to very "surreal" (eg Trey) - to over-saturated - over-sharpened - unrealistic Harry Potter nightmare "mush".

    I'm just trying to draw a line in the sand an get people to stop associating in their minds "HDR" with a certain "look"
    Hi Colin, as I stated above "awful images out there, really over cooked." so have to agree with you, the trouble now is how to get people to use the option of HDR for what it is really meant to be for, it is a great addition to photography but only when used in moderation. Again JMO.
    Russ

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Quote Originally Posted by russellsnr View Post
    Hi Colin, as I stated above "awful images out there, really over cooked." so have to agree with you, the trouble now is how to get people to use the option of HDR for what it is really meant to be for, it is a great addition to photography but only when used in moderation. Again JMO.
    Russ
    Personally, I like the surreal look - but only up to a point - then I get sick of them. Trey has to be one of the best - and I really like some of his work - but I have to admit to "being a bit over it" by the time the 20th image popped up.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Hobart, TAS
    Posts
    212
    Real Name
    Eugen

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    If you shoot in RAW, 3 images would be more than enough because you can get several "in-between" by processing these raw files. In the end you can have at least 6 images over 4-6 EV (I remember seeing HDR images made entirely from one raw file)

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Hi Eugen,

    Quote Originally Posted by enaiman View Post
    If you shoot in RAW, 3 images would be more than enough because you can get several "in-between" by processing these raw files.
    Um, Maybe, and no -- the number of shots in the bracket depends primarily on the dynamic range of the scene that one is trying to capture -- it may require only 2 frames or it might require 15. There's zero benefit to be gained from manipulating "in-between" images; the information is either captured by the camera or it isn't -- if it IS then it's there and it can be used -- if it's not, then no amount of processing is going to create something that wasn't there in the first place.

    In the end you can have at least 6 images over 4-6 EV (I remember seeing HDR images made entirely from one raw file)
    A single image is typically around 12EV - so 6 images at 2 EV steps would typically increase the DR captured to around 24EV. Contrary to popular misconception, you can't produce an HDR file from a normal single exposure -- you can however ultra-tone-map an image from a single frame that gives a "surreal look" that many mistake as being an "HDR look", but that has little to do with HDR per se. HDR is a set of techniques for capturing a scene that has a dynamic range that's too big to be captured in a single normal exposure; it doesn't have any particular type of "look" though.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Hobart, TAS
    Posts
    212
    Real Name
    Eugen

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    That's what I get when I'm in a hurry
    The 4-6 EV meant if the exposure bracketing was +/-2EV or +/-3EV then you will end with 3 images spaced between these limits (-2 0 +2 or -3 0 +3)

    Well, I am not a HDR expert and you are definitely right about info being captured or not in an image. I think it all depends on what somebody is using to try to get the HDR image: RAW files or JPG.
    If RAW files are used then indeed, there is not much benefit in "in-between" images but if a bunch of JPG files will be used then suddenly these "in-betweens" are important. (my bad again for not making my above post more clear)

  13. #13
    Thomas J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    13

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    You should hurry up and get the Nikon D7000, as it's sensor has got the second widest dynamic range of any camera in the world, and is also really cheap. Colour depth is also excellent, and ISO performance is well above the average to high segment.

    Just don't abuse it though, it's not as sturdy as the more high end Nikons.

  14. #14
    PBelarge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    205
    Real Name
    Pierre

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Here is a link to a load of HDR links.

    https://www.google.com/#hl=en&gs_nf=...w=1536&bih=842

    If you are considering a Canon, maybe the 50D would be a better choice. Also, it only brackets 3 images, but there is a plugin/firmware update that can be installed and increase that to at least five, possibly 7 images.

    http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/M..._Firmware_Wiki

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Posts
    429
    Real Name
    Peter

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    A few more thoughts - whichever camera you choose, find out how to use mirror-lock, and get a remote release of some kind. As for exposure, I tend to use a gap of 2ev or so, and I expose well beyond what the review shot shows. This is because it's much easier to discard shots than to try and make do with less. As to software, you'll find that CS5 comes with a pretty good HDR capability, Others to consider are Picturenaut, amd Oloneo. Picturenaut is free , and is useful for what I call "real" HDR; it does just that - enables a scene to be captured with a High Dynamic Range. Oloneo, on the other hand, can be used to create that tone-mapped look, as well as a more neutral, natural, look. I usually stick with Photoshop, TBH.

    Pierre, I saw your link to the Magic Lantern project, and am just starting to learn it. Well, more starting to starting to learn, really.

  16. #16
    PBelarge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    205
    Real Name
    Pierre

    Re: Need Advice HDR....

    Quote Originally Posted by proseak View Post
    As for exposure, I tend to use a gap of 2ev or so, and I expose well beyond what the review shot shows. This is because it's much easier to discard shots than to try and make do with less.
    Pierre, I saw your link to the Magic Lantern project, and am just starting to learn it. Well, more starting to starting to learn, really.
    Lots to learn, with more to learn everyday...

    I completely agree with the thought of take more, you can always discard.
    I will also say that when I do take more, I also discard more.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •