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Bracketing is the process of shooting the same scene with different exposures to improve your chances of going home with a shot that's correctly metered. You might also use bracketing, though, when you're shooting a scene with a lot of dynamic range, so that you go home with at least one properly exposed image of all of the different bright and dark bits in your scene. You can use the Mark III's auto bracketing feature in Program mode, either priority mode, or Manual mode, and of course, you can build it into any custom modes that you define. I'm going to go ahead and set up an auto bracketing sequence here.
I'm going to hit the Menu button. On the second page of my shooting menu, the very first item is Exposure comp./AEB. AEB stands for auto exposure bracketing. I have this little readout here that shows how this tool is currently configured. So I'm going to hit the Set button, and I get this thing. There are two things you can do from this screen; you can set exposure compensation, or auto exposure bracketing. By turning the quick control dial, you get an exposure compensation adjustment. This works just like it does on the readout up here.
Each little mark is a third of a stop. So that's one full stop, one and a third, one and two thirds, two stops. You can change this if you like, and we'll see how to do that later. As I mentioned before, the difference here is I can go beyond three stops to up to five. Now, watch what happens if I dial in four stops here, and set that. My readout up here now has a little arrow that's off the right side of the scale. That indicates that I've got more than three stops. If I meter, and start to dial that backwards, you can see it comes back in, and as I go off, it continues to go up.
So, I've actually got that full range of exposure compensation at my disposal, even outside of that screen; I just can't see exactly where I am up here, but if you're really paying attention, you can keep track. That would be one -- three and one third, two thirds, that would be four stops right there; I'm just counting the clicks that I'm turning. If you really need more than that, it's going to be easier to set it in here. I'm going to put that back to zero. Now, if I turn the main dial, I get something different. I get the auto exposure bracketing control.
So, this lights up this additional meter, which shows what my bracket is. By default, the Mark III gives you a three shot bracket, and what these are telling me are what the exposures are going to be for each shot. The first shot taken is this long bar, and right now, it's going to be shot as metered. That's what the zero is. The second shot is going to have one stop of underexposure, and the third stop is going to have one stop of overexposure. I'm in Program mode, so it's going to generate those over and underexposures just as it would any other time I'm in Program mode.
It's going to mix up a shutter speed or aperture adjustment, or possibly an ISO adjustment if I'm set for Auto ISO. So right now, I've got one stop of underexposure, one stop of overexposure. I can change that. That would be two thirds of a stop in either direction, one third of a stop in either direction, and so on. I cannot have an asymmetric adjustment. I can't say, well, I want one and two thirds stop underexposure, and only one third stop overexposure; they are always going to be equal. After I've defined a bracket, I can then add exposure compensation to move the whole thing around.
So now this is going to say that my first shot is going to be underexposed by one stop, my second shot is going to be one stop under that, and my final shot will be one stop over that, which happens to be back to normal metering. By default, it always goes in that order. The first shot is always the middle bar, the second shot is always the underexposure, the third shot is always the overexposure; it is possible to change that if you want. I'm going to set this back to middle here. I'm going to accept this, and let's actually shoot this bracketed set.
I'm back here, ready to go, and you can see my bracketed set dialed in there; same readout that I got back here. So, I'm going to half-press to focus and meter, and take my first shot. So, that was shot as metered. And now, all this stuff up here is flashing; my exposure compensation readout is flashing, and this auto exposure bracketing icon is flashing. That means that I'm in the middle of a bracketed set. So if I take another shot, you can see it lights up my second option, which is the underexposed shot.
Let's shoot that. This one comes out a little bit darker. Everything is still flashing, because I'm still in a set, so I'm going to take my third shot, and that's now highlighting the overexposed exposure. I'm going to take that. There is my third one, which is overexposed by one stop. Now all this stuff has stopped flashing, because I'm out of bracketing, and back into normal shooting. So, if I start again, now I'm into a new bracketed set, so it's going to be three shots before I get out of it. An easier way to work with auto exposure bracketing is to turn on Drive mode.
So I'm going to press my Auto focus/Drive button, turn the quick control dial back here, and now I'm into high speed bracketing. So now, if I just press the shutter button, and hold it down through three shots, I just knocked off a bracketed set. I might want to use the slower drive option if I want more change between my shots, but most of the time, you want your shots to be pretty much identical, so high speed is a good way to go for there. Once I'm done with my bracketing, I need to turn it off, because it's a real drag to shoot your bracketing, turn the camera off, go home, come out later to shoot something else that you don't want bracketed, and then immediately find yourself, oh wait, I'm in this bracketed set now.
So I'm going to go in here to the menu, come back to here, and I just turn my main dial until I'm back to no bracketing at all, hit my Set button, and I'm back to normal shooting. As I mentioned, it's possible to change the number of shots in a bracketed set, and the order in which they are shot, and you'll see how to do that in the customizing chapter.
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