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Using auto exposure bracketing

From: Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III

Video: Using auto exposure bracketing

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.

Using auto exposure bracketing

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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This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III
Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III

108 video lessons · 20663 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 10m 29s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 28s
    3. A note for 5D Mark II users
      50s
    4. Using this course
      1m 55s
  2. 35m 44s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      5m 28s
    2. Attaching a lens to your camera
      4m 3s
    3. Examining batteries and media cards
      8m 35s
    4. Powering up
      1m 49s
    5. Exploring the menu system
      2m 53s
    6. Clearing all settings
      2m 5s
    7. Setting the date and time
      1m 55s
    8. Setting the language
      1m 42s
    9. Formatting the media card
      3m 4s
    10. Holding the camera
      4m 10s
  3. 25m 6s
    1. Setting Scene Intelligent Auto mode
      1m 28s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      5m 51s
    3. Touring the LCD screen and the status display
      2m 22s
    4. Exploring the top-mounted control buttons
      1m 42s
    5. Autofocus basics
      5m 7s
    6. Metering basics
      1m 42s
    7. Reviewing images
      2m 59s
    8. Working with image playback
      3m 55s
  4. 39m 32s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      41s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      5m 2s
    3. Using the lock switch
      1m 21s
    4. Revisiting metering
      1m 43s
    5. Changing the ISO
      2m 14s
    6. Looking at ISO speed settings
      4m 36s
    7. Exploring long exposure noise reduction
      2m 53s
    8. Exploring high ISO noise reduction
      1m 40s
    9. Using program shift
      2m 11s
    10. Exploring image format and size
      3m 59s
    11. Using the Info button
      2m 4s
    12. Examining level and grid display
      3m 45s
    13. Using the Quick Control screen
      1m 35s
    14. Setting the color space
      1m 25s
    15. Configuring multiple media cards
      3m 24s
    16. Using the feature guide
      59s
  5. 23m 15s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 25s
    2. Selecting autofocus areas
      3m 54s
    3. Exploring other autofocus options
      3m 44s
    4. Customizing servo auto focus
      4m 49s
    5. Exploring autofocus custom functions
      4m 50s
    6. Using manual focus
      3m 33s
  6. 10m 31s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 48s
    2. Exploring white balance presets
      3m 7s
    3. Using manual white balance
      5m 36s
  7. 10m 47s
    1. Exploring Drive mode
      4m 52s
    2. Using the self-timer
      3m 38s
    3. Using remote controls
      2m 17s
  8. 52m 26s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 26s
    2. Using exposure lock
      1m 22s
    3. Working with focus points and metering
      3m 47s
    4. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 0s
    5. Using the depth of field preview button
      2m 40s
    6. Using Shutter Priority mode
      3m 26s
    7. Using Manual mode
      3m 27s
    8. Using auto exposure bracketing
      6m 3s
    9. Exploring Bulb mode
      2m 34s
    10. Working with the Auto Lighting Optimizer
      1m 40s
    11. Correcting lens aberration
      2m 46s
    12. Exploring Highlight Tone Priority
      2m 25s
    13. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      7m 5s
    14. Creating multiple exposures
      6m 25s
    15. Using the mirror lockup feature
      2m 20s
  9. 27m 38s
    1. Modifying LCD brightness
      3m 27s
    2. Rotating images
      2m 36s
    3. Using the playback grid
      42s
    4. Enabling AF point display
      1m 18s
    5. Rating images
      3m 4s
    6. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 40s
    7. Using Quick Control during playback
      1m 17s
    8. Exploring file numbering options
      2m 43s
    9. Creating folders
      1m 10s
    10. Changing file names
      3m 12s
    11. Adding copyright information
      3m 29s
  10. 7m 57s
    1. Defining picture styles
      2m 0s
    2. Exploring predefined picture styles
      2m 1s
    3. Adjusting predefined picture styles
      1m 56s
    4. Working with the monochromatic picture style
      2m 0s
  11. 22m 28s
    1. Activating Live View
      7m 16s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 32s
    3. Focus manually in Live View
      1m 25s
    4. Working with aspect ratio
      2m 33s
    5. Exploring other Live View options
      3m 36s
    6. Reviewing the drawbacks to using Live View
      2m 6s
  12. 12m 16s
    1. Shooting video in Auto and Program modes
      6m 39s
    2. Shooting video in Priority or Manual modes
      3m 35s
    3. Exploring movie playback
      2m 2s
  13. 13m 0s
    1. Exploring custom modes
      5m 38s
    2. Using the custom menu
      2m 56s
    3. Exploring custom controls
      4m 26s
  14. 8m 57s
    1. What are custom functions?
      35s
    2. Working with exposure level increments
      1m 34s
    3. Bracketing auto cancel
      53s
    4. Changing the number of bracketed shots
      1m 5s
    5. Changing ISO speed setting increments
      1m 34s
    6. Exploring the Live View shooting area display
      40s
    7. Enabling safety shift
      2m 6s
    8. Clearing all custom functions
      30s
  15. 8m 16s
    1. Camera and sensor cleaning
      3m 12s
    2. Using the Battery Info command
      1m 45s
    3. Looking at operating conditions and temperatures
      2m 3s
    4. Getting firmware updates
      1m 16s
  16. 15m 10s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      5m 31s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      5m 11s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      4m 28s
  17. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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