Canon 5D mk III in-camera HDR.

By special request I shot some in-camera HDRs this morning. Let me say up front I am not a fan of this genre and I think my appetite for it will be limited. However I do recognize that many people do like the effect. So here goes. All shots were HANDHELD. So don’t expect miracles. I used a 24-105 F4 lens for all the images. In each case I used the “Art bold” setting, and I saved only the output file not the source images. So these come out as jpegs to start with. They are a mixture of 1 and 2 stop bracketing. “Auto image align” was enabled as they were handheld. Other than resizing there is NO post processing. WYSIWYG.

Here is one with a no HDR effect to compare. EXIF data were ISO 1600, 1/160, F8, @45mm. HDR first, then natural.

Alleyway in HDR

Alleyway - standard. No HDR

The zoom is not identical but you can see the HDR has handled the shadows nicely. Without the “Art bold” effect this could be quite decent. I would also boost the ISO next time to get a faster shutter speed.

Now a local minibus:

Minibus in HDR

My reaction to this is “yuk” but some of you may like the way it looks. To me it is like a poorly printed postcard 🙂

Maybe it is just the way I take them!!

Boats in the typhoon shelter

My reaction doesn’t change.

Doorway - HDR

Not too bad if you like that sort of thing. Remember these are unprocessed. Last one coming up:

Cafes in Sai Kung

Now this has certainly done its stuff lifting detail out of the shadow and that’s about all I can say in its favour.

So I didn’t choose very interesting subjects but I have hopefully much better shots in the non HDR category. Luckily you are spared those. For now.

What I did notice today was that people notice the 5D mk III. People rarely bother with my M9 – smaller, less intrusive and better lenses of course. But less versatile in my hands. In fact the body of the 5D is not too bad but even the 24-105 lens makes it look bulky and unwelcome. I did marvel again how quiet the shutter is and in some ways that compensates. If you are quick it is so quiet nobody realizes the image has been taken. I also found that the ergonomics of the camera body were excellent. And menu navigation is easy enough if you have a basic familiarity with the Canon DSLR system. I especially like the bigger, easier to reach and find DoF preview button. Compared to the 1D mk IV it is a doddle. And the weight of the spare battery is rather less than a 1D’s for which I am very grateful. If this proves a good ‘bird’ body then I could even see me selling my 1D mk IV and buying a second 5D3. Maybe I should add a battery grip but I need to think about that.

I am sure most people can do better with HDR than I can and certainly off a tripod I suspect the images will look sharper but if you like HDR and can’t be fagged to lug a tripod around with you, maybe this is a good solution. It just isn’t for me.

Let’s go out in style. Here is a handheld HDR extract of an oil painting hanging in my home, Ababoles Rojos, by Ulpiano. The original is about as close to HDR as I would get so this is sort of HDR-squared, happily less toxic than CDO-squared.



5 thoughts on “Canon 5D mk III in-camera HDR.

  1. I find HDR looks pretty gross too, especially in daylight scenes where it isn’t needed. Poorly printed postcard – exactly! I am highly envious of your new camera, having shelled out for the Mk II only 9 months ago. I knew this was going to happen! Ah well! I’ll just wait another three years… I’m interested as to whether the Mk III body is the same size as the Mk II, do you know? I read that it’s a little heavier.

    • Hi Emilie. I’m afraid I dont know how the 2 and the 3 compare for weight. The 3 is a lot more expensive. I paid HK$27k plus the spare battery. I have never used the 5D2 but admired the images I saw from it. I think the 2 is still a fine camera. You could of course trade your 2 in but you’d need to find the balance 😦

  2. This is a strange article. You choose “Art Bold” as the HDR setting, which produces the overly saturated “postcard” look, and then you complain that this is why HDR is bad? How come you didn’t try even one of the images on the Natural setting?

I'd be delighted to hear what you think

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