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| p.1 #7 · An HDR question - Is bracketing really necessary? |
It is necessary. There is no such thing as a single shot HDR (check Wiki). Manipulation of a single shot is just a different way of processing a non HDR image.
The definition of HDR is the capture of more information than is possible from a single frame (therefore bracketing). the current top end sensors can capture about 14 EV (film has 7-11), but there are still scenes that can exceed that. The classic example is interior architecture shots, where you want the interior details but do not want the windows blown out. Also, even if you can fit the entire range in a single image, there may be advantages to processing with HDR in some cases.
What Brian described is completely true, but a single shot is by definition not HDR
I equate it a bit like assembling a string ensemble that has instruments dedicated for the higher and lower tones instead of just using a single instrument with a wide range in the middle. While the mid-range instrument may have a range that can overlap and produces some of the same tones as the others, it can't produce the fullness/finesse of those tones as well at it's extremes as the others can in their respective ranges. And of course, the trio, quartet, quintet can produce a harmony/fullness that a single instrument can't quite achieve.
Not a perfect analogy ... but a solo vs. an ensemble ... each have different capabilities, and a different sound/vibe/look/feel. Some pieces can be performed by either, and for others the soloist has to choose which range will please the audience best.
A lot can be done with a single image in PP. My .02 is that if you're gonna bracket, there is no need to bracket anything less than 2 stops. PP can readily handle 2 stops or so without much trouble, so I typically bracket with 2 1/2 stop increments. This also happens to be close to the amount of diff between sunny side/shadow side of a given subject @ Sunny 16 (incident metering) @ capture (linear gamma).