I almost always shoot in raw and have experimented with HDR processing on the computer. I’ve never really like the results I got. It always looked too artificial and the developers seemed to create a look I didn’t like. I played with sliders and parameters and decided it wasn’t worth the effort and continued to use Capture NX2 for my post processing of raw files.
The other day I made a discovery. I had noticed that there was a menu item for HDR shooting but it was always greyed out as unavailable due to some other parameter I had set. The messages were never very clear on exactly what was wrong. The other day I discovered that you can’t shoot in-camera HDR with raw output set.
So, I went to jpeg fine only and the Raw shooting suddenly became available. I tried it out and was very pleased with the results. Instead of the harsh, almost garish results I was getting out of software I suddenly had exactly what I wanted, an image that looked like it was nicely exposed in both light and shadow areas.
My first experiment was straight out the back door to a house that was backlit with bright clouds in the sky.
I was really impressed so I went to the local history park where I knew there was another problematic lighting situation. Here, I had a frame of branches casting shadows and intermediate area of bright sunshine with a house and foliage in the background.
This worked exactly as I wanted too!
My camera is definitely smarter than I thought it was and a better post-processor too.