Bracketing Limitation Workaround

Fuji XT2 six image HDR
Fuji XT2. Six images at 1 stop intervals blended using HDR processing in Lightroom. The image sequence was shot using the technique discussed.

From time to time I like to shoot multiple sequences of images at different exposures. I then blend these either with HDR software or using luminosity masks in Photoshop. My Olympus EM5 makes this very easy. I call up the bracketing option in the menu, set it to the number of exposures I want and the interval. I also set the shooting mode to continuous which allows me to shoot a sequence by holding down the shooter button. When the sequence is complete there is a slight pause allowing me to release the button. This makes the entire process very easy, allowing me to hand hold.

At the weekend, I came to shoot a bracketed sequence using the Fuji XT2. This also makes shooting the bracketed sequence very easy. There is a dial switch allowing you to change from single shot to bracket. You press the shutter button once and the sequence of three images is captured with no need to keep your finger on the shutter. I found this great, until the scene I wanted to shoot required a five-image sequence at 1 stop intervals. That’s when I found out that the XT2 is limited to shooting only 3 images in a bracket. Come on Fuji, please fix this in your next firmware update. It’s basic stuff.

Now, I should stress that it’s not just Fuji that seem to have overlooked the obvious. When I also came to set up my Sony A7r at the weekend, I found a similar problem. This camera can be set to shoot a bracket sequence of 5 images, providing you don’t want to set the exposure intervals to more than 0.7EV. As soon as you set the exposure interval for a bracket to 1EV or more, you can only shoot a 3 shot sequence. What on earth are they thinking.

If you have been frustrated by this limitation with your camera, there is a simple workaround (other than changing your camera):

  • Set your camera to bracket 3 shots at 2EV intervals in the Av mode (aperture priority) and set your exposure compensation to 0.
  • Shoot the bracket sequence of 3 images.
  • Set the exposure compensation to +1.
  • Shoot a second bracket sequence of 3 images.

This gives you two sequences of three images, but across the two you will have images at 1EV intervals. These will range from -2EV to +3 EV which is what you need for HDR and Luminance blending if you want to ensure maximum flexibility. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to hand hold using this method but hopefully it will make things a little easier.


12 thoughts on “Bracketing Limitation Workaround

  1. Hi Robin,
    I have similar issue with a Nikon D5500, which also has a 3 shot limit for exposure bracketing, so use an app named “dslrDashboard” to allow me to remotely control the camera from my iPhone and set >3 shots of bracketing. I believe Fuji’s “Camera Remote” app doesn’t have any bracketing facility, so you could maybe consider using “Triggertrap” which comprises a cable and Smartphone (iOS or Android) App.

  2. Exposure bracketing is one area where i find my Panasonics really useful, they will do up to 7 by 1EV shots per bracket but I must say I rarely use more than 5.

    1. Yes. I think the Micro 43 cameras have this right. Both Panasonic and Olympus work well. I tend to shoot 5 or sometimes 7 shots at 1EV intervals. I can always discard some images later if I find I don’t need them.

  3. Just back from Joshua Tree in California and tried xt2 bracketing at 2ev difference and was somewhat disappointed in the HDR result. I agree you need 5 to six 1ev exposures for a cleaner result. By the way what software did you use? Nice result.

  4. Brilliant work-around, thank you!
    This omission was pointed out to Fuji as early as the pre-production reviews.
    I thought that they made hearing aids as well.

  5. Great tip that I wouldn’t have worked out by myself. I find bracketing on my Sony A6000 quite limited so I tend to just shoot each shot and adjust manually to get the ones I want. I will be giving your idea a tryout.

  6. Thanks for the tip. In addition for HDR panos, on the fujifilm x100f at least, you can only use exposure compensation when something is in auto exposure mode. (aperture, ss or iso) As the exposure will then change as one pans across a sunset for example, this doesn’t work. In order to keep the same exposure across the pan, you have to be in all manual exposure. As a workaround, I have been changing the shutter speed as faux exposure compensation and shooting additional sets of three across the pan.

    1. That is another approach and I’ve sometimes used it myself with the camera in full manual and then shifting the shutter speed. I am pleased to say that since I published this post Fuji has released an update to the XT2 firmware and it’s possible to bracket 5 and 7 shot sequences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.