HDR Camera

While there is technically no such thing as an “HDR Camera”, there are certain cameras that are better than others for this process. I have my recommendations below! I am most familiar with Nikon cameras, although these do have comparable versions in the Canon line of products.

For more information about my post-processing techniques for HDR photography, I have a FREE HDR Tutorial for Mac and Windows here on StuckInCustoms.com that describes the step by step process. If you’d like to dive deeper, I also have video tutorials for Aurora HDR 2018. The tutorial shows how I use the tool for a variety of situations… landscapes, sunrise/sunset, people, motion, etc..

Camera Gear Recommendations

Google Pixel 2 XL

Good Camera: Google Pixel 2

The Google Pixel 2 mobile phone is AWESOME! It’s the best phone I’ve ever used. Read my review of the Pixel 2 XL. You can buy one unlocked direct from Google. There are two different models, they both have identical specs inside and out except for the size/screen and battery capacity. I recently did a Sony A7r Mark III Review where I sneaked in a Pixel 2 photo. Everyone had trouble finding it and seeing the difference between these two drastically different devices.

Also, I don’t follow scores from DxOMark but if that’s your sort of thing, you’ll see here that the Pixel 2 tops even the new iPhone X. But I can tell just by using it in a variety of conditions and comparing it to photos from friends using the latest iPhone or Samsung. They’re always blown away at the quality of the photos and you can see a bunch of examples in my review.

Better Camera: Sony a6300

Starting at below $999 for the body.

The A6300 is the latest evolution of the high end Sony APS-C models. It features, amongst other great features, enhanced autofocus speed and 4K movie recording. You can read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the model the A6300 replaces and has many of the same specs. The a6000 series has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000 models. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, more focal points, and faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 6 fps).

Best Camera: Sony a7R III

Starting at just over $3198

A full-on Sony a7R III Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. It’s a great camera and much more affordable than the Hasselblad. I absolutely love it. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems with comparible specifications at a lower price and smaller size/weight. Its Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!

Best Drone: DJI Mavic

A few years ago I got a quadcopter and I LOVED it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives.

Back then the tech was a bit complicated, flight times were not great and image quality was decent but still had a bit to go. After a bunch of updates DJI created two amazing products though. The Phantom 4 Pro which has the largest sensor on a consumer drone and the Mavic Pro quadacopter (that’s what my daughter Scarlett calls them!). Here is my Phantom 4 Pro review. It’s a great machine but I think I’m leaning towards the Mavic as my go-to machine due to how compact it is. Review coming soon!

Best 360 Camera: Insta360 One

I’ve tested a bunch of 360 cameras and the Insta360 One is definitely the best so far. I love the auto-stitching and removal of the selfie-stick. This is perhaps a very strange feature to mention, but I like how it makes all that nonsense disappear. The end result is that it has the equivalent feeling of a silent quadcopter floating a few feet away from your head all the time. They also have some cool software that lets you control what the viewer can see in post production. Check out my review for video examples.

Camera Lenses

Sony a7R – First Lenses

Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras! 🙂

  • Sony FE 24-105 f/4 G Series (Amazon) – An excellent high end lens that covers a good range. Ideal as a single lens to travel with. See image examples on the Sony a7R III review.
  • Sony FE 24-70 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great mid-range lens the covers wide to mid-range zooming. See more on the Sony 24-70mm review.
  • Sony FE 24-240 f/3.5-6.3 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is great. What a range! It’s not super-fast, but that’s not a problem for me.
  • Sony FE 16-35 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – I’m so excited about this lens! This is the first full-frame wide angle lens that fits the eMount on the Sony a7 line of cameras.

Sony a7R – Other Goodies!

  • Sony Alpha Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – So that you can attach the other Sony full-frame Alpha lenses to your Sony a7R
  • Novoflex Leica Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – Fantastic for attaching any lens that uses the Leica lens mount. WARNING: Do not get the cheaper adapters. I tried them, thinking it was just a piece of metal, but it was not and many of my photos, especially at infinity, were out of focus. Check out my Leica Lens Buying Guide for more info.
  • Nikon F Lens Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Nikon DSLR lenses
  • Canon EF Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Canon DSLR lenses

Sony A5100 / A6300 Camera – Two Great Lenses

If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first couple of lenses, here they are. Often times a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony a6300 comes with a 16-50mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.

  • Sony 55-210mm (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is a little big but its versatility is perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
  • Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review. Note: This is also a great lens for the Sony a7R Mark 2, giving you the full range of 12-17mm. The edges get a bit ropy, but only hardcore camera nerds look at the edges.

What’s in my photo bag?

Come check out my Camera Bag page for more details!

Over the past year few years, I’ve been partnering with Peak Design to build five incredible camera bags. And now you can see more! See our current Kickstarter here and/or check out our first Everyday Messenger here!

Leica Lens Buying Guide

I’m really getting into using Leica lenses with the Sony a7R. You have to manually focus but you still get focus peeking and all of the other sweet features of the Sony mirrorless system. I’ve created a Leica Lens Buying Guide where I’ll chronicle what I learn and recommend.

More Lens Reviews

I only write reviews for lenses that I use and recommend.  Here is a complete list of camera lens reviews.

More Reviews and recommendations

I have many other reviews and recommendations you may find helpful!

Fuji X-T2

Looking for something compact and built to withstand the elements? Check out my Fuji X-T2 Review.

  • Check the price of the Fuji X-T2 on Amazon.
  • Check the price of the Fuji X-T2 on B+H.

The Fuji products have always served me so well in crazy weather conditions. Well, in ANY condition, really. But there’s something about going out into the wild weather to take photos. You just end up getting very unique stuff. 2017 was my eighth year at Burning Man, and my 2nd to take FUJI equipment. Burning Man can be a Very Harsh environment with not just high temperatures, but frequent sandstorms. Those were always a major worry with my other cameras, but not this one. I didn’t have one single problem. It shot flawlessly and it has a great selection of weather resistant lenses too. On that note, why not take a look at my Burning Man Survival Guide here.

Hasselblad X1D

Money no object? Consider the Hasselblad X1D which starts at the low, low bargain price of around $9,000.

What a beast! You can read the full review over here which has loads of sample images. The key points are that it’s medium format and mirrorless, which means it’s got a much bigger sensor than a full frame DSLR and is not that much different in size. 50 megapixels. Beautiful and Sleek. I have the 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses and they are all outstanding! The only downsides I can see so far is it is a bit slow (like 2 frames per second) and the software is a tiny bit buggy. I think the latter will be fixed with firmware. Either way, the images it produces are phenominal.

Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Please visit my Ethics Statement. It’s all quite simple!

Sample HDR Photos

Some photos I’ve created… I make a new one every day here on the home page at StuckInCustoms.com, so you are welcome to come back regularly.

Moonrise Kingdom

Downtown Beijing After Rain

Road Trip New Zealand!

Inception Reflection New York

The Rock Moved So Slowly That I Did Not Notice

walking alone and being somewhat lost on which way

The Secret Workshop Of Jules Verne

Reflections on the Eiffel Tower Isn't it romantic?  What could be more perfect than a beautiful sunset here in Paris?There was a big storm all day long, but I could see the clouds were beginning to break up a little to the west, and I knew there was a possibility the sun would dip into an opening beneath the heavy clouds.  So, with that intense possibility, I headed over to the Eiffel Tower area hoping the light would turn out right...I also made a behind-the-scenes video.  Since you guys have been so nice over on Google+, I'll share that video exclusively there first, so be sure to stay tuned... I'm still editing the thing together!- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Aurora Australis Galactica

An Abandoned Game Trail in China

There Evolved a Technopolis

Lijiang at Night

The Secret Crystal LakeThis remote lake was so icy cold.  You would think it's about 33 degrees or something, right?  It felt like absolute zero.  I dropped a little piece of my tripod in here and my hand almost froze off trying to retrieve it.In the distance you can see where the glacier comes into contact with the glassy lake; it gives a sense of the epic scale here.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Hong Kong from the Peak on a Summer's Night If you want to see how I made this (and how you can too!), visit my HDR Tutorial. I hope it gives you some new tricks!I had a long day waking up at 5 AM to take a series of subways and trains up to Shenzen for some meetings. I had a Chinese VISA, which you don't need to get into Hong Kong, but I had to use to cross the official Chinese border after getting off the train. I didn't realize that it was a one-time use VISA, and I had to go to Shanghai the next day. This caused a lot of problems with the Chinese officials, a body of government with which I do not enjoy causing problems.Anyway, after I got back to Hong Kong after a day in Shenzen, I was hot and sweaty and in the sort of meeting clothes that aren't great for being hot and sweaty in. But, everything about Hong Kong was still awesome and I had too look hard for things to complain about. The sun was setting, and I made it up to The Peak just in time for a shot.This was a 5-exposure HDR shot at 100 ISO, and, of course, a sturdy tripod to get all the lights as steady as possible.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

My Last Night In Venice

The Ritz-Carlton, Phulay Bay, Thailand

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Treetop Temple Protects Kyoto

Approaching Mount Fuji from the Old Village What a perfect place this is!I’ve been to Japan many times, but I never had the chance to visit Mt. Fuji! This time, Tom and I made a point to do it, and this was one of our fist stops. You can see much more about it in the video above!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Bryce Canyon National Park

A Neo-Rockwellian Christmas When dad is a photographer, then there is a major degree of pressure to deliver photos on all the requisite holidays and celebrations! So, I decided to try to re-invent the family Christmas photo with HDR. Please note that many of my inventions go down in flames, but, as Winston Churchill said, “success is the ability to go from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm”.Christmas scenes have a lot of light levels. The lights on the tree, the deep greens withn the branches, a roaring fire, lights in the room, reflections off the ornaments, and the like. It’s wild! I’m pretty sure this is why people like Christmas scenes so much - a wonderful treat for the eyes that is rich in texture and rich in light. Traditionally, it’s been very difficult to capture so much richness in a single photo, saving a lucky and heroic combination of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and lenses.The tree lights made the faces of my three stunt-children (who are also my real children) glow perfectly. No flash could have achieved this, unless you are the kind of Rambo-flash guy that would go bury one inside the tree to hit their faces from the left. But, let’s face it. That’s hard.This was a 5-exposure HDR. You will notice that I often use 5 exposures, but note I could have done it with 3 exposures at -2, 0, and +2. Some silly Nikon cameras, like the D3X I use, will not let you step by twos, so I had to take 5 at -2, -1, 0, +1, and +2. The middle exposure, from which the kid’s faces were masked in and perfectly lit, was shot at f/4 aperture, shutter speed of 1/250, 100 ISO, and at 28mm.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Reflecting on the Taj Mahal

Coming Home

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  • Hey Trey, love the new stuff to the site. Just saw a typo for ya. Under your suggestion for the D3x, “his is my camera…”

    Keep up the awesome work! I check your site every day and I’m constantly motivated to push myself. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Just wanted to let you know that your work is an absolute inspiration. I am the creative director for a church in Savannah, GA named Tapestry and I always refer to your work for ideas and generally just to get me in the right headspace for design stuff. I very unfortunately broke my D50 and am in the market for a new camera so hope to pick up at least a D40 soon. If you ever need a tour guide in Savannah (the home of SCAD) feel free to look me up.

    God Bless,
    Brad Binion

  • Haha – hey thanks!

    And Matthew I will fix up that typo!

  • john

    Amazing to me those images are just out there waiting for someone…to snap. I loved your Christmas and new years eve photos. updated site is great. To the artist, the brush and paint are tools, don’t feel bad about the cost of the tools, feel good about the art you produce. Everything looks great on my new imac!!!! equipment IS important. going to overcome my fear of photoshop now, seems so complicated to a newby. Always used the purist excuse to not learn it, but your pics showed me the light. It’s all part of the creative process.
    Thanks for all the great photographs, John

  • Hi, Amazing stuff. kindly let me know how can i use this technology for shooting weddings.kindly see my web gallery and plz let me know ur reviews.
    Raja jain

  • Raja, sure you can. It can make the wedding pages more dramatic, but just be sure to mask in the people’s real skin because the HDR process will make them look dirty.

  • Equipment is great, but you have to know how to use it and know what you are doing. I mean I could certainly get better photos with a nice DSLR, but YOU could get amazing photos with my Sony DSC-H50. I’m still learning and trying to remember what an f-stop is. 😉 Then I can justify the DSLR. (Hard to tell my wife I want to spend that money on a camera when we have other things that need the money, like kids, pets, needing to eat, etc. haha

    I’ve tried HDR a little, but haven’t had much luck with just Photoshop. I have also done some fun fake HDR’s with loading the jpg into camera raw. It is fun and cool, takes a photo from just a photo to a photo with emotion.

    LOVE your photos! They are really fantastic! Thanks for your tutorials and the photos – and for putting the really big size on Flickr! They make great wallpapers for my computers. 🙂

  • Do you use a strap or bag to haul your tripod when you’re out wandering? I’d be interested to hear your gear setup when you’re exploring cities and jungles, complete w/ bags and such.

  • Jacques (Fotofreq on flickr)

    Hey there, Trey! Like Chip, I’d love to hear more about how you actually travel with your gear, and what you generally pack in your camera bag and how/what you carry around on-site once you hit the photo destination. I seem to recall seeing a picture on some website from an interview I think you did where you had a picture of the Kata backpack you carried (still using the same one?) and wondered if you actually carried the 70-200 in there routinely, or if you preferred to leave it at home because of the weight. Reason I ask is that I find myself traveling a fair bit as well and, almost always, find myself leaving that lens at home because of the extra weight. Instead, I end up carrying (these days) the Nikkor 14-24 2.8 (love this lens), the Nikkor 24-70 2.8 and a Tamron 90mm just in case I want to shoot close-up or want a bit more reach than the 24-70 gives me, though not by much. That said, I sometimes find myself taking the 70-200 in my Kata backpack (the sweet R-103 GDC) and then, if I do not anticipate needing it for the day, leaving it in my hotel room (like I did on a recent trip to Germany). Tripod wise, I have been traveling with a Gitzo Traveler (love it, ’cause it’s rock solid, small and super light weight) and using a RRS BH 40 ballhead (super sweet gear). Tripod mounts very nicely on the R-103 (just gotta watch myself when turning around in tight spaces with it on my back, lest I whack some unsuspecting potential photo subject in the forehead).

    Another thing, my friend. I think a sweet, comfy workspace is super inportant, and I wondered if you would mind posting a shot of your current set up. Again, I recall seeing a long time ago a shot of what I think was yours on that same interview I mentioned above. It was a white wooden desk, white wooden chair, a mac, etc. I could never find that link again, but recalled I really liked the desk setup because it had plenty of room for the computer, a printer, a wacom tablet, etc. and was still uncluttered. I think it was L-shaped. I have been scouring the net for good workstations because I plan to have one custom made here in Indonesia before I leave so I can take it with me.

    Love all the changes to your website and all the great tutorials, tips and inspiration you put out!

    Warmest Regards from Java;

  • Jeffery

    My wife is a floral designer of 20 years and I’m a newbie at photography. I am very interested in photographing her work and presenting it creatively. Thanks for your advice on software, equipment, and tutorials.
    I have but one question. Which lense is best suited for this situation to use with a Nikon D90 body.


  • PJ

    Can you talk about which filters you reccommend or use?


  • Jacques and Chip – I will have to write a bit about how I travel with stuff and what I do on location – good idea!

    Jeffrey – I can’t give you specific advice… It’s always fun to go to your local camera store and try out different lenses…

    PJ – I just use a basic UV filter. Nothing special…

  • Hey there, Trey. Came across your site few weeks back and was an instant fan. Taking photos is one thing I like to do and one that I’d like to pursue at least as a committed hobby, if not professionally.

    Saw some of the equipments you use and while I can’t afford any of them as of yet, and since I’m not doing it professionally, I bought myself a very beginner’s digital camera, if you must, which isn’t the SLR type (Nikon S16). But I thought it be a good place to start with, getting basic practices on picture compositions and what-nots.

    Just to let you know that your work have become an inspiration…=D

  • oh..and I’ve linked you in my blog, if that’s ok with you..my friends have got to see what an inspiration your work is..thanks..

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  • The name of Nikons lenses is not nikon as you write in your posts, but it is “Nikkor”, maybe you should correct this so that it will be more easy to find them?

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  • Colin

    Hey Trey, thanks again for giving your presentation the other night and looking over my flickr for me. I see you have the D3X listed as your primary camera but I’ve noticed that you seem to still use a D2x quite a bit(thanks for not hiding your camera info). I’ve been contemplating upgrading my camera and I’d like to get a full frame sensor, too much noise on my small olympus sensor. I’d been thinking about the canon 5d until I saw a used d2x body for $1100. Seemed like the best bang for the buck. Any thoughts or suggestions?

  • Thanks!

    Well, I sold my D2X, but I have a lot of back-catalog stuff that I never processed…

    I don’t know much about the Canon products — sorry about that! 🙁

  • Neuffy

    Colin: D2X isn’t full-frame. For Nikon, only the D700/D3/D3X are.

  • Facebook User

    As a PC guy who has often contemplated the move to Mac, I’d love to know more about your recommendations of an appropriate Mac setup for Photoshop work. Appreciate it!

  • Ivan

    Not bad, not bad.. definitely))

  • I have just a simple point and shoot digital and am beginning the process of researching for a ‘good’ camera …. I see you go with Nikon. My father has a portrait and wide lens (no idea the technical names) from the 70s … i’m wondering if those lenses will fit on the new nikon digital cameras?

    Also, I’m wondering why you prefer Nikon over Canon …

    I know you’re busy but even a totally brief answer to these questions would be so helpful as I begin my journey into better photography. =)

  • Thanks — I just got started with Nikon and have collected many lenses for it.. now that I am Nikon, I will likely stay Nikon! 🙂 It’s sort of a momentum thing because of the lenses.

  • David Blades

    Hello Trey, thanks for such good information. Like some of the other readers have mentioned I too would be very interested in how you travel with your gear…. bags / rucksacks etc

    From my experience very few bags house a large pro camera like the D3X properly sould very keen to hear what you use???

    Scotland UK

  • That is a good idea….I should post about my bags and stuff… in short, I take a BIG BAG with me on the trip and leave it in the room… then I take a SMALL BAG out shooting with me.

  • Kudos

    What, no mention of filters? I’m curious as to what filters you prefer, the brands, and why you chose those particular models.

  • ososumi

    Great site. Lovely images.

    On your list there is no remote camera shutter release. So you do the timer?


  • Trey I’d almost wanna say that a D90 is entry, and a D300 is mid. Almost for the bracketing features alone. IMO…..guess that’s what it always comes down too. Although if anyone is considering a D300 best to just wait till the upgrade hits. Shouldn’t be too much longer. At this point a D90 is practically a D300 with out the tougher casing and such. Noise levels and sensor is the same size so yea. Maybe my rambling just ran me in a circle lol.

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  • I agree with your reviews, and Once I can justify/afford the cost, I will be moving from the D40 to the D700.

    Just in case anyone cares, you CAN do HDR with the D40, I do, you just have to be SUPER careful not to move the camera when you change shutter speed….and do it fast. Clouds move faster than you think!

    Thanks for the great work and great tutorials Trey!

  • mike

    question: got a D60 i know it doesn’t have autobraketing…
    but u think it’s possible to make an HDR as well by using a tripod and changing the shutter speed manually for each picture???

  • Thanks all.

    Mike – Yes you can do that if you wish… you saw my HDR Tutorial? You can also make an HDR out of a single RAW too

  • Yes I saw your HDR tutorial, it was great, and even though I feel my photos are improving, it is always a great reference to have, so thanks again for writing it! Signed up for the newsletter too :O)

  • George

    Hi Trey!
    I aspire to shoot as well as you. Quick question;
    Some of your photos you have people walking… how did you HDR them with out moving the camera but still keeping the people in focus.
    ie the last picture above…
    Thanks so much.

  • George – yes that mentioned in the HDR tutorial – you can see it there on the right. There is a later step that involves masking.

  • bhagwati

    Hey Trey, i am really in love with your photography.
    I just want some guidence from you. i want to learn photography. what is the best thing to start with? Which are the things that should be kept in mind before getting into photography?

  • Thanks Bhagwati – I appreciate it. I have another article you might enjoy over there on the right – 10 principles of beautiful photography

  • Trey, I love your pictures and your articles. The articles, because they make me a better photographer, and the pictures, cause they make me jealous and try to do better! Anyway, I spent all weekend climbing over rocks and such, and quickly realized a traditional camera bag is impractical for such activities. What kind of bag do you use to carry your camera/lenses/tripod around? I’m sure we’d all love to know!

    Thanks a ton!

  • I have a lot of bags… I will review some in the future I think! But, my best advice is just to go to your local camera store and try a lot on!

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  • Martin

    Love your work!

    I am TOTALLY new to DSLR and trying to make my 1st purchase. I’ve been reading about the D90 and D5000. Help me understand the difference between the two, since I will be keeping the camera forever (even if I change bodies later on down the line). The girl at the local camera shop said they are “basicly” the same, but one is newer and the other costs more. ???-kinda confusing. THANKS

    oh, your page is at the top of my Favorites setting!

  • Hehe thanks

    Well – sorry I can’t help with that. I have not used both cameras enough to give a solid recommendation one way or the other, I’m afraid.

  • Martin

    …also, any thoughts on used and/or factory demo items from Nikon or just stick to new?

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  • Sara

    Uggh. Martin, I’m with you. I was all set to get the D90, now this D5000 is popping up here and there. Trey, I noticed you changed your recommendation from the D90 to the D5000….any insight as to why? Anyone else have any input? Thanks so much!!

  • Quiel

    Im hovering with Martin and Sara between the D90 an D5000. Read somewhere that the main diff. lies in the focusmotor but cant find the article again. Anybody knows about this?

    Fantastic work and site u have Trey…my mom wants a DSLR, consider that an achievement:-)

  • ariefous

    Hello, your HDR works are so inspirational!!!
    I have one question. In your HDR images which contain moving subject like people and animals, are you done it with done single RAW shot? If taken in Auto Exposure Bracketing mode, for example if I take 3 different exposures for people walking in city, I will definitely end up with “ghost” problem. Yes, the cleaning can be done in Photoshop, and I did but it always look unreal. But yours, just perfectly align and seamless photo realistic! Please, any advice? Thanks in advance!

  • Thanks!

    Ariefocus – yes there are a few things you can do… I have them outlined in the upcoming book — had not put them here in the website yet. But I know EXACTLY what you mean!

  • Hi there Trey, just recently started to take HDR shots and your site has been super useful – thanks for all of the great tips and pics.

    I have one quick question. When watching your Walk Around with Trey video it looked like you cable release clicks/fits onto your flash mount. Can I ask what type of cable release you use that has this ability as its a useful way to transport it around the place.

    Thanks again!

  • Jared

    Trey – great site, great work.
    Question – what type of bags/cases do you use for travel? I assume you check your equipment for flights? What about when you are out shooting abroad? Any recommendations would be awesome.
    Thank you.

  • Kim Eakin

    I have been researching HDR photography for a while now and, without a doubt, your images are head and shoulders above any others that I have seen. They are truly in a class by themselves. I will strive and hope to one day achieve your level of excellence.
    Kim Eakin

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  • Chad


    How does the Nikon D3000 stack up against your entry level choice, the D40? Love your work, thanks.


  • Trey, I worked in commercial photography for 7 years awhile back and used lots of different tripods while assisting other photographers. Some were slightly better than others (at least in that league of equipment) and I remember using a Gitzo perhaps once and how smooth the leg slid and clamps worked. The real test of a tripod in the end was how well it did its job given the conditions in which it was used.

    I agree that entry-level tripod you had was something you needed to trade up from but to pay over $700 for just the legs is way too much for the masses out there while having our fun with HDR. I would suggest you throw in there something mid-level so the step up is not so obscene! Around the $300 price point perhaps? People could well put the remainder in better lenses or a body upgrade (not the surgical kind, at least for that price!).

    I have seen many, many people who were photo equipment ‘investors’ thinking that better and more expensive equipment will make them better photographers. (Don’t fear, I’m not counting you as one as you’ll see). These people swallow camera advertising hook, line and sinker. Only the newest and most expensive equipment will do and you can spot them in the office by how much more time they spend talking with each other about their equipment and all the functions included (they’ll never use) than the time they take shooting photos with it. (I mean, you use it a LOT!)

    I always felt that everyone should view photographic prints, in person, produced by the greats such as Avedon, Adams and so many others who did so over 50 years ago. When you see the quality and beautiful imagery of those prints and contemplate the technology they used to achieve it, you realize that our magical mega-pixel digital machines are so far beyond what they could have imagined. Its all the proof you need to bust the myth that better equipment makes you a better photographer.

    Practice, practice, practice is the only road to improvement for my money.

  • Thanks!

    Chat – I am not sure mate… I’m not fully versed on that camera.

    Michael – great points! You made them well.

  • Thank you for the inspiration… GREAT JOB!!!

  • Tom

    LOVE your photos! They are really fantastic! Thanks for your tutorials and the photos – and for putting the really big size on Flickr! They make great wallpapers for my computers 🙂

  • How AWSOME are you pics??? I mean… they are REALLY cool 🙂

    Have been reading your tutorial all afternoon… whilst i should have been working really… but thats no problem!

    Am gonna head home and get my camera straight out and try to master this awsome trick…

    Thank you sooooo much.

    Safe travels!


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  • I like your choices for lenses. Must say that I have found the 105mm perfect for the macro and close-up work that I like to do. The D700 has proven to be an extraordinary camera for me; I still like my D300 for a backup. With the D700, my only reason for flash is fill-flash.

  • I found your blog about a week or so before Christmas and it helped me pick software and a camera. I was on a budget so I got the new Canon Powershot G11, rather than the Nikon D40, because it has autobracketing and shoots RAW and jpegs. I also picked up Photomatix Pro and am using it along with Photoshop CS4 and the still-image version of Magic Bullet Looks 1.2 (video color grading software). I’m really happy with my choices and am enjoying getting back into still photography again. The G11 makes it so easy to fire off 3 bracketed shots, and I can’t wait to get home and “cook up” an HDR! I’m going to check out your book also. I’d love to have a hard copy of those amazing images!

  • Amazing photography! Envy you. 🙂

  • This blog I find really interesting and will let others know about this

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  • An interesting addition to this would be a brief couple of paragraphs saying what you carry in different scenarios. When you did your Yellowstone shots and accompanying video, what was in your bag? When you go on a business trip and bring along your camera, what is in your bag. This is a tough thing for me. I am carrying my laptop and related things for work, but want to carry my camera as well. Just picked up the 14-24 yesterday and along with the D700, thats a lot of weight. Add a laptop and more and we are hitting back-breaking levels. Seeing what you are able to carry for different types of trips would be very interesting.

  • Hi Trey,
    Have you ever done any lightening strike shots? If you have, have you ever heard of or used a lightening trigger? What is your opinion? Are they worth the $300?

    Thanks for being a great source of inspiration for us all..


  • Leifiur

    Love the photos from Iceland, being Icelandic and used to the scenery, this really puts a new twist on it. Great work!


  • Jeff

    I’m just getting into photography and wanted to know in what order I should purchase to the software? I just bought a macbook pro and a dslr camera. What programs are a must have and which ones can I purchase down the road? Love your work!

  • Ciubotaru Catalin


    I was wondering what do you guys think about Olympus E-420?I have recently got a credit and I am in doubt whether to buy a Nikon D3000 or an Olympus e-420 with 2 sets of lenses or the third option would be a sony alpha 200.They all cost the same so what do you think?

    Thank you

  • Thanks everyone.

    I’ve recently updated this page with new info, and it should be better organized!

    Jeff – It’s best to see my hdr tutorial for software suggestions at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial

    Ciub – sorry I don;t know much about the olympus or sony cameras!

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  • Matt

    I still think that the d300s deserves a spot here.

  • Hi Trey,

    THanks for updating the recommendations page. I’m constantly agonising about which body and lens to get. I’m also interested in the 18-200mm lens. look forward to your review!

  • Ashley

    Those pictures are amazing! Thanks for the useful tips too. I have recently purchased the D90 and hope to click some good pictures soon.http://www.abt.com/product/37141/Nikon-D90OUTFIT.html

  • yep, new Nikon D90 user here to ! thanks for sharing your Nikon and HDR experiences !

  • Feels good to see you’ve got the Norwegian flag on your arm 🙂

  • Great article and beautiful work! For some reason, at least ever since you moved servers, all the links that follow the form http://www.stuckincustoms.com/links/… seem to go nowhere though. =[

  • Thanks! Yes we are getting that fixed right up ! 🙂

  • Andrey

    Hey, just wanted to let you know that the link to Green Cube does not work 🙂

  • Yes yes – having many link problems since the move – working on that now 🙂

  • By the way, I have found another entry-level camera that is more compact, in case that “Good” option above is too expensive – the p6000 – http://www.stuckincustoms.com/links/Nikon-P6000-Amazon

    I can’t totally recommend it though, because it does not have the flexibility in terms of lenses that the D90 does, which is not THAT much more expensive…

  • Trey,
    A camera that does not come to mind for HDR but works awfully well is the new Leica M9. Dear yes, but the bracketing function combined with the mostly manual operation makes it ideal for out of hand HDR shooting at high speeds, and excellent from a tripod. Combined with the – yes also very dear – Tr-Elmar 16-18-21 mm or any 35mm it makes a super and easy to handle HDR package. Here is a picture I made during David Duchemin’s first “Italy Within the Frame” : http://sanderva.zenfolio.com/p1061140759/h3c0bdb11#h3c0bdb11
    Photamatix used of course.

  • fotofah

    You might consider the Canon S90, which has the same (larger) sensor and many of the same features of the G11, but is way more pocketable (plus lower priced). It has auto-bracketing, full manual, and lots more.

  • Phil

    Hi Trey,

    Just wanna say thanks for bringing photography back to me. I started to get into photography a few years ago but got discouraged cause the photos i took never came out how i saw them. I read your tutorial and picked up my camera right away, went outside and shot some pics. I was really happy with how the photos turned out. Everywhere i go, my camera comes with me!

    One thing i don’t like is the bracketing on a D80. You have to hold the shutter button to take all three pictures. you can’t set the camera to take all three on a single push, hopefully i am wrong and correct me if I am.

    Thanks a million though


  • Thank you for sharing your information and techniques. Fascinating.
    It has made me think of new possibilites. You work is fantastic. I would like to say though, that I do not think all photos should be HDR. In some cases it makes the photo homogenous with the whole frame being so vivid. In some cases, I belive it is too unrealistic to have the whole scene at its “best” lighting or settings. Sometimes the magic of natural reality lighting is enough. I am so drawn to your Chrismas image…….It hits and emotional chord.
    Thank you again for your work.
    Sandra Cannon

  • Thank you for sharing your information and techniques. Fascinating.
    It has made me think of new possibilites. You work is fantastic. I would like to say though, that I do not think all photos should be HDR. In some cases it makes the photo homogenous with the whole frame being so vivid. In some cases, I belive it is too unrealistic to have the whole scene at its “best” lighting or settings. Sometimes the magic of natural reality lighting is enough. I am so drawn to your Chrismas image…….It hits and emotional chord.
    Thank you again for your work.
    Sandra Cannon

  • Chance

    The 8th photo while scrolling down India/Temple/people walking…how can you do that in HDR with the movement of the people?

  • Chance

    …also just wanted to say thanks for all the great info you provide on your site. i am new to photography and really appreciate the help. i just picked up your book, and look forward to going through it. i was really disappointed to miss your photowalk with the “Windy Pixel” guys when you were here in Chicago. any plans of coming back this way? Thank you.

  • Chance – Sure thing mate! 🙂 For the people-movement problem, see my HDR TUtorial at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial

  • Dennis

    Would you consider the Canon S90 as a cheaper, lighter, smaller alternative for “Entry Level HDR” to the Canon G11? I’ve read they have the same sensor, have much of the same capability (esp. manual settings, auto-bracketing). I have the custom grip for mine, plus the RRS (tiny!) quick-release to fit my RRS quick-release base for my tripod. I use it only for RAW, together with the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport (which is hardly larger or heavier than the S90!)

    One small typo in the “G11” section above: will > well. 😉

    Thanks for the great content and tips on your site! 🙂

    Given that I have Photoshop CS5 now (with its much improved HDR, esp. with ghosting help) as well as Photomatix, would you say there’s any compelling reason for me to still use Photomatix?

  • Thanks for the correction – I will fix that.

    Photomatix is still better – especially 4.0 – I am working on a comparison now ! 🙂

  • Jon

    Trey, Any reason you can’t recommend the Nikon d300s? It seems to be a sweet spot price-wise. I’ve been auto-bracketing with my G9, so nice to see its offspring on your recommendation list.

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  • Gretchen

    What is your opinion of the Nikon D300s? I currently own a D200 and want to move on. Still trying to decide if a D300s is for me. Also, love the website and your images are fan-tas-tic!

  • George

    I think your pictures are AWESOME and I’ve also started experimenting with this technique.
    I have a question and it would be really great if you could answer it.
    I was wondering how did you manage to create an HDR picture of the icelandic horse ? Didn’t the horse move between the shots ? The same goes for the people at the Taj.
    Sorry if this question might sound stupid for some reason, but I’m really a beginner and a little help would be appreciated.
    Thank you in advance !!!

  • Angi English

    Another aspect of doing some HDR on the move….I typically use my Canon 5D Mark II for HDR, but when I am on a bike touring trip, I use the Canon G11 to cut down on the weight on my bike. I use the 11 ounce camera with a flexible Gorilla tripod. This sure beats the 25 to 30 extra pounds of camera and tripod which is not only heavy but really awkward to carry on a bike unless you have panniers. Less weight, better biking. I’m taking it in August on a Bicycling Adventures trip to the San Juan Islands for six days of island hopping on my bike. Thanks for all the great tips and information. Angi

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  • I use a Nikon d300 for shooting my hdr shots, I would highly recommend that it makes the list as well!

  • I appreciate what folks are doing with HDR and I am experimenting with it myself but I believe there is currently a tendency to over do it. If your intent is to create a SyFy colored world of the imagined based on images you take then I guess then you’re painting with light more than representing something closer to the true image, space and time. I see colors that really do not exist – a lot of day glo kinds of colors – shades I just don’t see in real life. Am I wrong?

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  • Hi Trey,

    I love your work, and HDR in general. I actually have a Canon PowerShot A560 – an entry-level point-and-shoot, without even a real manual mode – and have taken dozens of decent HDRs with it. It even has auto-bracketing! The key is CHDK, a non-destructive firmware enhancement for Canon cameras. CHDK loads into RAM from the SD card when you turn on your camera, and boom! gives you superpowers.

    I just wanted to explain how it *is* possible to make HDRs with even a basic camera. Sure, the sensor and optics certainly don’t compare to a D3X – or a D90 – but it’s hardly impossible.


  • Any Canon DSLRs that you can recommend for HDR? 🙂

  • Lynton


    this D700 link to AMAZOn is broken


    [no need to print my name or comments pls]

  • Alan

    How about the new Nikon D3100? Good enough for HDR?

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  • Hello Trey !
    Thank you !
    Thank you for your creativity, thank you for your sharing, thank also for your culture !
    I personnaly very much appreciate your constant linking to paintings, science data and your friendly pedagogy.
    I appreciate, maybe because I am a French person, your references to Impressionists painters, le salon des refusés etc.
    There is maybe one thing I would like to know your feeling about : you wrote that portraits are not quite suitable for HDR treatment…
    Do you actually still think this cannot apply to portraits ? I would love seeing your work with portraits. I am quite sure your technique skills would work admirably in this particular area.

    Last but not least, I would like to express to you my profound admiration.

    Very sincerely,

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  • Daryl

    Hey Trey,

    Thanks for the recommendations. My D200 went kaput and I’m thinking about getting a d300 however the d7000 just came out and although there’s a lot bugs with this release I’m thinking about it. For $500 savings it seems like I’m not going to miss any features on the d300 – You have any thoughts on this?



  • Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos – precious sightings for those who cannot travel around the world. 🙂

  • roy

    Excellent website and tutorials. I’ve had a nikon d80 that i bought over a year ago so i could just get into this hdr photography as it definitely is something that i would love to do and havent had a chance. But now after looking at your side its re-inspired me to give it another shot(no pun intended).
    How do you think the D80 compares to the ones listed in your camera section?I have a couple of nikor lenses 200mm and 55mm.

  • foosion

    @Alan – the D3100 does not do auto-bracketing, so it’s a bit harder to use for HDR than a camera with this function. You can still manually take pictures with different exposures, but it won’t be as easy. Image quality is great.

  • foosion

    @jehzlau – all of the current Canon DSLRs are fine for HDR. They do RAW and auto-bracketing and have fine image quality.

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  • For Entry Level I can recommend the Sony Cybershot DSC-H10 (or, I suppose, its successors – I’ve had it a few years now) – very inexpensive, very solid for its level, and it can do bracketed JPEGs. I also love the rechargeable battery which is sadly more the exception than the norm in this class.

  • I purchased this tripod as a backpackable tripod, because I couldn’t afford a carbon-fiber model. That said, this tripod is great, considering the relatively low price. My setup can be rather heavy, with a Nikon D200 + 80-200 f/2.8 lens, but so far the tripod in conjunction with the midi-ball head, has been very sturdy.The great things about this tripod are the thumb clasps on the telescoping legs (rather than wingnuts), the leg warmers (great at 5am when it’s 30 degrees), and the well built and adjustable pivot points on the legs. I find the ability to have legs go totally horizontal is highly useful.

  • Dave Butler

    I purchased a Canon G11 before I discovered HDR and so far, it is serving my needs.

    This is one recent example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5361318910/

    and, this is another one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5229777482/

    I get a lot of use of the articulated screen, which is a much better implementation than Nikon’s movable screen.

    My upgrade camera will probably be the Canon EOS 60D because of the bigger sensor and it uses a similar articulated screen as the G11

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  • Mike In NJ

    Might want to check out the Sony Alpha a33 and a55. These are small, DSLR cameras that Sony calls SLT since the mirror doesn’t move out of the light path. I have one and not only can they do bracketing but they will do respectable HDR images to jpg in camera.

  • I would also add the Panasonic LX3 or LX5 to the entry-level camera section. They have super fast, very sharp Leica lenses that are optically stabilized. They shoot RAW files and have an excellent autobracket function that goes out to +/- 3-stops. I mount mine to a Gigapan and shoot HDR panoramics that are in excess of 300 mega-pixels.

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  • Hey Trey/stuckincustoms followers,

    Just wondering if anyone could help me decide between purchasing the Nikon 14-24 f2.4 lens that retails for 1,784 or some other lens that is similar. I have rented the 14-24 and really like the photos I have taken with it but given my salary $1,784 would make the next month or so a bit tight.

    14mmview.tumblr.com is my site if you want to get the feel of my shooting style and subject matter, I just started posting there but I’ve gotten some of my personal favorites up.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

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  • Laura Caudill

    I love your site and all the information you so willingly share to help us get started in photography. I am currently on my way to getting the Nikon D7000, Lord willing. And as I am reading your recommended lenses I was wondering if a 50mm is still a good choice for this camera with a 1.6 crop factor? Or would a 35mm be better? Waiting for your reply. Thank you for this site.

  • You are so ridiculously good, I’m amazed by every photo on this page.

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  • Bruce

    Two website comments:

    Not having a widescreen monitor, it’s annoying to have scroll over to see the rest of the screen.

    I like it when a link opens a new page or tab, because then it is easier to get back to what you were looking at in the first place.

    Nice site, otherwise.

    I’m using Google’s Chrome browser.

  • good publish, i clearly adore this site, keep on it.

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  • Tenzin

    Now that Canon has released G12, would you still recommend G11 over G12?


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  • Max

    Hey! Love your site and tutorials.

    I’m considering getting a new camera. I currently have a d3000, and would like to stick with Nikon. I looked at the d7000, but that is a bit too much for me – What do you think about the d5100? It seems to be fairly similar.


  • thao

    Hi i am thinking of getting a Nikon d7000 instead of the d700, it also comes with a 18-200 lens. My goal is to take clear crisp photos along with hdr and mostly landscape. Will this camera len do the job for now since it is all i can afford?

  • Wolfgang

    Hi, I was looking at the specs for the Nikon D7000 and it can only do 3 bracketed shots instead of 5 or 7 like the D300. Have you found that to be a real disavantage with HDR or is there a real workaround? Thanks

  • Max

    Alright, I went out and bought the D7000: it is magical.

    @thao – I would say it is plenty: I’ve compared the d7000 and d700, and the d700 is only superior in a couple of ways, mainly ISO.

    @Wolfgang: I did notice that, but I’ve found that 3 shots is usually plenty. Just make sure to shoot in RAW mode, and you can then change the exposure a bit better. a few of my HDRs are from one RAW file. You could take the three that it could take, make copies of the outer two, and change the exposures of those.

  • very appreciate for Prambanan Temple on your Header:)
    yes i want buy nikon D7000, but before that done i’ll pick D70 first coz the price more friendly for me, is that camera good enough to make HDR photography?
    thank you!

  • Nicole

    I love your pictures, I am a Canon girl and have a rebel Im getting ready to perchace my next camera to make my buisness grow, What do you reccomend..I wanted the 7d ??? Any thoughts

  • Wow great introductory post to the HDR world! Does one of the example pictures come from Glacier Grey in Patagona, Chile?

  • Ant Williams

    Just started dambling with HDR, and someone pointed me to our site. Fabulous work, (& I’m enjoying mine too!)
    Question – in those images where people (etc.) are moving about, how have you dealt with this in the multiple image capture required for HDR?

  • Your photo’s are so beautiful!  I am very interested in finding an DSLR for myself and want to start doing photography, and your blog is very informative and helpful.  

  • Sorry to say but this is not HDR… this is intensive software image manipulation. Lots of effects used.

  • hope you got your 7D it is great and i recomend add a little more and get 5Dmk2 as 7D price is high and still not full frame. 5Dmk2 much better as think to use the L glass. U will be more satisfied. A little saving will help you and it is worth buying the 5Dmk2. Good luck and i am canon user from the time i was 13 and it is almost 20 years i use canon. i have a 50D and used much more in the past and my next will be the the 5Dmk3 or the update of 5dmk2.

  • Facebook User

    more amazing awesomeness. I can’t wait to get started!

  • Alexander Crawford

    I love my recently acquired a 7D and am not sure I agree with Ashish.  If your set of lenses works for you with your rebel, then a move to a full frame camera (such as the 5dmk2) would mean that the lenses will all be 1.6x reduced in effective focal length (and any EF-S lenses you have won’t work at all).  Also the focusing and drive speed are better on the 7D.  The drive speed is useful for HDR as there is less room for movement between the shots.
    The main advantage of the full sensor on the 5Dmk2 is the low light performance, but I think you’ll find the move from the Rebel to the 7D in that regard will be amazing anyway.

  • And thanks to your comment here, I saw your paintings and they’re good, but sub par…sorry to say that.

  • pixionus nailo

    Then zoom out a bit (ctrl + scroll down), and hold ctrl when clicking on links.  This is standard net practice.  (I’m not using widescreen, but it fits fine.  I zoom into and out of images or I believe there is an extension for firefox that can autosize images for you.  These tools are there for those of us that prefer browsing our own way.)

  • Anonymous

    Damn! For a $7,000 camera I *hope* that’s real HDR… 😀

  • wbj

    I’d like to see how you use the intervalometer to automatically shoot the multiple images.  I have one on my backup (D7000) but I’ve been using the self-timer in conjunction with the bracketing setting instead.

  • wbj

    George – I don’t know for sure but I think the horse is one image that has been tone-mapped in Photomatix.  Thta said, here is how you can shoot HDR without a tripod and without worrying if your subject moves a little.  Set your aperture to as wide as possible but still giving you the depth of field you need.  This will increase your shutter speed.  If the shutter speed is below 125 change your ISO to a higher setting.  What you want is for the three images to be shot with a shutter speed faster than 125.  Now set your camera’s shutter to high speed continuous.  On a Nikon it’s the Ch setting.  Take you picture by holding the shutter button down while the camera shoots a three exposure burst in less than a second.

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  • Frank Cava

    I’m interested in your view of the tablet you’re using.  What’s great and not so great about it?  Tablet vs mouse for PS work.

  • Anonymous

    THanks for updating the recommendations page I could certainly get better photos with a nice DSLR, but YOU could get amazing photos with my Sony DSC-H50.

    digital camera deals

  • Anonymous

    any thoughts or experience with the Sony a77??? as an entry level DSLR

  • I’m nobody, but I wanted to buy that camera last November, but the reviews available at that time were few and far between.  From my limited experience with it, it’s a nice camera. The interface in camera is uber cool but the controls are a little confusing. The deal breaker for me is the noisy performance at higher iso’s.  3200 is not usable in my opinion. 

  • Gorgeous photos!!!

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  • Hi Trey, thanks for the fantastic HDR advice, I love your images. I currently have a Canon 5d Mark ii and was going to get the mark iii but reading your reviews I am tempted by the Sony NEX 7, do you know how they compare?

  • Palashranjan Bhaumick

    Fantastic images!!!!!!

  • dwmfrancis

    It’s been over a year since this site had an update and I wanted to put in a good word for the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ60. The price is very reasonable (~$275) and the features and performance are very good. The iHDR mode works well for beginners and you have manual control over the aperture, speed and bracketing – and most everything else you’d want to twiddle with. The image stabilization and lens are also very good. You’ll be surprised how good this camera is in low light conditions you’d have thought a tripod was mandatory for. 16 Megapixels is stunning for large format prints.

  • Raymond McGuire

    What do you think about the Canon 60D? Is that a good camera for HDR?

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  • I reckon this would probably be a case for a single RAW image.

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  • John

    I am a novice. Just need a great camera with the HDR, similar to what you’ve recommended. However, two of my friends have $700-900 Sony cameras that have editing/cropping in the camera, so that you can make the picture fit better and or crop it or zoom it as necessary.
    Do have a recommendation for a mainly auto camera that does this?

  • jhardin

    many of the above images lack dynamic range, now that said. after purchasing a nikon d800, i have found no need to even shoot high dynamic range. the sensor on this puppy can capture up to 14 stops with proper exposure….consider this when you score your next camera.

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  • JRomeo

    Forgive my newbie question…. but what does it mean when a camera sensor can capture “up to 14 stops” versus another camera which can capture up to 6 stops? i’m not sure i know what a “stop” is… Also, if a camera can capture more stops than usual, does it give the same results as an HDR photo? or does the # of stops not matter, regardless whether its an HDR photo or not?

  • vettepwr

    Trey, can you talk about the a7s now as compared to the a7r since you have both? I would like to get your thoughts on one versus the other and what your preference would be if you had to buy only one. Thanks!

  • treyratcliff

    It’s just as they say – better in low light for sure, but otherwise less megapixels than the A7r.

  • JSUM

    Jhardin, you are such a Noob. How do you make such an unqualified statement. For your info your D800 uses the Sony 36Mp sensor like the one that Trey uses in the Sony a7R. why don’t you share your super shots?

  • Dini Reyhani

    What do you think about the Canon 60D? Is that a good camera for HDR?

    harga kamera

  • anonymous

    I’ve been enjoying shooting for HDR on my A5000. It’s lightness and wireless control (via NFC) make possible the use of cheap and light $20 tripods you can buy at drugstores and The Pod — a bean bag approach to eliminating the tripod. Since I don’t touch the camera when changing EV — I do the adjustments on my smartphone — alignment across my bracketis always perfect. People on the street also think I’m texting on my smartphone when I’m actually shooting them.

    There are so many mirrorless cameras (Samsung, Olympus, etc.) that I was wondering if the A5000 (with its -3.0 to +3.0 EV spread — or the A7 with its even wider EV spread from -5.0 to +5.0) would still come out better for HDR shooting. So I’m glad I found your recommendations.

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  • Lars

    This was exactly what I’m looking for, but…I’m looking fo a second camera only for HDR photography (my main camera is the tiny RX100 M2) and I’d like more automation for the bracketing than the A7R offers.

    Would you happen to know a decent camera (preferrably mirrorless and full format) that I might get used which has this? Thanks in advance!

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  • callmebob

    The various sensors are all limited to a range of darks (shadows) to whites (highlights) which they can adequately record of a scene in a single exposure. If the scene has a range of 14 stops (a stop is a doubling or halving of brightness) relatively few cameras today could record it all in one shot. [ The Nikon D800 is measured to hit that level… ok…. ] so because most cameras can’t record them all in one shot, you take a set of frames which capture the shadow end (and blow out the highlights) and the high end (and let detail in the shadow areas fall out) by over and under exposing from what the camera meter says is “right”… then you use software to combine the data in the frames – voila, you get a extended range image to work with on computer/print etc.

    If you are not trying to get a color “tone mapping” that creates a graphic effect and just want a realistic photo – a camera with a higher dynamic range (eg. 14 you mentioned) will likely get it for you in one exposure. There are lots of scenes which do not require HDR to be recorded fully. The ones that benefit from it are those with extremely high lights and very deep darks. As cameras continue to develop there will likely be cameras which build the “HDR” in camera for you when a single shot doesn’t get it all.

  • JRomeo

    I have been waiting over a year for someone to respond to this question with a knowledgeable answer! Thank You So Much ! I never knew that the more stops, the bigger the dynamic range. Thank You for explaining this to me.

  • callmebob

    The 14 quoted on that camera or the 810 come from a test lab. In actual use you’d probably experience between 10 and 12 at best. If you’re reading about exposure, the difference between 2 EV scale values and “a stop” are synonymous.

  • Rick

    As I’m new to HDR (real estate photography), and cameras have advanced since this was originally written, and I have a large collection of Nikon glass, anyone have a recommendation for a good Nikon body?

  • Ali Whitman

    I am new to HDR photography and wanting to purchase a decent camera easy on the budget with changeable lenses. Does anyone have some suggestions? Links too would be greatly appreciated.

  • Stu – SIC

    Hey, the page you’ve commented on has all the recommendations you need 🙂

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