Extended bracketing control
Shooting exposure bracketed gets more and more important for panorama creation, but most cameras still only support three brackets at 2EV steps maximum. But there are possibilities to work around this limitation. Many solutions support not only bracketing control but eventually many other features (timelaps, sound or light trigger etc). However, exposure bracketing is the main interest here.
This page is about how to extend the camera capabilities. If you look for general HDR information start at the HDR page.
Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) is built into many cameras and should provide a means of not only transferring pictures over USB but also controlling the camera remotely. PTP is part of the WIA architecture on Windows, hence it is fairly easy to build a camera control software using f.e. Visual Basic. For other OS's the gphoto project should provide access to such cameras.
Hence there are many programs to control your camera from a computer but only few that do the same from a portable device. However, availability of cheap USB host circuitry has triggered some do-it-yourself projects and apparently even some smartphones can use USB hosts nowadays.
Not all PTP enabled cameras implement all features. Hence it's impossible to tell which cameras can be used for PTP bracketing. The most complete list of cameras supporting PTP or other means of direct control is found in the gphoto project. If your camera is listed, there is a chance that one or the other software will support it. But it is still better to look on the vendor or developer page.
- DSLR remote pro (commercial)
- PhotoRemote (free for non commercial use)
- DigiKam (open source) Should "use gphoto for capture" according gphoto page
- Promote control (commercial)
- Digital camera control using Arduino USB Host Shield (DIY / open source)
- DSLR controller for android App with live view that uses USB host mode
- CamCap – DSLR Controller Android tablet 3.1 app with live view that uses USB host mode
- DSLR camera remote A smartphone app and a program running on a PC connected to the camera.
Bulb mode bracketing
A much cheaper way to control a camera shutter is using bulb mode and opening and closing the shutter directly by cable or infrared. Unfortunately no short exposure times are possible since for fast times the second shutter curtain starts to close already while the first one is still not fully open. Hence bulb mode bracketing is limited to times slower than 1/120s to 1/4s depending on the camera, with fastest possible times getting unreliable. Great for night time HDR but nothing for daylight use where fast speeds are needed. There are lot's of DIY projects and many smartphone apps in this category.
Any camera that has a cable or infrared release and that supports bulb mode should work.
- HDR Jack probably the smallest bracketing controller ever.
- HDR jack 2 improve version build into a standard cable release. There are other solutions with even more features on that page, too.
- Open Camera Controller controlled by a Nintendo DS and build into a game cartridge, many features.
- PhotoIRemote controlled by smartphone using audio out using either a self modified cable or a self mad IR transmitter
- Bracketmeister Arduino project by Joergen Geerds
- TriggerTrap i-devices app with bulb mode bracketing
- DSLR.bot i-devices app with infrared bulb mode bracketing
- Trigger Happy I-devices and android app plus cable bulb mode bracketing
Camera software hacks
In-camera bracketing limits are mostly artificial. Where the camera software can be extended or replaced better functionality can be retrofitted.
- CHDK The Canon Hack Development Kit extends the firmware of Canon powershot cameras by many useful features among which is extended exposure bracketing.
- MagicLantern A firmware hack for some Canon DSLRs providing not only bracketing but mainly extended video functionality.
- Another idea of doc-diy is to butcher a battery grip and emulate the dial wheel by a micro controller. This way exposure could be controlled simply and direct.