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Complete Guide to Help You Choose the Best HDR Cameras in 2024

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Originally published Dec 07, 22, updated Jul 18, 24

If you’re into capturing breath-taking sunsets and fun moments, you must be familiar with high-tech cameras available today, such as HDR cameras.

An HDR or High Dynamic Range photograph is a unique blend of creativity and necessity. When these reasons overlap, chances are you get a stunning photo, adding your preferred twist to it.

To achieve all of it, you must invest in a great quality HDR camera. Worrying over how to find one? Don’t. Because this guide features some of the best HDR cameras with other essential information.

In this article
  1. What is HDR Photography?
    1. Sony a6300
    2. iPhone 13 Pro Max
    3. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
    4. Nikon D810
    5. Fujifilm X-T4
  2. How to Set Up your Camera for HDR Shooting
  3. How to Make the HDR Shooting Easier
  4. Take your HDR Camera and Shoot the Best HDR Photos

Part 1: What is HDR Photography?

HDR photography enables you to capture a photo with a greater dynamic range. This technique helps you incorporate a higher ratio of ligh to dark contrast to your images.

As a photographer, you might have noticed the white often wash out the highlights. Or, dark colors appear big and black blobs. And it’s quite challenging to maintain both factors while clicking a stunning photo.

But this is not the case with HDR photography.When you opt for it, it lets you capture photographs with amazing details. It even allows you to merge several exposures, so you can showcase details with darker and brighter tones, even in high-contrast scenario.

Does it all sound interesting? If so, let’s check some HDR cameras.

Part 2: Top 5 Picks of Trending Professional HDR Cameras in 2022

1)   Sony a6300

sony a6300

It’s Sony’s mid-range mirrorless camera with 24MP resolution and increased video capability, autofocus ability, and viewfinder resolution.

Specifications

  • Sensor size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm)
  • Pixel count: 24MP
  • Continuous shooting rate: 11 fps
  • Dimensions: 120 x 67 x 49 mm (4.7 x 2.6 x 1.9 in.)
Pros
  • It offers multifunctionality.
  • It comes with hybrid autofocus.
  • You can customize around 8 buttons to match your preferences.
Cons
  • The camera doesn’t come with folding screen.
  • It overheats; you can’t shoot for more than 10 minutes in 4K.
  • It doesn’t come with regular 2.8 aperture zooms.

Best for

Reportage photography; it produces 11 frames in a second, using single-frame focusing.

Reasons to Avoid

If you’re concerned about camera batteries, Sony a6300 with only 1040 won’t impress you.

Summary

Although a decent camera from a reputed company, Sony a6300 comes with a set of pros and cons. But the company still offers rich features in quite reasonable prices.

2)   iPhone 13 Pro Max

iphone 13 pro max

iPhone 13 Pro Max can be the right choice to capture pro-quality images and portraits, even in the unsuitable light conditions.

Specifications

Primary: 12 MP sensor, 1.9um pixels, 26 mm equivalent f/1.5-aperture lens, Dual Pixel AF

Ultra-wide: 12MP sensor, 13mm equivalent f/1.8-aperture lens, PDAF, 2cm macro

Tele: 12 MP sensor, 77 mm equivalent f/2.8-aperture lens, OIS

3D sensor

Pros
  • Its A15 bionic is unmatched.
  • It comes with an amazing battery life.
  • It has awesome 120Hz refresh rate.
Cons
  • It charges relatively slow.
  • The design is big and is an expensive phone.
  • 1080p cinematic mode isn’t so impressive.

Best for

The many features of iPhone are perfect to take stunning photographs.

Reasons to Avoid

One of the best iPhone variant from Apple in terms of battery. However, its features are quite similar to iPhone 13 pro which you can purchase at relatively lower rates.

Summary

A great phone considering camera and battery. If you’re into photography, you might love it. It also has new color finishes.

3)   Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

canon eos 5d mark iv

With 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and ISO range 100-32000, it ensures versatile photography, irrespective of the light conditions.

Specifications

  • Sensor size: 36.0 x 24.0 mm
  • Megapixels: 30.4
  • Pixel dimensions: 6720 x 4480
  • Image processor: DIGIC 6+
  • FOVCF: 1.0x
Pros
  • It offers excellent ISO performance.
  • It comes with quick startup and mode switching.
  • The camera offers unlimited JPEG buffer.
  • It comes with built-in GPS.
Cons
  • You need to use different formats for its dual memory card slots.
  • It’s challenging to use it with low contrast subjects.
  • It has 1/200s top flash speed.

Best for

The colors appear 100% accurate which makes photos 10x more attractive and stunning.

Reasons to Avoid

Its default JPEGs aren’t super impressive as compared to rival cameras.

Summary

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV doesn’t come with a long list of futuristic features. However, it’s a reliable and capable workhorse camera - perfect for professional photographers.

4)   Nikon D810

nikon d810

An incredible camera that makes various photography types, such as landscape or portrait a breeze with its features and functionality.

Specifications

  • Weight: 34.9 oz (988 g) with batteries
  • Size: 5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2 in. (146 x 123 x 82 mm)
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • Effective megapixels: 36.3
  • Sensor size: 861.6mm (35.90mm x 24.00mm)
  • Focal length multiplier: 1.0x
Pros
  • It comes with a fast autofocus.
  • The camera has weatherproof build quality.
  • It has a great battery life.
  • The image noise is low.
Cons
  • Automatic whitebalance isn’t impressive.
  • It doesn’t support WiFi.
  • Liveview shows inconsistency.
  • Auto ISO is difficult to understand.

Best for

Nikon D810 - an awesome camera option comes with an indicator for manual focus assistance.

Reasons to Avoid

Considering its sensitivity to lens performance with other cons, this camera is expensive.

Summary

No doubt, its specs and pros make it a considerable option. Its high-quality images and accurate color capturization make it the right choice if you’re up to make a photography debut with a decent camera.

5)   Fujifilm X-T4

fujifilm x-t4

With a fully articulating touchscreen, Fujifilm X-T4 is here to please you with its wide vareity of features. The battery is designed again with a larger capacity, so the camera performs better than before.

Specifications

  • Effective pixels: 26.1 million pixels
  • Image sensor: 23.5mm x 15.6 mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS 4 with primary filter for colors.
  • Exposure compensation: -5.0EV - +5.0EV step (Movie: -2.0EV - +2.0EV
  • Shutter type: Focal plane shutter
Pros
  • It comes a silent mechanical shutter.
  • It has dual UHS-II SD card slots.
  • A larger grip makes it comfortable to hold.
  • Autofocus performance is impressive.
Cons
  • It doesn’t come with a battery charger.
  • A variety of buttons can become a challenge.

Best for

Not only the camera is easy to use and capture stunning shots, it’s super comfortable to hold as well. The overall design is elegant with much attention given to the details.

Reasons to Avoid

This camera is available as body-only and is on the pricier side as compared to X-T3. If you aren’t a professional photographer, you’ve a room to explore other options.

Summary

The features and specifications with better image stabilization, battery, shooting make it a good choice. However, be ready to invest an equally bigger amount to enjoy all these specs.

Part 3: How to Set Up your Camera for HDR Shooting

Following steps will help you start shooting with your HDR camera.

Step1 Decide on Camera Mode
camera mode

Most photographers prefer aperture priority mode. One reason is that you decide on the aperture and allow you camera to decide on the shutter speed, considering metering mode.

Step2 Metering Mode
metering modes of camera

You’ll need to decide between the evaluative/matrix (scene-based), center wieghted or spot metering modes. Choosing one entirely based on your preferences.

However, evaluative/scene-based metering mode is seen as the reliable mode in aperture priority. Because, this mode will balance and find median exposure on the given scene.

Step3 Aperture, ISO and Shutter
iso

For landscape or cityscape, an ISO of 100 is considered the best. Even in low light situation, this setting works.

A small aperture of about f/8 to f/22 is enough. However, you need to check the level of lens sharpness to get balanced photos.

Shutter speed translates to the estimated time the sensor exposes to the scene, the longer the shutter speed, the brighter your photo will be.

Bonus Tip:

Go for raw shooting, as raw files keep record information on the given image sensor.

Step4 Automatic Exposure Bracketing
aeb setting

If you’re using a DSLR/mirrorless camera, it’ll have AEB. To enable it, go to menu. You should go through the manual, as every camera has accessed the feature differently.

Once found, it’ll make you set two things; interval and bracket. Brackets will decide on the number of photos you’ll capture whereas interval keeps the gap between those photos.

Step5 Timer and Mirror

You can focus on these steps to reduce slightest movement, even if your camera is mounted on the tripod.

Timer

timer

A two-second timer sounds great as it’ll prevent you from coming in contact with your gear and avoid even the least chance of movement.

Mirror Lockup

mirror lockup

A risk of micro-vibration is present in DSLRs, especially when the mirror flips up and expose the image sensor to the light. You can use lockup feature to fix this.

Press the shutter release once, as it’ll flip up the mirror. Press is second time to open the shutter curtain and capture the photo.

Step6 Go for One or More Bracketed Exposures

Now you’re good to click snaps! Just press the shutter release button and listen to the sound of shutter curtains.

Lastly, go to histogram on the LCD screen and ensure each photo features the full dynamic range.

In post processing, you can opt for more than one bracketed exposures, so choose the best ones.

Part 4: How to Make the HDR Shooting Easier

If you find it challenging to capture a great quality HDR image, following tips may help you.

Choose Low ISO Setting

iso setting

HDR photography creates noise and makes images appear grainy. To fix this, you can go for low ISO setting to ensure less noise.

Choose Continuous Mode

continuous mode

For shooting, choose continuous mode becasue it’ll require you to take bracketed photos only by clicking the release button once. This option is available in Canon and Nikon cameras.

Go for a Cable Release

cable release

When you press the release button, chances of camera shaking or movement are high. You can try preventing it by using a cable release.

Opt for Several Brackets

brackets

You’ll have several options in post processing if you go for more brackets. For example, going for nine exposures will help you get a better looking image result than opting for two exposures.

Focus on Aperture Priority Mode

aperture priority mode

This mode influences the way your camera see field depth. When you keep your aperture fixed for all photos, it’ll prevent changes in depth field. When not fixed, these changes can ruin the image.

Get yourself a Tripod

tripod

Although it isn’t a necessity, a tripod will help you in nighttime HDR shooting. Or, it might help you take great quality daytime photos, too.

Part 5: Take your HDR Camera and Shoot the Best HDR Photos

sunset hdr photo

Have you seen mesmerizing sunsets? The captivating contrasts of yellow and red colors, doesn’t it look like the most beautiful view? That’s where you must try HDR photography. Even the time of sunrise seems like the best time to capture a stunning HDR image.

Apart from this, HDR technique can be used to shoot nightscapes and interirors. You can try it in the scenes with a lot of contrast. However, avoid HDR technique with a moving subject.

Next time, when you experiment with landscape or architectural photography, turn on the HDR mode and see the difference yourself.

Final Words

HDR photography has fans and foes. But this shouldn’t restrict you from trying it. Like other photography types, you need practice and patience to ace it.

And with the help of best camera, right set up, tip and tricks mentioned in this blog, you’re sure to nail HDR photography style.

It’s equally important to be aware of scenes or scenario where HDR photography works best. Therefore, try capturing dramatic skies or fields with high color contrast in HDR mode in camera and see the magic yourself.

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown Jul 18, 24
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