Nikon D40x and HDR

Too bad, the Nikon D40x does not support auto exposure bracketing (AEB), so how can we create HDR images given this limitation? Here is how I usually do it:


  1. Place your cam on a tripod and ensure that it ain’t shaky, otherwise you won’t get any good results.
  2. Check your cam’s settings to ensure that the image format is set to NEF (RAW).
  3. Select the “Auto” mode to see what aperture the camera suggests.
  4. Select the “Aperture” (A) mode and set the suitable aperture value with the scroll wheel. We need to do this to ensure the aperture stays the same on all three shots.
  5. Set the exposure value for the first shot, e.g. -2EV. Do this using the scroll wheel while pressing the “+-” button next to the on/off switch.
  6. Now take the photograph, I always use a remote control for this instead of the fire button to avoid shaking the camera. So I only touch the camera to switch the exposure values. You can fire it manually of course, though it’s risky because the result sucks hard if one of the images is shifted.
  7. Carefully switch to the next exposure value and repeat step 6 for all images.
  8. Take a quick glance at the result. Comapare the few pixels in the corner of each shot to ensure that none of them is shifted. Also compare the brightness, if the contrast between the shots is waay to high (totally white/black) you might rather try +-1EV, or vice versa +-3EV if there ain’t enough difference.
  9. On the computer, post-process the images with your favourite image editor. I use Photomatix and Photoshop for the job. In Photomatix, go to HDR->Generate HDR, then select the three image files. Press OK two times to start processing.
  10. Now you get the plain HDR result, you’ll need to apply tone mapping to reduce the color range to suitable values for common display devices, do this using HDR->tone mapping. A new windows opens, toy with all the switches until the image looks somehow good. Save the result.
  11. In Photoshop I usually further enhance the result. Mostly to modify brightness and contrast. Sometimes some colors are too heavily present in the image, this is easy to correct, see the example at the right.
  12. Done 🙂

5 Responses to “Nikon D40x and HDR”

  1. 1 stevendraper April 21, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I did not know the D40 does not have an auto bracket function. What a pain! I’m glad you mention about taking the tone mapped image to photoshop to finish off.

    Not sure if you have tried this – If you want to “tone down” the image, load the centre exposure (CE)in photoshop, copy it and then paste it as a layer over your HDR image. Reduce the opacity of the CE layer to something that looks more natural.

    Have fun with images.


  2. 2 adrianhenke April 21, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Interesting.. I’ll try this. Thanks!

  3. 3 Roberta February 16, 2009 at 8:09 pm


  4. 4 obobo September 12, 2009 at 5:28 am

    thank you very much for this information

  5. 5 Car rental services in Hyderabad July 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

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