I have a Nikon D5300 with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens. I try to click in RAW format so I can get better adjustment after the click.

But while using RAW format, why I am unable to turn on HDR mode.

Why its happening? Is it not supported by my device? Is it limitation of RAW format?


Built-in HDR modes on cameras do one of two things:

  1. Take a single exposure, and compress shadow and highlight detail when creating a JPEG from it.
  2. Take multiple exposures in quick succession with different (bracketed) exposure parameters, and blend them together into a single JPEG.

I say JPEG in both cases because neither of these make sense for a RAW file.

In case #1, the raw capture just includes all available sensor data, with no particular rendering. It would be possible to provide advisory information saying "hey, the user would like this processed to maximize dynamic range", but the actual data wouldn't be changed.

In case #2, each exposure would be a separate RAW file; it would theoretically be possible to create a multi-exposure RAW container with the data from multiple shots, but to my knowledge no one does that. Just bracket yourself (either manually, or automatically if the camera has this feature) and take your multiple shots into image-processing software yourself.

  • I agree with you, but nothing prevents a camera from saving the bracketed RAWs and the HDR JPEG. – Kartick Vaddadi Oct 2 '17 at 3:32

The Nikon D5300 Reference Manual says on page 40 and page 96 that HDR is not available in raw (because raw is raw, implying there is no processing in camera).

The larger Reference Manual is available free at http://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/products/25/D5300.html

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