What Does AEB or BKT Stand For?

Nearly all digital cameras have a menu choice labeled AEB or BKT. "AEB" stands for Automatic Exposure Bracketing; "BKT" is short for Bracket, a different name for the same feature. An "exposure bracket" is a series of three or more pictures of the same scene and composition taken at different amounts of brightness. The difference between each frame can be a little as 1/3 of a stop or as much as 5 full stops. You can tell the camera how much different to make each exposure and how many total exposures to complete (up to 9 in some models).

When you use the AEB or BKT function, the camera starts with its metered exposure. Then it creates lighter and darker exposures by the amount you specified in the menu for the total number of images you chose. A series of bracketed exposures is best done with a stationary subject and the camera on a tripod so the composition doesn't change and affect the exposure.

3 exposure bracket
1/30, 1/15, 1/8 second
f/5.6, ISO 100

In Single drive mode with the AEB or BKT function, you must press the shutter button for each frame in the series. On most cameras, turning on the Self-Timer with AEB or BKT makes the camera take the entire series when you press the shutter button once, thus avoiding any camera movement.

Your camera may have custom functions that affect the order in which the exposures are made and what cancels the bracketing process. See your camera's manual for specifics on setting, using and customizing auto exposure bracketing.

Why use automatic exposure bracketing? At its most basic, AEB gives you a choice of exposures to pick from for the best result. Bracketed exposures are also needed for creating an HDR (high dynamic range) image that combines all the frames into one image with an extended tonal range.

You can learn more camera functions in my digital photography classes in Missoula, Montana. Click here to register online for current classes.