Meanwhile, here's a bit of an example of what I was talking about, the differences between in-camera and lots of PP time. I took my camera down the river the other day when I was in town, took some bracketed shots, and made an HDR out of 6 shots.
(easy way with a 7D where you only get 3-shots in a bracket: Set bracketing to 4/3 stops apart, centre +1/3EV, take shots (so you get -1, +1/3, +5/3), then dial it to -1/3EV and take 3 more shots (so you get -5/3EV, -1/3EV, +1EV), so you 6-shots 2/3 EV apart with only 2 clicks of the RC-6 and once turning the dial 2-steps, so minimal chance of bumping the tripod (expecially important because I was using the gorillapod in about 30-knot winds).
Anyway, have a look at the attached.
First shot is a 50% crop using all 6 frames unaltered. Look at the noise in the darker parts, like the window.
Second shot, I've masked the dark bottom-half around the tree-balcony line, for the darkest shot (and masked out the bright sky from the brightest shot but you can't see that here).
Third shot, I've masked out the dark-half from the second-darkest image as well. Look how much better it looks, there's even a cable hanging from the ceiling inside the building you couldn't even see from the first two shots.
And 4th shot, the entire scene. Still has that 'fake HDR' look to it, but by changing a few more variables it might get better-looking. (extra points if you recognise the buildings and can guess where i live).
Basically, my point is that it took a lot of work over a few hours just to get this far, and i'm still not happy. Whether it's the fault of Hugin that is introducing the noise from the darkest shots in the dark-areas or what, I don't know. But I doubt that any automated-program or in-camera settings can get anywhere near this with no user input, at least for now...