iOS 4.1 HDR photo (left). Pro HDR photo (right)
HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is the process of taking multiple photos (usually three or more) and then combining exposure aspects from each photo to produce an end result that often seems closer to the recalled seen or even super-realistic. I’ve been using the $1.99 Pro HDR app which takes two photos with different exposure levels and generally creates a better photo that what I normally see from my iPhone 4 (which is reasonably good). iOS 4.1 added an HDR photo option directly into the iPhone 4’s camera app.
After performing a number of indoor and outdoor test shots, I can’t say that Apple’s HDR photo results is always to my liking. However, it is capable of producing an image that is better than its current non-HDR mode or normal pre-iOS 4.1 photos.
The process of taking an HDR photo is a relatively long one without much in the way of status information during the photo capture process. The camera app stores one original photo and and HDR photo to the iPhone’s album. It did not indicate how many photos it took and combined to create the end result. Based solely on the output, it looks like it simply takes one photo and then adds exposures from a storage buffer without saving anything permanently.
In the photo above, you can see photos taken within minutes of each other. The photo on the left if the result of Apple’s camera app HDR mode. The photo on the right was produced by the third party Pro HDR app. My preference is the output of the Pro HDR app. But, this is a matter of personal preference. My overall opinion is that Apple’s new HDR mode is capable of producing interesting and arguably better photos than the default camera setting alone. However, I’m keeping the Pro HDR app on my iPhone 4 and will continue to use it in instead of Apple’s HDR option.
Pro HDR 2.1 (iTunes App Store)