HDR isn’t a new concept in the photography world. I’ve been using this technique on my DSLR for some time now. Basically High Dynamic Range photography is a technique where by you take 3 sequential shots of a scene where two of the shots are over and under exposed. Having these two extra images allows you to collect the parts of the scene that are too dark or too light in the normal picture and incorporate them all into one shot where the entire scene looks more like it does to the naked eye than the normal shot does.

iOS 4.1 adds an Apple style HDR feature to the camera. With it turned on, the camera will take these 3 shots and incorporate them into a single HDR version of the original image. By default both the original and HDR version of the image are saved so you can see if you’re really getting any benefit out of having an HDR shot. Enough talk… the proofs in the pudding so here’s my first try at it:




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As you can see there’s a dramatic difference. In the HDR shot you can now see the sky and clouds that were overexposed in the original shot.

The new HDR feature in iOS 4.1 brings, what is normally a complex process, down to a very simple task and allows for even better looking mobile phone pictures to be taken when you’re out and about taking pics. Using HDR won’t make every picture look better, only those where the scene has an over or under (or both) exposed areas. Play around with it and you’ll have a better idea of when to use it or not.

Overall though it’s very impressive to see this sort of feature to make it into a mobile device. Very nicely done.

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