Apple ventures into the bright new world of HDR


Well whaddya know, the first topic that Steve Jobs discussed at Apple’s Special Event yesterday, when it came to the iPhone, was HDR photos. With the release of Apple’s iOS update (iOS 4.1) next week comes a new feature for the iPhone camera: HDR.

When you activate the phone’s camera, you’ll see a button on the top of the screen that says ‘HDR’. If you select this feature, the camera will take a normal ‘raw’ photo as well as an HDR image. Both will be saved to the iPhone’s camera roll.

According to Jobs, the camera will take three exposures in rapid succession: one underexposed, one exposed properly, and one overexposed. Some ‘complex algorithms’ (got to love that phrase) will then merge the three images together, creating one HDR photo. However, it’s more likely that the iPhone software automatically processes two extra images from the original rather than actually taking three separate photographs.

The slow speed of the phone’s shutter release would cause all sorts of camera shake problems, therefore making ‘real’ HDR photos difficult to achieve. While this may disappoint true HDR enthusiasts, the new native feature is a big step forward for smartphone photography and should help propel HDR photography into the global mainstream.

HDR: it’s where all the cool kids seem to be playing.

Friday 2 September 2010, Update: Seems as if it’ll only be available for iPhone 4. Oh Apple, why do you taunt 3G and 3GS users so?