This Is How iOS 4.1 HDR Photos Look In Reality

Apple's iOS 4.1 will give us the ability to take HDR photos with our iPhone devices, but how will those photos look? We spent some time with the iOS 4.1 Gold Master and found out.

The idea behind HDR photos is that they look more similar to what our eyes see than regular photos. In many cases this leads to particularly bright and vibrant photos, but in the case of the iPhone 4 and iOS 4.1's HDR feature it didn't always seem that way.

While we've only played around with the feature for a while, we noticed that it seems to favour - or even privilege - highlights. This makes some of the HDR photos seem washed out next to their non-HDR counterparts while making the colours look more natural. It also means that the iPhone 4's tricky white balance troubles are practically an issue of the past.

It's worth nothing, however, that the HDR feature does seem to struggle a bit in case of environments with level lighting. My bathroom appears to be one of those environments because my poor rubber duckies confused the HDR feature and resulted in a funky, messed-up image despite the iPhone being held perfectly still during the photo:

That little quirk aside, the HDR feature seems to lead to far more natural looking photos in general. But since it's not always easy to predict when this will be the case, I recommend toggling the photo settings to save both the HDR version of a photo as well as the normally exposed version.



    Disappointing results..

    well level lighting removes a majority of the need for hdr. Hdr's primary purpose is when you have a situation where theres alot of detail with lots of areas of extra bright and extra shadow, like taking a picture of a scene at dusk for example is where it works best. It takes it up 2 points in ev to get all the detail in the shadow down 2 points to get the detail in the bright areas and normal to get all the detail in the middle. Then it takes the three images take the darker images to get the detail from the bright areas, the bright images to get the detail in the shadow, and then the middle to get the best of the areas that are evenly lit. It then layers those parts together within a new image that allows all the details to be seen. This is why its known as High Dynamic Range imaging. It manages to get an image with all the details from the highest parts to the lowest.

    Dissappointing? its a phone camera - and they look pretty sweet to me.

    looks more akin to nikon's application of "Active-D lighting". adjusting exposure locally rather than a tone-mapping system that im sure everyone was expecting. HDR is not tone-mapping people.

    More like... Change the colour curves a tiny bit and call it HDR.

    Hahaha the HDR makes the ducks look like their crying.

    Whenever a person takes an iPhone 4 HDR photo, somewhere, a little ducky cries...

    It doesn't really look like the author has tried to use this to it's best effect. The Pro HDR app for iPhone can create some awesome photos, and it only takes a quick browse on Flickr to see what it's capable of.

    There's a group dedicated ot it!

    and I've tried a few and have popped some examples here:

    As you can see... some spectacular photos!

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