James Burland

iPhone 4 HDR Photography and Why It’s Important

iPhone 4 HDR Photography and Why It’s Important

iOS 4.1 just went live. Among its many updates and improvements is a feature that is specific to the iPhone 4. iOS 4.1 when running on the iPhone 4 adds an HDR photography option to the camera app.

The HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique has been around since the 1930s, but this is the first time that it has been offered as a default option on a smartphone. What does it mean and should you use it instead of the standard photo option? Let’s find out. (Non HDR shots on the left, HDR shots on the right).

When you take a photo with the iPhone the exposure is automatically set to render the best possible range of luminance based on the centre of the scene or, if you tap on a part of the scene, that area. As I’m certain you have noticed for yourself, this means quite a bit of experimentation to find the best compromise between under and over exposure. Under expose the photo and you risk crushing all the blacks and dark colours, over expose the photo and you’ll surely end up with washed out colours and very little detail in the highlight areas.


How Apple might bring the fight to the Living Room

Follow me on a flight of fancy into the end of 2009. Apple have launched new iPhone hardware which contains double the polygon rendering performance of the current model, a more fully featured video out facility via a Mini DisplayPort and the ability to play back iTunes Store HD films and TV shows.

Hardware Review: Optoma Pico PK101

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Think for a moment about the wealth of video content available to iPhone owners. You’ve got YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Joost, Daily Motion and of course the treasure trove of video content that is the iTunes Store – movies, TV shows, music videos, video podcasts, etc. What other phone, or indeed other handheld playback device, has access to so much video media?

Not too surprisingly then the iPhone is a stonkingly good media player. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has watched many hours of video on the iPhone’s glorious display. But there are times when you want to share the experience. Thankfully Apple endowed the iPhone with a pleasing TV output mode. Often overlooked the TV output feature is quite powerful, providing control over aspect ratios and image scaling. Combining TV out with a half decent TV will get you more than acceptable results for the most part, even when viewing video from some of the streaming services such as BBC iPlayer. (more…)