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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.