The camera is one of the iPhone’s most-used features, so any app that promises to improve its already strong output is sure to attract attention. Hydra is interesting because, as well as offering HDR modes to increase highlight and shadow detail in stills and video, it promises to boost image size to up to 32 megapixels — four times the 8 megapixels of the iPhone 6.
Imagine buying a Ferrari only to find that it’s not that great on pavement but kinda fun in the dirt. iCamera HDR is only a couple bucks, but might make you feel the same way after you take it for a test drive.
HDR and tone mapping bring out all the detail in this shot of Venice’s Grand Canal. High dynamic range (HDR) photography is a technique designed to capture much more detail in color and contrast than traditional photography can. When taking a photograph, a camera can only capture a single exposure. A shaded subject with a bright sky behind it presents a classic conundrum. Capturing the details of the shaded subject requires an exposure that will wash out the sky. Yet an exposure optimized for the sky will underexpose the shaded area, swamping its details in inky darkness. HDR photography captures all those details by snapping three or more images at differing exposures and blending them together.
Get the highest possible dynamic range out of your image. Ever wonder why even the best photographs can’t compare to the real thing? The human eye has the remarkable ability to adjust light sensitivity on the fly. Cameras, however, can only record a scene using a single exposure. In a scene with high contrast (that is, lots of dark and bright areas), both highlight and shadow details are going to get lost. So suppose you could take several pictures at varying exposures and blend the exposures together? That could make for a very impressive image.