I’m sure that, to a lot of the people reading this on Planet Ubuntu, this post will be of little interest. If you’re one of these people, I apologise, please glance over this post
To everybody else, what I’m about to discuss, and demonstrate, is some sample photos, and my thoughts, however brief, on the new HDR photo option coming in iOS 4.1 next week.
Sample 1 - HDR
As you can see here, the image on the left looks…ok, it’s not to bad, especially for something taken on a mobile phone. However, I feel that my laptop screen is looking rather bright, and almost dominates the shot, given that it’s just a huge blob of white. The cupboard on the left of the image is quite dark, as is the space to the right of the cupboard in the centre of the shot.
When we compare this to the second image, we can see that the cupboard on the left is that little bit clearer, and you can see that the wall on the right hand side is, in fact, red. Further to this, that overly-intrusive laptop screen, which was previously bright white, is now much clearer, and far less intrusive, you can make out much more of the on-screen detail. The cupboard in centre-shot also appears lighter, especially in the areas surrounding the unit.
Sample 2 - HDR
As we can see in the second sample image, the screen (funnily enough) dominates the image. Nothing wrong with that here, it was the point of the exercise. What we can see, is that it looks like I’m working in the lowest lighting conditions I could possibly find. This, I’m pleased to say, isn’t quite true. I did actually have a light on, as you can see more in the HDR example on the right. I have to say, however, that the HDR example makes the images on my screen look more washed out than those in the non HDR sample do, at least, in my opinion.
One thing I did notice, was the lack of flash on HDR photo’s. The software prevents the use of both at the same time, which, initially, I found somewhat odd and incredibly frustrating. I had a play around taking images with flash on, and HDR on, but still found no way to add the two together. It then dawned on me this morning, that when a photo is going to need a flash to provide the necessary lighting, chances are the HDR image would like almost exactly the same, and provide no benefits.
Nonetheless, I’d like to see the option, in a subsequent iOS update, for the ability to have both on, where it’s possible to set the flash to ‘Auto’ with HDR on, and if a flash is required due to low level lighting, don’t take a HDR photo. Something like this, in my opinion, would make the feature better than it already is. In all, I have to say, I’m pleased with the update – mainly because I don’t take photo’s all that often, so it doesn’t really benefit me to go out and purchase a proper digital camera, but a 5 megapixel camera with HDR functionality that’s on a device I carry around all day anyway, is perfect for me.