High Dynamic Range

I’m impressed with the new “high dynamic range” (HDR) photography feature in iOS 4.1 for iPhone 4. The feature basically takes three versions of the image in quick succession, each using a different light setting. Software then combines the three photos using image processing algorithms. The goal is to avoid washed-out bright areas and dark, almost-black shadowed areas.

I took the picture below with HDR turned on. I did not use a tripod, did not set anything manually, and did no post-processing other than cropping. (Click it to see full resolution.)

Seattle skyline using iPhone with HDR

The plain, non-HDR version of the image looked pretty good too, but everything was more washed out, especially the buildings and sky. The trees were a bit brighter but didn’t look as rich. I think the HDR version looks astonishingly professional.

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