First Thoughts on iCamera HDR for iPhone
UPDATE: You can now embiggen the images by clicking on them. =M=
iCamera HDR is a new HDR app by Everimaging Ltd. It’s a real HDR app, it supposedly works in a larger 32-bit color space, and can capture and merge two exposures. It’s got multiple settings — two exposure HDR auto and manual and single exposure HDR (which is really dynamic range correction — something the app’s description kind of bashes).
It’s good but not great and has the potential to be an excellent HDR app. Read on for my initial thoughts about the app.
iCamera HDR has A TON of cool features and tools! Probably the best set of tools in any HDR app. See below for a list of key features.
It’s shoots about as fast as Pro HDR, True HDR or HDR Fusion — about 20-30 seconds or so. It’s not significantly faster than any of those as claimed. It’s the first HDR app with Anti-Shake, a favorite feature of mine. It’s got three sensitivity settings which I like a lot. With the nature of true HDR requiring multiple exposures, I’m surprised that this hasn’t been implemented sooner. The ability to use the device’s hardware flash as a torch allows you to take multiple exposures in low light situations. I’m not sure how that would work in practice, as light from the iPhone’s LED flash tends to be pretty harsh.
iCamera HDR color is good. It’s comparable to True HDR in luminance. Users who like the brightness and saturation of Pro HDR may not like how this app handles color without further adjustments. The three different tone mapping engines — Tone Balancer, Tone Enhancer, and Tone Compressor — are a nice feature and well implemented.
Despite my over-caffeinated hands today, iCamera HDR did a good job of merging my two shaky exposures. See the sample above for how well Pro HDR did at the same time.
iCamera HDR is not full-res. Bracketed HDR images only save at about ~1486×1989 pixels on an iPhone 4. That’s just under 3 MP. It doesn’t save landscape images with their proper orientation. They’re saved as tall and need to be rotated in another app to the correct orientation. Also, iCamera HDR is crash prone for me. It crashed twice before I even got my first shot (judging from the numerous user reports of this app crashing, it sounds like merely twice is pretty lucky…). Your mileage may vary.
The App Store description mentions this: “You all have seen other HDR apps in the AppStore lately. It turns out, they are all fake HDRs. Yes you read that correctly. They are all producing what is commonly known as Pseudo-HDRs.” I call bulls**t. True HDR, Pro HDR and HDR Fusion are all great, multi-exposure, High Dynamic Range apps that capture 2 bracketed exposures and merge them to get the best bits from both images. As far as I know, only Apple’s HDR is a true 3-exposure HDR.
iCamera HDR is compatible only with the iPhone 4 running iOS4.0 or newer, with plans for an iPad version. It’s currently priced at $1.99 for a limited time.
I like how it handles color. I love the feature set of this app. If Everimaging address a few of the version 1.0 issues — mainly stability, speed, landscape orientation, and image resolution, iCamera HDR could be the new standard for HDR apps.
iCamera HDR Key features:
1. Automatic in-app HDR captures mode allow you to capture beautiful images with one tap
2. Manual in-app HDR capture mode allows you choose the exposures you prefer to create your HDR images
3. Single in-app HDR capture mode allows you use only one photo to create HDR photos at lightning speed
4. Normal in-app capture mode use in-app iPhone standard camera combined with other capture features (steady &/or fill light) to capture photos for later in-app processing.
5. Advanced image alignment algorithm precisely aligns photos in seconds.
6. Different levels of Anti-shake ensure the most clear, clean capture of photos
7. Three different patented Tone Mapping Engines with fine tuning sliders for your choices to get the image you like
8. True 32-bit HDR workflow
9. Use the iPhone 4 flash as a continuous fill light to improve photo capture quality.
10. Dozens of sliders and buttons for you to completely fine tune and control your final images. From color balance, color temperature and tint adjustment, lens correction, highlight/shadow adjustment, white/black point adjustment, blur/sharpening, just to name a few. Many levels of fine tuning are available.
11. Innovative E-Lighting technology: iCamera HDR is equipped with Everimagingâ€™s E-Lighting technology to automatically enhance the detail, color and contrast of single images with simple ease.
12. Photo library support. you can make HDR images from your saved images in your iPhone Camera Rollâ€™s albums, either from bracketed shots or single images
13. Social Media: share your photos to Flickr and Facebook with one touch directly from within iCamera HDR.
14. Email photos with one touch.
15. Dozens of high-quality photo effects are also included that can be added images.