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Home » Reviews

First Thoughts on iCamera HDR for iPhone

Submitted by on February 10, 2011 – 2:19 pm 23 Comments

.

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.

iCamera HDR

Pro HDR

Apple Camera, single exposure, non-HDR

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 - Everimaging Ltd

=M=

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 Everimaging’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 Roll’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.

~~~~

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Marty Yawnick

Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.

  • http://twitter.com/Draigg @Draigg

    Marty,
    I'd love to give you my impressions of this potentially fine app, but as of download time yesterday in the morning I've been unable to get the camera function to load and not crash every time I attempt to launch it. I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling, "rebooting", total removal from my iPod Touch 4th Gen & iTunes then redownloading and reinstalling…. all to no avail…. That's really pathetic for an app with such high expectations of itself…. I see on iTunes I'm not the only one experiencing this problem…. a waste of $1.99 + tax? And that's supposed to be at 2/3's off the regular price ($5.99?? Really??) Who knows? I suppose I'll wait for the update bug fix in about a month….. :o(

    • http://twitter.com/Draigg @Draigg

      UPDATE: Vivian from Everimaging emailed me when I complained about the crashing problem and said a bug fix update was coming soon. Got a follow up email from her today saying v1.1 was available and addresses this problem for iPod Touch 4th Gen and iPhone 3GS. I've downloaded and it does indeed work. Now when I get some time I will begin using it and compare to the other HDR apps I currently have and use.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcromanbravo Marc Roman Bravo

    I haven't tested it a lot yet but I think I like it. I just wanted to say you can rotate the photos within the app itself with the 2nd icon on the right (under the E). Have to figure out what all the settings do. The one I chose for my 1st test, "Tone Enhancer," created a lot of noise. But I have to test a lot more to see what's what

    • lifeinlofiblog

      Thanks, Marc.

      It's an extra step and a band-aid measure, though. That step should be unnecessary if the app oriented the image correctly in the first place.

      =M=

      • http://www.facebook.com/marcromanbravo Marc Roman Bravo

        Yeah I gotta admit it's dumb & I didn't realize it was there for the 1st couple pics

  • Scoob da 1st

    I have not had any crashing issues on my iPhone4, I do wish these latest apps would support full 5mp from the off tho.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ifrippe/ Fredrik Nilsson

    Great review!

    I have a mixed experience with this app. I’ve only had one crash (and three successful runs).

    The possibility to process the picture is second to no other app. The company that produces the app also does HDR software for Windows and Mac OS, so I guess that was to be expected.

    The real drawbacks, for me, was the processing time for an image that’s below full resolution and the low resolution itself.

  • Robert Herold

    Resolution is a serious question. I asked the developers, and they replied: "It will take more time and space to create HDR images in full resolution, so we designed the app without full resolution. We will discuss this issue and take this into consideration in the next development." This problematic lag and the random crashes makes this promising app useless when great competitors are in the store.

  • MomentsForZen

    How does Apple's HDR compare with Pro HDR and iCamera? I was surprised that you didn't include it in the comparison within you review.

    • lifeinlofiblog

      My plan is to eventually post a comparison of the major HDR apps — time and day job permitting….

      =M=

      • MomentsForZen

        Can't wait to read your comparison. A topic worthy of your even-handed and well-considered approach.

  • http://twitter.com/richardgrant @richardgrant

    Hey Marty, I gotta tip my hat to you for "embiggen." This really is the finest neologism in recent memory.

    • lifeinlofiblog

      Thank you, Richard, but I cannot take credit for "embiggen". Aintitcool.com uses it all the time. I'm just doing my part to cement it into the vernacular.

      =M=

  • tiep

    @ first post
    the developer told me it does not work with
    ipod touch 4G…..

    • http://twitter.com/Draigg @Draigg

      Vivian from Everimaging emailed me when I complained about the crashing problem and said a bug fix update was coming soon. Got a follow up email from her today saying v1.1 was available and addresses this problem for iPod Touch 4th Gen and iPhone 3GS. I've downloaded and it does indeed work. Now when I get some time I will begin using it and compare to the other HDR apps I currently have and use.

      • lifeinlofiblog

        I haven't tested the new 1.1 update, but hopefully it addresses the instability on an iPhone 4 as well.

        =M=

  • Scoob da 1st

    It may not support full res on iPhone4 but it can create some stunning effects, from realistic to painterly, the range is awesome, I personally love it and hope that full res support comes along soon. Will be posting some samples up on flicker in the next few days, will give u a link when I do so u guys(& gals) can have a peep

  • http://twitter.com/mahadewa @mahadewa

    Marty, I have to disagree with you. This is by far much better than the other 3 contenders, and I have them all.
    Yes, the result from the initial 'merge', either Auto or Manual, is not better than the other. Actually I think Pro HDR has a better result.
    But, it's the additional editing tools that are really shine. IMHO, iCameraHDR has made a significant breakthrough in mobile HDR processing.

    If you are in Instagram, check out the tag #iCameraHDR, and you will see what I mean.
    But if you don't, check these samples I have:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahadewa/5428556750/http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahadewa/5428556746/http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahadewa/5429054013/http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahadewa/5437592088/http://www.flickr.com/photos/mahadewa/5442646169/

    I really hope that these samples could persuade you to take a second look of this amazing app.

    Thanks,
    Chris

  • mcnultster

    Love this blog, Marty. Long time follower, first time poster…..
    I'm the one on iTunes who gave it the "waste of $1.99 + tax" review. I'm now noticing this app only supports the iPhone 4, which of course, would explain MY problem. I have 3GS. Now, I don't know if I missed that little detail in my frenzied excitement to download *another* photo app, haha, (I'm usually careful about that, and I DO remember the IOS4.0 or newer requirement), or if it was added later. If I missed it, my bad. If it was added later, hmmmph!

    By the way…. "embiggen" was actually coined in an episode of "The Simpsons," "Lisa the Iconoclast."

  • CLC

    The Appshopper app says that this updated. What fixes are there? Do you like it a lot better than Pro HDR? Do you think its worth spending on if I already have Pro HDR?

    Thanks.

  • Broken Haiku

    Came here googling for a review of the app. Thanks!

    Given the amount of problems it still has, plus that their description is full of bullshit made me not want to get it. How can I trust an app when they flat-out lie about things? It may be stupid, but I appreciate honesty.

    Maybe later if the fix things.