I’m always happy to see HDR apps that push the envelope for what is possible on the iPhone camera.
Fusion, just released today, takes 3 shots very rapidly, then combines them to find parts of the image that have the best exposure, giving you a final photo with a wide dynamic range. The app is a reasonable $1.99 at launch, $2.99 afterwards.
The app shows you a histogram to see where the shadows and highlights are, a delay function that lets you steady the camera before the photo is taken, a spot meter for getting precise exposure, and focus and exposure locks.
Once your photo is taken and combined, you are right into the editor which allows you to adjust exposure and contrast. There is a white balance setting, and some sharpening adjustments. Color effects can change the saturation of the color balance.
The multiple images can be saved and re-edited, and you can delete any shots you don’t want to keep. At any time, you can re-enter an editing session and pick up where you left off.
I think Fusion nicely done. I gave Fusion my dreaded bright window/dark room test and got a good compromise showing me details of both the room and the view outside the window. Some apps, like, Pro HDR, gave me wider dynamic range but with some halos. I could get a very natural look using Fusion that didn’t look ‘overcooked’ like many HDR apps default to.
Over the weekend I was up at Horseshoe Bend near Page, Arizona. At sunset or dawn the dynamic range is really tough, with a bright sky, colorful rocks and deep shadows. The images I got with Fusion looked very good and I appreciated the ability to tune the image in the editor, or start again if I wanted to.
There are a range of options when using the app, like having a white or black background for the GUI, determining the number of recent edits to save (I chose 100) and you have the ability to save at the maximum JPG quality. The app also lets you save the middle bracket to see what the image would look like without HDR processing. The recent list is very powerful, showing all your bracket shots, ISO settings, ƒ stop and shutter speed. A divider lets you see a split screen of your original non-bracketed shots, and the processed HDR. It clearly shows the contribution Fusion is making to the quality of the final image. Images are saved at full resolution.
Even though the editing tools are quite strong, I still preferred to finish my editing in Snapseed, which gives that extra layer of control.
The Bottom Line
Fusion is a very worthy app for both taking and editing HDR photos. The quality of the combined images is high, the tools like a feature for letting the camera settle down before taking the images is most welcome, and the sophistication of the app is high, while it maintains a very good ease of use. I will certainly make Fusion a first stop when I’m needing some quality HDR photos.
– Mel Martin