The TrueHDR 2.1 update by Pictional was released today. The update adds a new processing method to the app, as well as improved iPod Touch 4th Gen output.

For the launch of the new version, TrueHDR is on sale for a limited time for only $0.99 — that’s $1 off the regular price.

TrueHDR is real HDR. The camera takes three bracketed exposures — one normal, one slightly overexposed, and one slightly underexposed — and merges them together, keeping the best exposed areas of each capture. Shadows can reveal more detail without blowing out the highlights. In theory, images should also have reduced noise, which wasn’t always the case with this app. The new Natural mode works to correct two issues with the app. It promises more natural color, while still filling in details in the shadows and highlights. It also claims to produce reduced noise in the images.

Of the three major HDR apps, TrueHDR is right in the middle. It doesn’t produce results as dynamic as Pro HDR (it doesn’t produce the halos Pro HDR does, either). It’s not as conservative with color as Apple’s HDR feature in Camera is.

I downloaded the 2.1 update after dark tonight, so I wasn’t able to test the update outdoors under natural light with a greater range of colors. Indoors under normal light, the claims mostly hold up. In my test images, the new Natural mode works as advertised. The colors were more natural overall and not shifted or freakishly oversaturated as they sometimes were using the old processing. Noise levels in the processed image appeared reduced over the same image shot with version 2.0.

UPDATE: I took a few sample shots this morning outside in daylight. I would have liked to have shot more green, but we just had our weekend of autumn here in North Texas. While the new Natural mode is nice, I’m not overly thrilled with my test shots. I can get similar results using the iPhone 4’s native Camera app and tweaking the image in Perfectly Clear or PrinaSnap, if needed. What little additional dynamic range the new processing offers for me isn’t worth the additional shooting time or the potential for ghosted, misaligned images.

See for yourself. The new shots have been added below. I’m glad Pictional gave us the option of choosing the original Enhanced mode. That’s what I’ll probably stick with when I use TrueHDR. =M=

One problem I found with the new Natural mode, however, is that it’s much more sensitive to camera movement. The images don’t seem to merge together as well as previous versions and ghosting artifacts were pretty evident (see sample images below). This surprised me because Natural mode is a little quicker than the older mode. This may have been due to the fact that all of my test images tonight were shot indoors at close range. It may not be as much of an issue with longer distances.

If you still prefer the old algorithms, color characteristics and more seamless merging, you can switch back to Enhanced mode in the app’s settings.

TrueHDR is on sale now for $0.99. These sales often don’t last long, so if you’ve been watching this app, this is a good opportunity to buy and save a buck.

TrueHDR works on any iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad running iOS 4.0 or newer. You don’t need a camera on your device to use the app, but you’ll get much better photos if you do.

TrueHDR - Pictional LLC


Apple Camera in normal mode

TrueHDR 2.0

TrueHDR 2.1 showing ghosting artifacts

Camera app, normal mode

TrueHDR Enhanced mode (2.0 simulation)

TrueHDR 2.1 Natural mode