Sneak-Peak: Dummy-Proof Photography in Next iPhone Update

by Matt Forcey

By Jonathan Snyder and Brian X. Chen

A software update for Apple’s mobile operating system is due for release next week, and has had hands-on time with a major new feature of the OS: high-dynamic range photography.

HDR, an automated processing feature aiming to deliver a “dummy-proof” photography method, will be included with the camera app on all iPhones running iOS 4.1 when it ships next week. When you take a picture, HDR processes three versions of the image: an underexposed version, a normally exposed version, and an overexposed version. Then it combines these three images into one to increase the dynamic range (the intensity of the light) to give you a more accurate representation of the scene you’re shooting.

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In iOS 4.1, when you launch your camera there will be an option to toggle HDR on or off. When toggled on, the iPhone will take a few seconds to process a photo in HDR after snapping it. By default, your iPhone will save both a normal, unedited version of your photograph along with an HDR-processed version. (You can tweak the save mode in your settings.)

I ventured outside with photo editor Jon Snyder to put an iPhone 4 to the test with HDR photos, and the results were quite pleasing. At times some photos looked better without HDR-processing, but for the most part HDR improved images that were oversaturated with light or too dark with shadows.

This feature should come in handy for people who don’t want to spend too much aiming their camera in just the right place to get good lighting. Click through the gallery above to see some side-by-side comparisons of photos we snapped Thursday afternoon in San Francisco.

Via Wired Gadget Lab


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