There is a software I use from time to time to take HDR photos on my Mac and which is called Hydra. Creaceed, its Belgian conceptor, has just adapted his HDR photo technology to an application intended to the iPhone’s camera in iOS 8. It specializes in offering wide exposure range when the dynamics on scene we want to photograph request it. The more we make large discrepancy between highlights and low lights, even total darkness and the more the app Hydra for iOS will provide excellent results, better a priori than thos obtained with iOS 8’s HDR native mode. Moreover, Hydra for iOS can do much more for your photos…
Hydra for iOS does not simply capture HDR photos, this photo application also offers other functions. For example,it allows to zoom the image while maintaining a higher level of detail than in native mode and offers a high definition mode which allows to boost the iPhone’s camera. Another important point : Hydra for iOS allows to film with your iPhone in HDR. It’s not a little service when we wish make a video that combines highlights and shadows.
Be careful : like most HDR photo process, Hydra will capture in bracketing a continuous burst of the same photo with multiple exposures in order to assemble them and merge their data. This process what’s called “Exposure fusion” is for me the best way to obtain HDR photos without the too often caricatured rendering frequently caused by our understanding of Tone Mapping. In any case, this means that if Hydra requieres to shoot multiple images in burst, this iPhone alternative photo application will generate average results if we shoot subjects in motion as these latter are going to move in a shooting to another. We’ll get a blurred image with ghosts even if Hydra Mac professes to remove ghosts from subjects in movement. This means a nicer rendering for a landscape picture or any subject rather immobile. And this is a good thing, in general these kind of subjects are best suited to HDR photo and which are the most in need of it.
The user interface of Hydra for iOS is modelled on native iOS 8 camera look and functioning with the possibility to drag from left to right in order to change between modes, etc. On the design side, one is not far from Apple basic software counterfeiting, but finally that’s a good thing because I often find that the extensions, such as alternavtive keyboards for example, are less well-made than Apple applications and further degrade the user experience or, in any case, the pleasure we have when we use an iPhone compared to an Android smartphone…
The Hydra functioning allows to choose one of the five shooting modes :
- HDR (with this mode, Hydra captures 20 image burst mode to merge the exposures)
- HDR video
- Low lights
- High Resolution
The HDR video mode proposed by Hydra allows to shoot video in both 1080p and 730p.
The zoom fonction of this photo application obviously allows 2x or 4x digital zoom. Somewhat like the viewfinder of a rangefinder such as a Leica, on the screen we will see the entire photo displayed and the zone zoomed also. It is very effective to catch the decisive moment and anticipate when a subject enters the frame.
The high resolution mode also merge several photos taken by the iPhone, as many as 70 in one highspeed continuous shooting. But this time it’s no longer about combining exposures since we want to increase the resolution, not the tone range. As such, in high resolution mode, Hydra is going to allow 12, 16 and even 32 megapixels for the photos taken by the iPhone, which the native camera offers 8 megapixels definition. This fonction is very valuable if we want to reframe afterward or if we are to make a large format print of the photo we take. In any way, it allow to boost the APN on the iPhone.