Review of the iPhone App: Pro HDR

Sample image of the HDR Pro app for iPhone. It is able to capture high contrast scenarios like this one without looking fake

HDR is one of the many niches of photography that has grown in awareness and popularity in recent years. Otherwise known as “high dynamic range”, these images (ideally) more closely resembles what our eyes see. In the digital age, a lot of it is done with a computer, but now even phone processors are good enough to do it.

I admit, I’ve not been a huge fan of camera phones. They’ve progressed vastly but to me its quality is still lacking. But when I heard about this HDR Pro app for the iPhone, I thought I’d give it a shot. It’d only be a US$1.99 loss if it turned out to be a cheap gimmick.

But it was not! Overall, I am immensely impressed with this photo-related app. You can make HDR photos automatically or manually, and both are easy as pie. With automatic, just tap the screen and the phone will do the rest. It’s only an extra step for the manual option, where you tap both the bright and dark spots separately, in case the phone misreads what you want.

The opening screen and a shot of its processing of the Pro HDR app.

The day I got the app, I went out to capture a few shots on my way to work. I had almost a 100% success rate, even in the automatic mode. HDR is useful in many situations, like when you’re in a dark room looking at the scenery outside. Our cameras today are still unable to capture the scene as we see it, hence the need for HDR.

What’s best about this app is the images come out looking natural and not in a stylized, arty-farty manner. Some people may yearn for that look, but for me, I still like photos looking like any other photo out there. The downside is it does take a matter of five seconds or more to shoot and process. In that time, you have to keep the phone relatively still and of course, if there’s movement in the scene (like a person running), you may not get him captured in a ‘freeze-frame’ moment.

Truthfully, the $1.99 cost is way worth it, as long as you’re at least remotely interesting in taking snapshots wherever you go. This app can cure a lot of the frustration attacks one gets when using a camera phone.

Check out a few more of my sample images below!

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