For the longest time, even considering the iPhone camera to be a viable solution for taking everyday photos was out of the question for me. But that all changed with the release of the iPhone 4. The larger sensor, advocated by Steve Jobs, does indeed make a difference, and despite its somewhat slow focus, the latest iPhone has essentially replaced my point-and-shoot camera for most occasions. After all, they say the best camera is the one that is always with you! That said, its performance is not quite perfect (in spite of the touted built-in HDR photography feature) and if you really want to get the most out of your i-photos, the optimal solution involves dedicated photography apps like iCamera HDR: All-in-One.
For those of you not familiar, HDR means High Dynamic Range photography. The idea is deceptively simple – the camera takes several pictures of the same scenery (over/underexposed and/or normal) and combines them to smooth out the lighting levels. Well iCamera HDR does exactly that, and more.
iCamera HDR actually takes only 2 images (instead of the 3 that are mostly standard with these kinds of apps), and in either automatic or semi-automatic mode, combines them to form the end result. The latter involves highlighting the shadow and illuminated area by hand (finger) to calibrate the algorithm. In addition you can even select the almost magic single-shot mode, where the whole cleanup is done using just a single photo (useful when photographing changing objects). And to help in the sometimes difficult task of holding your iPhone steady, iCamera has built-in image stabilization as well.
After the app processes the image using whichever method you choose, you’ll have quite a few additional tools to fine-tune the result. From quite straightforward ones like rotating/flipping the image, or adjusting the brightness and contrast to more advanced tone mapping and white-balancing, true to its name iCamera HDR is essentially an All-in-One photo app. It even has some preset filters to apply to your pictures, allowing them to look like they were taken back in the 70s or even in the 19th century with just a few taps.
The area where iCamera truly stands out is the interface. I don’t know what the developers were smoking, but I wish they would share it with the rest of us – iCamera HDR has one of the fastest, most sleek and intuitive interfaces I’ve ever seen in any iDevice application. It almost feels like you’re manipulating the photos, be it before or after taking the snapshot, by the power of your mind.
With Apple bundling built-in HDR functionality in iOS 4.1, many thought the age of dedicated HDR apps has come and gone. Yes, iCamera HDR is the lighter performer, only incorporating 2 photos to get the result. But it does its job quickly, efficiently and with enough options for manual fine-tuning to satisfy but the most die-hard photography addict via an interface so sexy, it rivals the iPhone itself.
With this I declare iCamera HDR: All-in-One officially touched!
|Title:||iCamera HDR: All-in-One||Developer:||Everimaging Ltd|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.5||Min OS Req:||3.0|