Version Reviewed: 2.1
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
I'm not a photography buff, I don't own an SLR camera, and I don't have a weird obsession with all things Canon or Nikon. I do like good pictures though, and I like taking them with my handy dandy iPhone.
When 4.1 was released, so too was the HDR feature in the camera app. Just snap a picture with HDR on and the phone will automatically put together a dark shot and a bright shot to bring you a picture with an overall better light balance. For the most part, the built in HDR does a good job, but there's always room for improvement.
The thing that the built-in HDR doesn't do is to allow you to tweak the image after it is taken. What you get is what you get, unless you import it into iPhoto or another photo manipulation application. Being a fan of instant gratification, though, I like my photos to be perfect on the iPhone without having to wait until I get home to transfer.
Pro HDR is just the app for the job, giving you the ability to take the perfect photo that you crave. There are two modes in HDR Pro, Auto HDR and Manual HDR. The goal of HDR is to balance the lightest of the lights with the darkest of the darks, so both modes do the same thing, the manual mode just lets you choose the lightest and the darkest object. Once you are done, Pro HDR blends the photos together to create a single picture that can further be manipulated in post processing editing. From there, you can change the brightness, contrast, saturation, etc. until you end up with that perfect shot.
While I like having the extra options, it does come at some sacrifice to speed. The trick in taking photos in many cases is absolute speed so you can capture the right moment. The advantage in that department definitely goes to the built in camera app, because there are no settings to finagle with. Waiting for Pro HDR to access the camera takes a bit of time, the shot takes a bit of time, and the merging of the photo takes a bit of time too. None of it takes a whole lot of time, but it's still time that the regular camera app doesn't take.
Nevertheless, if you have a still object, such as a sleeping dog that won't get up for anything but a treat, Pro HDR is a good way to take a nice picture. I can't see myself using it every time I want to take a picture of something, but in the right situation it's a nice alternative.
Now if only Apple would add post processing effects to the built in app. I'm not sure if integrating iPhoto into the camera app would be a good thing for the average user, but it would be fun for someone like me to turn on.