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vividHDR brings some new features and ideas for iOS photographers

Mel Martin

I'm always on the lookout for innovative photography apps and vividHDR certainly qualifies. It's a universal app that sells for US $1.99. Unlike many apps that take 2 exposures for HDR (High Dynamic Range imaging), vividHDR takes 3. It shows you a split screen of the normally exposed image, alongside the HDR tone-mapped photo. Unlike some apps that can give you 'overcooked' results, you can get natural looking photos from this app, with better shadow detail and more realistic colors.

The app offers settings for Natural, Lively and Dramatic photos. Saturation and contrast increase with each step away from Natural. You can also select 'custom', and process the images any of the 3 ways before you save them.

The app provides good exposure control, ghost removal and image alignment, which is important if you are hand holding your iPhone or iPad.

The GUI takes some getting used to. I expected each finished image to show up in my camera roll, but the app maintains its own gallery which you access with a swipe to the right. Camera settings are a swipe to the left. It is all explained in the introductory screen, but it was still counter-intuitive until I got used to it.

I took several images and was quite pleased with the results. You can see some in the gallery. The app helped in dark areas, improved the look of the skies, and the processing was quite speedy. On the minus side, the app failed my 'bright window-dark room' test. When processed, the image completely lost any outside detail so the window was badly blown out. Yet when I watched the screen, I could see that one exposure perfectly exposed that bright window. Something is going wrong in the processing. My reference HDR program, ProHDR handled the test perfectly. Examples are in the gallery.

vividHDR is still an excellent approach to getting good HDR photos. It is far better than the built-in Apple HDR software, but it falls short in the toughest lighting conditions. If the developer can fix that issue, vividHDR will be among the very best HDR apps available.

vividHDR requires iOS 6 or greater, and it is optimized for the iPhone 5. It also worked just fine on iOS 7 beta 5.

Gallery: vividHDR | 6 Photos

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