Pro HDR X is a solid advance in High Dynamic Range photography

eyeApps LLC

I reviewed Pro HDR many years ago when it was among the first High Dynamic Range apps and best of the camera apps for the iPhone. In short order, Apple added HDR capability to its own software, but in general the third-party apps do a better job.

Pro HDR X (US$1.99) is a new app that has evolved from Pro HDR. It has solid roots, and this new app pushes your iPhone camera toward better HDR imaging.

Pro HDR X takes three images rather than the two that most HDR programs are limited to. In auto mode, the app analyzes the scene, picking the best exposure combinations to get you the best looking photo. If you want to do this manually, the screen presents three targets that you drag to the darkest area of your photo, to the mid-range tonal values, and to the brightest part of the scene.

The app can also edit photos from your on-board library, up to 24 Megapixels in size. When using the app, each exposure is precisely aligned, and the final images are saved at full resolution.

One nice and unique feature is that after you take your photo(s), Pro HDR X has built-in controls that allow you to set the amount of HDR strength applied. The app features lots of tools for finishing, including a large collection of frames, and filters, including monochrome. You can geotag your photos, or turn that off in the settings.

Using the app is straightforward. I got some very nice images just before sunset, where the light is warm and shadows are deep. I thought the photos were better than the old Pro HDR, and what is what the developer wanted to accomplish.

Pro HDR X is among the very best of the HDR apps I've tested. It is far better than Apple's built-in software, and the HDR photos produced by Pro HDR X are natural and realistic, unless you want to stretch the settings and deliberately go for something more garish.

Pro HDR X requires iOS 8, and can run on any device that supports the latest Apple software. It's universal, so it will be nice on iPads, especially the new ones with improved cameras. It's very fast on my iPhone 6 and the taking of three exposures seemed no slower than taking a single shot. Merging and processing takes a couple of seconds.

Pro HDR X is a solid evolution in HDR apps. It's faster than the original version, it takes better pictures and let's you have more control of the final image.