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What is Smart HDR and how does it enhance photos on new iPhones

Among the dozens of news brought by XS iPhones, XS Max and XR, one caught the eye of smartphone photographers around the world: the Smart HDR, a new feature that leverages the unmatched machine learning capabilities of the new smartphones to take even better photos and give users more flexibility.

Would it be a real promise? It would just be another name Apple invented to keep its customers in their infamous Reality Distortion Field ?? No one knew, but the fact that the Smart HDR has already arrived with a hell of a lot: it was attributed to the alleged improper "beautification" that the front cameras of the new iPhones were generating.

The flaw was fixed (or not) and everything was properly forgiven, but the question was: what does Smart HDR do, exactly, than previous iPhones didn't? Next, we answer this and other questions.

HDR vs. Auto HDR vs. Smart HDR

In photography, HDR (high dynamic range, or dynamic range) is a capture method used to compensate for differences in exposure in distinct parts of an image. Explaining: If you have a picture with a bright sky in the background and a person in the foreground, a common camera sensor will not be able to record the details of these two elements equally or the sky will burst, white, or the person will be dark.

HDR comes up to solve this problem: it captures (usually) three versions of the same photo one with low exposure, to take the sky, another with high exposure, to catch the person, and another with regular exposure, to capture the remaining details of the photo. scenery and combines them into a single image that brings the details of all elements perfectly exposed.

Demonstrating HDR Action on iPhone

At Apple, the HDR was a basic feature even for the iPhones 7 and 7 Plus in the sense that you can only turn it on or off at any time in the quick setup area at the top of the camera. On iPhones 8, 8 Plus and X, however, the tool gained a third mode, called Auto HDR; With it, the artificial intelligence of the gadgets defines whether or not a photo needs the feature and activates it case by case photos taken with the HDR will have the feature symbol in the upper left corner when viewed.

You can of course still choose to turn the HDR on or off manually if you wish at times, for example, the undesirable feature if you want to purposefully take a high-contrast picture or give it a more artistic look.

We jumped a year in time and came to the XS, XS Max and XR iPhones. Here, Auto HDR has been surpassed by an even smarter technology, namely Smart HDR than the theme of this article. The first thing to know about him is that there is no adjustment: if Smart HDR is on, it will be enabled on every shot you take, to a greater or lesser degree; Only those photos where the HDR is more evident will show the ?HDR? stamp in the upper left corner. The idea is that you basically forget that the feature exists and only worry about framing and shooting.

About Smart HDR

The difference between Smart HDR and previous modes is that it utilizes even more captures, more exposure modes, and more artificial intelligence to make your photos theoretically better. Not just three shots, but as many shots as necessary, taking into account different exposure levels, ISO, shutter speed and white balance, to produce the best possible image by capturing the best parts of each.

Demonstrating the action of Smart HDR on iPhone

The feature has the ability to realize what exactly the camera is photographing to adjust accordingly, for example if you are taking a picture of a fast moving object, Smart HDR will know this and among the many photos it will take to combine later, capture one with the highest ISO and shutter speed, so the result is not a blur.

In addition, Apple has implemented a feature similar to what Samsung introduced in high-end Galaxy smartphones just before: when active, the camera is taking photos all the time, even if you're not pressing the shutter button. . With that, she always has a temporal advantage over you when you finally press the button, she already has that captured image and you have what is called zero lag shutter (shooting without delay).

All the intelligence of Intelligent HDR is in the Neural engine, the part of the iPhone that processes machine learning operations. Locally (photos are not sent to Apple servers at any time in the process), the coprocessor does all the work of ?interpreting? each shot made to merge the best parts of each shot into one photo.

How to turn it off

To be honest, there are not many reasons why you should turn off the Smart HDR on your iPhone: as I said, it is smart enough to know when to act and how to act, and it is very rare for it to interfere negatively with the outcome of your shots (especially now). #beautygate problem has theoretically been resolved). Users who want more granular control of their photos can use third-party camera applications such as Halide that disables Smart HDR as a whole and replaces it with a user-controllable solution itself.

Smart HDR Adjustment

Still, if you really want to use the Camera app without Smart HDR, just go to Camera Settings and turn off the feature. From then on, iPhone adopts the same behavior as previous devices you can set the default HDR in ?on?, ?off? or ?auto? modes.

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