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HDR On the Evo 4G - How to take HDR Photos on the Sprint HTC Evo 4G - Android HDR App

Updated on October 20, 2010

What is HDR?

HDR or High Dynamic Range Photography is a photographic process which combines multiple photographs into a single image with an increased range of tonality.

In the real world everything is not perfectly lit and when you take a picture you camera has to chose between over exposing or under exposing different parts of the image. For example if you take a picture of a friend outside on a bright sunny day your camera may properly expose the photograph to show your friend, but the sky in the background will be blown out and completely white with no detail. If we wanted to take a picture where we could see the bright blue sky and fluffy clouds, we would have to under expose the photograph. While the clouds might look great in our under exposed shot, the person that was the subject of our photograph would be too dark. Thanks to HDR we can fix this problem.

With HDR photography you take a series of photographs with different exposures, some under exposed to catch the detail in the bright areas and some over exposed to capture the detail hiding in the dark areas. Then you combine them together to get one photo that has the data from both the under and over exposed images. This gives you a superior image where you can see the subtle details in the bright areas as well as what is lurking in the darkness.

HDR Effect

Another side of HDR Photography is the artistic effect that can be created with HDR images. HDR can create a highly saturated with bright colors and an embossed look.

There are some great photographs that look amazing with a Heavy HDR effect. But it is not something that looks well with all images.

Love Or Hate

Some people enjoy the HDR effect while others find it gives an over manipulated look. For the most part it is a personal taste if you like or dislike the effect. However, a lot of the distaste that serious photographers have against the HDR effect stems from the over use of the effect on bad images to try and salvage them.

HDR Simulation Only

Unfortunately, the camera apps that are available through the google marketplace only have an HDR simulation. By HDR simulation they mean they use Tone Mapping to improve the contrast over the entire image. Some also offer a Heavy HDR Simulation which gives you the bright artistic look of the HDR effect.

However there are no True HDR apps which take a bracketed set of multiple images at different exposures. There are a couple HDR Apps for the IPhone, but nothing yet for the Android. This used to be because their was no way for the apps to adjust the exposure on Android phones. But, google recently added Exposure Compensation to the camera API in their release of Andriod 2.2.

2.2 and Still Waiting

Google has already released 2.2 and upgrades have already been pushed out to many of the existing Android phones, including the Sprint HTC Evo 4G. I have been searching the Marketplace regularly since I applied the 2.2 upgrade to my Evo, but have not seen a real HDR app yet.

True HDR On The Way

I decided that a True HDR app is overdue for the Android. As I work as a programmer and photographer I decided that I would take on the task of creating a True HDR app for the Android.

Keep your eyes out for the ApertureRing HDR App. I will have it up on the marketplace shortly after I get all of the bugs worked out.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago from India

      Good one but little old

    • aperturering profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Will - Thanks for your great questions.

      The first version of the application will be very simple and it will not actually create and HDR images, but will take a set of 3 or more photos at varying exposures. You can transfer the images over to your computer and create a true HDR image from them using Photomatix or your favorite HDR program.

      The next phase will be to work on the actual HDR end of the app. I do not plan on having the HDR images processed by the phone. Instead I will be creating a web service that the phone will upload the images to and the images will be converted into an HDR image that is sent back to the phone. Since the web service will cost money to run there probably will be a nominal fee for this portion of the app.

      By default I am planning to only return the tonemapped images to the phone, so there is one less image to transfer and there isn't much you can do with the .hdr file from your phone. If you want the .hdr file to work with in the future, I will add an option to email it to an address you specify. The hdr image will also be temporarily stored on the server, so you can make adjustments to the tonemapping without having to upload anything again.

      I have not made any decisions on which operators yet. I do plan on releasing it with 1-3 and then adding more over time.

      There will also be a web page that you can upload your images through, without the app.

    • aperturering profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Vasra, I am shooting to have this compatable with android 2.2 and up as that is when the new camera controls were added to the API.

    • aperturering profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Sorry for the delay, unfortunately I had to put this project on hold because of problems with the application crashing. Oddly the problem is with the camera previewing sample straight from the SDK, that provides the live view when you turn the camera on. The code I added for taking multiple shots and adjusting the aperture works fine though.

      Hopefully I will be getting back to this project soon.

    • profile image

      James Bond 

      7 years ago

      wow, this is a pretty old post..... still no true HDR for Android. :(

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Would gladly pay for this app! iphone is killing it with the camera...

      Evo 4g

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Would love to get a TrueHDR app on the Android OS.

      Does it require a specific version of Android (2.2, 2.3 or 3.0)?

      Please post about progress, if you are still working on this.


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Any updates to this.?.?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Keep up the good work, I would gladly pay for this app.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Could you provide us with some more details on the application you're writing yourself:

      - How do you plan on getting the saturation curve of the camera? Manually or do you have some details on the camera that is inside the device?

      - Are images saved in 12bpp or in RGBE format? (I hope you're not only thinking of storing the final result after tonemapping to disk)

      - Will there be global and local tonemap operators? and to follow up on that:

      - Which tonemapping operator(s) will be implemented?

      - Will your app allow for blooming?

      I'd assume a global tonemap operator such as a a sigmoidal curve would be the way I'd first go as it easiest to implement, relatively inexpensive and will allows people to "intuitively" play around with the parameters of the curve to set the expose they want.

      Looking forward to your comments.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'd gladly pay a few bucks for that. I've been looking for a true HDR app for months and all I can find is stupid simulated HDR. With some luck my camera might become actually passable for outdoors. I eagerly await your release.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      If u need someone to test. Let me know. I have experience with her photography and would love to help anyway I can.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Really? An HDR app for Android? Man, this is a welcome thing. I left the iPhone and never looked back, but I have really missed the wealth of true HDR apps available there. Hope this one comes to fruition.


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