A smartphone’s camera is as good as the software inside. This is something we tech geeks tell ourselves and with good reason. If you notice the mobile cameras that we’ve had so far since the past few years, nothing much has changed (except for Nokia’s innovation in the field with Pureview tech). What’s changed though is the software on board and users can finally do things which were only pipe dreams back in the day. One such feature is HDR or High Dynamic Range. This feature enables the users to get optimum detail out of their photos compared to normal (or RAW) images. This feature is now seen on smartphones like the iPhone 4S/5, the LG Nexus 4 and plenty of other smartphones. But with the kind of modding and development happening in the field of Android, it was only a matter of time we thought, until other Android users got a taste of HDR photography. And thanks to the folks at CyanogenMod this feature has now come to most Android smartphones, if not all. The team has brought this functionality for almost every device running on CyanogenMod version 10.1.
What’s interesting is that the HDR function works seamlessly with devices which do not support it out of the box and it appears as if the Nexus 4 was taken as a reference for this feature. It’s a pretty simple process really. After this tweak, the camera (if opted for HDR) takes images at three different exposure levels – low, medium, high and stitches them together for one beautiful HDR image. This is a stock CM10.1 feature, so users have to make sure there are no other camera apps installed. The CyanogenMod team wants to make sure that all smartphones running on CM10.1 are able to use this feature, which is why they advise device owners to use a tripod for better looking HDR images. This is because not all Android smartphones pack the same camera sensor or hardware, so the results might vary device to device. This applies only for older devices though, so for those who recently got one of those Jelly Bean smartphones, I guess there’s nothing to worry about. HDR comes built in with most flagships these days, so I guess this feature won’t make much noise with flagship device owners. But since CM covers a wide array of devices, there’s a genuine cause for concern.
In all fairness, using a tripod on a smartphone doesn’t exactly seem like the best idea out there, but it’s something which the team recommends, so make sure you’re covered if you intend on doing professional photography. So for people willing to get the best out of their images, the Sony Xperia Z, the HTC One or the likes of the Nexus 4, iPhone 5 seems like the best bet, as it has all these features and a lot more to brag of. Photosphere on the Nexus 4 is something which hasn’t exactly received the publicity it deserves and we’re hoping it will catch up with the industry soon. But CM10.1 is a lifeline for people with older hardware, who are left in the dark by the manufacturers due to slow roll out of updates or none at all in some cases. So for those smartphones, CM10.1 is a great alternative to get new and improved features on relatively older hardware.
If you happen to be running CyanogenMod 10.1, make sure you try out the new HDR feature (without shaking the device too much) and let us know how it went for you.