HDR Photo Camera for Windows Phone 8 updated, adds settings and more [Updated]

The Windows Phone 8 app, HDR Photo Camera was updated to version today. Along with performance tweaks to address stability issues, the HDR camera app now has a settings menu and the ability to review the source photos used to create the HDR image.

The settings gives users more control over the capture parameters and a high resolution processing option (overall image resolution remains at 7.1MP at the 16:9 aspect resolution). HDR photos are basically the result of merging a bracketed image (same picture taken at different exposures) that creates an image with more vibrant colors and greater dynamic range between the lighter and darker areas.

HDR Photo Camera Settings

Additional settings give you the ability to save source images to your Pictures Hub, turn on or off the guidance messages ("hold phone steady", "processing", etc.), and fine tune the merge or fuse parameters (contrast, saturation, and exposedness).

Unfortunately a trial version wasn't added with this update to let you try things out before buying. The full version of HDR Photo Camera is currently running $2.49 and you can find it here (opens in new tab) at the Windows Phone Store.

Thanks, Lukas, for the tip!

Update: When the update for HDR Photo Camera became available yesterday, the sun had already set and we didn't have a chance to test things out.  We had the opportunity to take the updated version of HDR Photo Camera out this morning for a quick test drive.  The lagginess and stability issues were not present on either the HTC 8X or Nokia Lumia 920.  The app ran a lot better and the settings definitely helps fine tune things.  I also found that the default settings gave images a little more contrast.  The first image was taken with the first version of HDR Photo Camera, the second from the updated version.  Both from the Lumia 920, using default settings and taken under similar overcast conditions.

Original Version of HDR Photo Camera

Updated Version of HDR Photo Camera

From within the settings on the updated version of HDR Photo Camera i can tweak things to brighten the image, increase the color saturation, and boost contrast.  I think the developer tweaked the internal color balance settings giving the final image a little more warmth.

Time between images has increased slightly but you really need a tripod or a stationary object to steady your Windows Phone camera with.  If you don't there will be enough inconsistency in the photos where proper alignment of the three photos won't be possible.  In having the opportunity to take the updated version out for a test drive, I found it to improve HDR Photo Camera with regards to image quality and application stability.  I still wouldn't mind seeing the option to shoot in 4:3 aspect and a trial version become available.  Maybe with the next update we'll see these added to the mix.

QR: HDR Photo Camera

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • That's convenient lol
  • No trial? Not worth the risk imo
  • All apps should be trial enabled by default, I wonder why Ms set it as optional for developers. I really cant see a scenario of an App without a trial.
  • And that's why I have tried all of your apps. And still have a lot installed. (security tool kit, and turbo camera) Which I'll be installing on my next windows phone.
  • Thank you :)
  • Would be cool for some sample images before anyone drops money, since there is no trial. All the samples in the App's page look horrible.
  • I've had since the beginning....its not the best camera app but its getting better. Glad to see developer add more features. Its by far, the best HDR app for WP8. (should be built into OS) price is kinda steep for a camera function...but i spend more on my bagel every morning.
  • No twial, me no buoy.
  • I'm right there with ya. No try it out, no buy it.
  • That no trial version is definitely a problem...wouldn't mind seeing a short video of the app in action
  • Yeah I looked for a trial too... When reviews are iffy and there's no trial I just can't pull the trigger just to see it
  • Thought about doing a video but really there isn't much to see. You launch the app and you get the camera viewfinder. Line up your shot, hit the shutter button, hold things rock steady, wait until the app takes three photos and then processes the HDR image.
  • George, can u take some pics and post them? Would love to see how the new settings make pics look.
  • They posted an article with sample pictures the other day. Just go back a little.
  • They did a review 1 day, 9 hours ago (as of typing this) and it's still in the 'Latest Reviews' section on the right - http://www.wpcentral.com/giving-your-photos-little-flair-hdr-photo-camera-windows-phone-8
  • I'll see what I can do... daylight was already gone by the time we saw the update.  If the weather cooperates, I'll take it out tomorrow morning and update the post with some sample shots.
  • I think this app is a great idea but maybe needs a little more demonstration from the developer (and a TRIAL). It'd be nice to see the advantage that it can bring over the standard camera, while I know what it does, a picture tells a thousand words. On a side note, by the reviews it sounds like it needs more development, if reviews said it was the ants pants I'd not worry about a trial, but that's just me.
  • I'm facinated by the concept of HDR now that i know about it, but all the bad reviews have kept me at bay. Also the fact that HDR doesn't work with people in the photo (or any moving objects). I guess a true HDR camera with three lens will have to be made one day for this whole thing to take off.
  • No trial = fail... $2.49 is to high a price for an app I can't try.
  • Look at the reviews. Look at the comments section of the WMPoweruser website article.  Nothing glowing about this app. Does WPCentral actually test the apps or are these paid spots from the app developer just to get eyes on their app?  If you are going to feature apps, at least be honest if they stink or if they are awesome.
  • You can be 100% sure that wpcentral articles are absolutely neutral and super partes, I follow this site from day 1 for that reason :)
  • "Does WPCentral actually test the apps or are these paid spots from the app developer just to get eyes on their app?" Yes we do actually test the apps and no we do not get paid by developers for reviews.  I do not know if WMPoweruser does and I would rather comment on an app or game based on my experiences than reading what another website has to say on things. If you read my original post on HDR Photo Camera I noted the instability issues but never had the app crash.  The end product was nice but had a little lens flair.  We also note the absence of a trial version and that it would be nice to have one.
  • Great news on actually testing and not getting paid.  Can we update this with three comparison images? 1. Lumia 920 untouched image. 2. Lumia 920 HDR image (original version). 3. Lumia 920 HDR image (updated version).  Everything I have seen gives the Lumia 920 untouched image the edge without going through extra hoops for this app.
    Sorry to accuse, but with some of the apps getting features here, I was beginning to wonder.  We need to start holding developers to a higher standard, because that is what prospective smartphone buyers are doing.  We can't let HDR slide, just because their aren't other options.  If the app stinks, it stinks.  Period.
    Without a trial version of the software, I have to trust reviews and websites.  The price for this app is just too much.
  • @greg_mitch, version 2.0 of the app is dramatically improved and considering it's the only HDR option right, it is what it is. Having said that I bought it, use it and actually like the results in the updated version now. And yes, we only run posts on apps or games that we have tried or used.
  • A "real" HDR photo app would do what the iphone does: Image analysis and matching, so that even if you move your hand the images will align. I think it even does some optical flow calculations for moving objects.
  • I agree, every WP developer should deeply compare his app with ios/android similar apps before publishing, and try to develop it BETTER, as WP is a smarter os (now with wp8 SDK there are no excuses any more !!)!!
    I think this is a "moral" task for a WP developer ;)
  • The problem with a HDR app on wp8 at the moment is the SDK.  MS does not allow rapid fire shooting.  It's possible this is a hardware limitation though.  I really would like to see this changed, but unless you are on a tripod, this is useless. 
  • I have gotten some really amazing shots out of it just by propping the phone against a solid surface. Sure a tripod would be the best option but I sure wouldn't call it "worthless". After the update, I'm feeling like I'm getting my moneys worth.