Nokia Lumia 925 gets strapped to a copter in short film; major HDR Photo Camera update inbound

HDR Photo Camera is considered by many, including us, to be the go-to app for snapping high-dynamic range (HDR) photos. HDR photos are comprised of 3 or more images, each varying on exposure times, merged together to create a visually striking image. It’s quite the trend in photography these days and when done right, it looks great (when done poorly, it’s tacky).

Today, we have two bits of information to bring you, including the forthcoming version 3.5 of HDR Photo Camera, which should be on the Store in the next few hours. That update will bring many new requested features to really fill out the popular app.

The other is a project that involves strapping a Nokia Lumia 925 to a hexacopter for some amazing imagery captured, demonstrating the prowess of the 925’s PureView camera.

HDR Photo Camera v3.5 new features

HDR photo example

First up, version 3.5 of HDR Photo Camera has been published today. That update should be hitting the Windows Phone Store in the coming hours (we’re still seeing version 3.1 at the time of writing this article). What does version 3.5 bring to the table? He’s a peek:

  • Manual capture mode - This is a single frame mode useful in capturing fast moving scenes, such as sport events. HDR tone mapping filters can be applied in post processing (within the app)
  • Two new HDR filters (tone mapping)
  • Improved storage manager, including a much requested features such as: select all photos and batch save to phone library. Besides that the storage manager is now much more stable, being optimized for large number of stored image sets.
  • Exposure bracketing mode that allows to take the shots immediately one after the other and process them later

If you understand the HDR process, then the above should be self-explanatory and cause a stir. The ability to do a single-image HDR, whilst not “true” HDR, is still a useful trick for enhancing your photo. While it’s all dependent on how good the HDR tone mapping filters are implemented, it’s a great option to have for those fast moving moments.

Exposure bracketing, something which the Nokia Lumia 1020 received recently in the Pro Cam update, is also very useful as it removes the somewhat lengthy automatic post-processing that the app traditionally pursues after snapping an HDR set. That means you can take your three photos within a few seconds and run them through the HDR filters later, when you have some down time.

The improved storage manager will obviously make it easier to do on-device edits and to keep track of your creations.

Version 3.5 of HDR Photo Camera should be live in a few hours, if not now, for many of you. HDR Photo Camera runs for $2.99 with a free trial and can be found here in the Store. Windows Phone 8 only, 1MB [Update: the update version 3.5 is still pending approval, so look for it in a few days, sorry!]

QR: HDR Photo Camera

Lumia 925 goes airborne, takes pretty photos

HDR Photo Camera airborne

How does the Nokia Lumia 925’s camera do when strapped to a hexacopter? How do aerial HDR photos look of a town below? If you’re curious about answers to those questions, make sure you watch the two-minute short film by the developer of HDR Photo Camera and AerialMedia found on YouTube. It's quite drool worthy and worth sharing with others for a moment of humblebrag.

The result is a stunning demonstration of the Nokia’s optical-image stabilization (OIS) to keep the video steady and some fantastic images captured with HDR Photo Camera.

HDR Photo Camera airborne

Overall, not a bad promotion for Windows Phone and one of the best HDR apps around.

For more on Windows Phone photography, make sure you bookmark our resource center:

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • *925!!!!!
  • So, are we ever going to get HDR built in to our phones?
  • I'm sure Nokia will do it. Regardless, HDR is a finiky beast. Everyone has their idea of how it should look and varying algorithms, so even if Nokia does do it, not everyone will agree that it looks good or is ideal. Hence why third-party apps will always have their place.
  • For people who are not really interested in photography but can see the benefits of HDR, I think whatever Nokia comes out with will be enough.
  • if nokia made hdr built-in ,  with the help of scalado, auto mode would be a nice feature there.
  • Wow that looks amazing
  • Did you meant wp8, 1gb of ram or that the app is 1mb?
  • App size.
  • I want to build one of these. Where do I start guys?
  •  The only thing that has stopped me is the price. 
  • You might use this link. Gives project information about what you need and how to set up.
  • What's the difference between a picture taken by an HDR camera and our standard camera on our phones?
  • I somewhat explain that in the opening paragraph: it's three images, taken at different exposures, merged into a single photo to create a visually striking image.
  • An HDR image is usualy a composite of about three (or more) pictures that are superimposed. Each of those images has been exposed for different parts of the scene. Then the HDR program (in this case HDR Photo Camera for Windows Phone) takes those different images and combines them into one image that has a greater dynamic range than any one image could have. That's the basic idea behind HDR apps and photography. 
  • Best example is if you take a picture inside and there's a window. You typically end up either seeing washed out white at window or you can see outside but everything else inside is dark. With HDR it will blend both exposures (or in this case 3).
  • Very very nice looking.
  • Holly shit!this was shot in Romania in my home city of Brasov!by the way no one can mess with nokia when it comes to camers....:)
  • I now want that gold theme. Is that color exclusive? I can't find it on my 1020. Looks great.
  • anyone now an app on lumia 920 that takes photos with zero shutter lag, plz help me i would like to have that and not to wait for second or two to camera autofocus and take its time
  • Use Blink or Nokia Smart Cam. I've gotten used to using these lens when taking shots of my daughter and kids in the family.
  • Blink has terrible quality and tiny resolution. Its only good for making gifs. Smartcam is good though.
  • Does HDR Photo Camera (or any other app) allow saving .HDR files?  Or are they merged down into jpeg?
  • Yes, you can export the source images into the Saved Pictures album. The merged image is saved automatically into the Camera Roll.
  • If somone could give me a Lumia 925, That would be great.
  •  Quick note: the version 3.5 is still in review process on the store so it might take longer before it is available.
  • Wow, now I really regret that I bought the app, it's just bad. If the new version ain't better, I just flushed some money down the toilet of technology.
  • You know there's such a thing as a trial, right? Maybe try apps first... ;)
    Given the reviews though, I can't help but think that (as indicated in the article and Daniel in the comments) it's a matter of practice and preference.
  • @Tafsern Well, I hope that is just your first impression, and maybe you have not got the chance to test it properly. In any case, please do not hesitate to contact us, using our website. Feedback is very much appreciated.