What is the difference between HDR modes, Auto HDR Smart HDR and how they affect the photo

HDR ā€” high dynamic range (High Dynamic Range). Technology extended dynamic range helps to make the pictures visually closer to how the human eye perceives the surrounding picture.


Smart HDR acts smarter than the average HDR this mode on iPhone XS iPhone XS iPhone Max and XR. Smart HDR full advantage of the improved camera sensors, processor power A12 Bionic, machine learning, artificial intelligence and computer vision. This mode helps to take pictures with a large dynamic range on the iPhone.

Smart HDR reports more details and makes the colors richer

Compared to the normal and auto mode HDR Smart HDR on iPhone 2018 not available previous models that do not have a quick sensor and zero shutter lag.

What is HDR

HDR helps to take nice photos in challenging lighting conditions and high contrast. This mode makes the layout of several images to display a range beyond the capabilities of a single frame. While shooting with HDR mode enabled, the iPhone camera takes three shots with different exposures: normal lighting, with a focus on the most bright areas and then dark, the result is a photograph that contains the maximum detail in the shadows and well lit areas. Mode is ideal for shaded objects, such as a person against the bright sky.

Left picture with the focus on an object, notice how “broken” the sky and the light parts of water. On the right the focus on the sky ā€” there are parts of the cloud, but the overall photo is too dark.

In the center photo, which was the result of using HDR which took the best parts in perekopirovannye and underexposed pictures due to it contrasting picture with good detail.

Auto HDR on the iPhone X

On the iPhone X has a HDR mode that can work automatically, turn on while shooting with difficult lighting. IPhone X Auto HDR works with primary and front camera, but it can be disabled in the settings.

Smart HDR

New Smart mode HDR run itself, at any time, given the conditions of shooting, to improve the quality of the image. Unlike the previous two modes, Smart learned how to work with camera functions “Portrait”, “Portrait lighting,” panoramic images “Live Photo”.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball compared the “Auto HDR” iPhone X “Smart HDR” iPhone XS. The difference in the photo speaks for itself.

Left: auto HDR on the iPhone X ( original ). Right: Smart HDR on the iPhone XS ( original )

The photo that taken on the iPhone XS with Smart HDR mode, look at the chairs in the right part of the image and on the face of the clown. Also note the logo of the “Shelton Theater” in the back of the mouth of the clown, there are more details and the inscription well different.

Modes “Auto HDR” and “HDR Smart” can be disabled in the camera settings to manual to use HDR when it is needed. On all iPhones that support HDR, this function it is possible to manage on your own in the Camera app. There is no need to go into “Settings” simply click “HDR” at the top, then turn on or off.

All iPhone models up to “X” while shooting in HDR mode retain two photos: the original and made with enhanced dynamic range. To save space, you can only save a picture taken with HDR. For this you need to go to “Settings” then “Camera” and disable saving the original image.

Clifton Nichols

Clifton Nichols

Hi! Iā€™m Clifton and I am a full-stack engineer with a passion for building performant and scalable applications that are beautiful and easy to use.

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