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What is iOS Smart HDR?

HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is one of the most sought-after features of a mobile camera. Here is everything you need to know about the iPhone’s take on HDR tech.

The latest iPhone 13 series is known for its impressive camera setup, using features like Night Mode and Portrait Mode to capture scenes in great detail.

And the most recent iPhones also feature Smart HDR, allowing users to take even more incredible pictures thanks to the technology.

If you’re interested in learning more about iOS Smart HDR and how it can affect your photography, keep reading.

What is HDR?

Before we look at what Smart HDR is, we’re going to touch on what HDR is and how it can improve pictures.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it allows your camera to shoot in high-contrast environments, taking multiple photos in rapid succession and then blending those photos together to bring the most detailed and accurate photo to the user.

Using HDR will help to balance out the lightest and the darkest areas in a photo, ensuring that your photo isn’t washed out or completely black, improving the dynamic range in an image.

The feature helps to make lifeless colours look more vibrant and to bring more energy to your photos, although it’s important to note that HDR works best for static images, such as a picture of a woodland scene. If you’re wanting to capture movement and motion, like someone playing football, HDR can be less helpful since it takes multiple shots, which can result in a blurry image.

On an iPhone, the camera automatically blends photos together to create an HDR image. This feature can be turned off in Settings.

What is iOS Smart HDR?

More recent iPhones feature Smart HDR, which improves upon standard HDR by utilising the Apple Bionic Chips. Originally, the A12 Bionic brought Smart HDR into the fold, but in the current iPhone 13 range, the A15 Bionic makes use of Smart HDR 4, the most recent iteration of the technology.

Apple claims that Smart HDR 4 has improved colour, contrast and lighting for each subject within a group photo. The company also states that it can help capture details in challenging conditions, like a dark environment, and it is aided by the improved Night Mode.

Smart HDR 4 can recognise up to four different people in a scene and can optimise the skin tone for each person, making the scene and the subjects look more natural.

This is essentially an improved version of standard HDR, with AI that can better determine the dynamic range in an image to create the best shot for iPhone users.

What iPhone models feature HDR?

No matter what iPhone you are using, you likely will have access to HDR in some format. Check out the list of iPhones below that include HDR, although it’s important to note that these models do not include Smart HDR:

What iPhone models feature Smart HDR?

And here are all the phones that feature Smart HDR. It’s important to note that not all of these devices feature Smart HDR 4, as that is exclusive to the A15 Bionic chipset. However, all of these iPhones include Smart HDR in some format:

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