Not All HDRs are the Same

on February 27, 2014
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* The following is an individual opinion of editor ASyk and does not represent the official views of the company.


There are more than several ways to take a great photo. In fact, there are so many factors you have to consider, if you want to be called a photography expert. What if you don’t? What if you do not want to study all the things that goes into photography and simply want to take great photos more easily with your mobile device. Obviously, there are many things we can tell you, but we picked one. This function of the camera on your smartphone is one of the most used smartphone functions. Lets to talk about the HDR, but not just any HDR, Samsung ISOCELL’s HDR!


Smart WDR Technology


What is HDR?


The word HDR has been around us for a while, especially, as one of the camera modes or as a filter in a photo editing app. It could be mistaken as high definition resolution because when it is taken right, the photo comes out much dynamic than regular modes. However, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range Imaging.


Generally, cameras have its limits when it comes to capturing a scene the way we see it with our human eyes. This becomes more noticeable when we don’t have the right light setting. For example, even when the sun is at the highest point, cameras tend to have issues when capturing a shaded area underneath the sunlight. It is like they are confused which one they should focus on. This is because many cameras have the inability to process the ratio between the lightest and the darkest pixel, which we call the ‘full dynamic range’.


HDR, high dynamic range, has been the technology that seemed to solve this issue and you might actually felt that way as well, knowingly, or unknowingly. To explain how HDR works to the full extent, I would need a blackboard and a chalk to write all the algorithms that I don’t even fully understand (or understand at all). So here is an easy version that we all can understand.



HDR vs HDR on ISOCELL (Smart WDR technology)


There are two ways to achieve HDR images. First way to achieve a HDR image is combining multiple images with different exposure levels. With short exposure, you can get images with pixels that highlight the detail of the bright areas. With long exposure, you can get images with pixels that highlight the details of the low-light areas. Once, these images are combined, with the compressing technology called ‘tone mapping’, you can get an image that is similar to real life.


As you can image, if you are using this method, you need to hold the camera as still as possible until it takes all the photos in different exposure levels. Otherwise, it will be combining slight different images, which will result images with ghost-like glares (think of the blurry parts when you are taking a photo of someone or something that is moving fast). Then you will also have to wait for the final HDR image until the combining process is completed.


Samsung WDR technology


Second way, which is the way ISOCELL uses, is to work with an image sensor that is able to capture and process the wide dynamic range of the real scene. Conventionally, this image sensor needs time to accurately analyze the real scene and compute, adjust and apply the data into an image, which can result in some idle time. Moreover, the image sensor processes the image in horizontal lines, therefore the color of each line could be differently processed and result in unsatisfactory image.


However, ISOCELL consists of pixels that can support long exposure and short exposure and both type of exposures are calculated for each frame simultaneously. This calculated raw data goes through the companion chip’s reprocessing (merge and pixel tone mapping), which results in HDR quality image. This reprocessing technology of Samsung’s HDR happens in real-time, therefore you can preview HDR images and even record videos in HDR. As tacky as it may sound, it gives better image in real-time.


This means more quality photos you can upload on your social channel! Isn’t that half of the fun anyways? Uploading high quality photos?


Anyway, are you feeling the need of a HDR technology that gives HDR images in real-time now? It wasn’t until pretty recently that HDR was implemented on smartphones. Therefore, the real-time HDR in Samsung’s ISOCELL is a pretty significant achievement. However, most importantly, it gives user to take HDR quality pictures easily. There will not be any need to process it with a HDR filter each time you want a HDR quality photo. There is no need to find the place with the perfect light settings to take a photo. You can take literally take very high quality pictures whenever and wherever you want. #nofilter



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