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GLOBAL – The Nokia N8 packs a punch when it comes to taking amazing photos. That’ll be down to the Carl Zeiss, 12-megapixel camera that’s onboard. But sometimes, to get that extra-perfect shot, you’ll need some software. Today, we’re talking about HDR and the Nokia N8. Join us as we create our own HDR images, using HDR Photo Camera from Ovi Store.

In brief

  • HDR stands for High Dynamic Range
  • It lets you take a series of photos with varying exposure
  • Download the HDR Photo Camera App from Ovi Store
  • Check out the results below

If you’re even mildly into photography, then it’ll be worth spending the £4.00 for the HDR Photo Camera app from Ovi Store as it’s a great way of jazzing up a photo. Pros might prefer the manual process using Photoshop or similar (see below), but much of the same quality is available right on your phone using this app.

For those unfamiliar with HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging, HDR is a technique that allows you to take a series of images of the same subject, with each photo being subjected to slightly different exposure levels. These are then fused together to give a unique image with all the different range of colours viewable, in one photo.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed this app, your phone is set up to take some extra-amazing shots. Upon loading, your viewfinder will open to show you what your phone’s camera can currently see, along with some other icons in the UI.

On the bottom is the settings menu, as represented by the usual cog symbol, a soft camera key and an exit button. Within the settings menu is where you can change the exposure levels, change the image quality or fuse images together – manually. On the top, is the flash settings and a gallery symbol, that when pressed, sets up your camera up for auto photo-taking and fusing once finished. Otherwise, you can take single shots at your own time and fuse them together manually from within the settings.

For auto-timed photo-taking, make sure the gallery symbol is on and has what looks like an explosion laid on top – I think this represents fusion. It’s not clear.

Find your subject and point your 12-megapixel camera lens at it. Before you press the capture button, you’ll need to make sure you’re going to be able to keep a steady hand for the next five seconds, otherwise the shot won’t look its best. I found leaning on something helped – such as a wall, or a fence. Press the capture button and wait for the timer to run out. While the images are being taken, the app will automatically adjust the exposure levels after each image and, finally, go through a processing stage to put all three images together. This usually takes about a minute.

I’ve taken quite a few HDR images of different subjects, and while you won’t immediately see the difference, it’s not until you compare the finished result with the same photo taken without using the HDR Photo Camera app that you can really see the difference. I’ve put a couple of comparisons here to show the difference.

The first image is a non-HDR image and the second is the HDR one.

As you can see, the HDR image shows more detail. The clouds now have shape and depth, rather than just being a plain white canvas and the windows on the buildings aren’t so dark and empty looking.

This next photo is a HDR image of a London street and what follows are the three photos of different exposure that were used to make up the completed image.

HDR mix:

At 2.0 exposure level:

At 0.0 (normal) exposure level:

At -2.0 exposure level:

Again, the finished image incorporates all the different exposures has to offer. Resulting in a much bluer sky, more textured brick work and generally a brighter image.

While using HDR Photo Camera is a great way of instantly sprucing up your photos with no extra equipment, another great way of doing it is to use Photoshop. Manually. Unfortunately, I’ve not got a super-duper version that allows me to do that, so here’s a video of it in action. This will give even better results.

We’ve spotted some great HDR photos from Richard Dorman through his Twitter profile – Sheridan01. He’s gone down the manual route – using Photomatix Pro – and has produced some amazing photos. Feel free to check out his Flickr page for all of his shots.

Have you taken any HDR photos using a Nokia phone? Let us know, below.