Awesome! :^) Testing the HDR Photo Camera app in a thrift shop
You must know the song Thrift Shop by Macklemore (if not, here's the clip). It inspired me when I was thinking of a fun location to test the HDR Photo Camera App I recently installed on my Nokia Lumia 920. I'm no HDR expert, not even close really. The real master of HDR photography I know is Peter Meijs, who wrote this article about the subject at the PureViewClub in September already.
Also, there is a HDR App for the Nokia 808 PureView, which was offered at the PureViewClub exclusively - and you can still download it here. I didn't know of a HDR App for Windows Phone 8 though, so after I was tipped I was interested in trying it out for myself. But what would be a fun place?
A thrift shop, (or charity shop), seemed quite suitable to me, also because HDR tends to give things a strange effect - my guess was that it would only become stronger with a hybrid collection of colorful old stuff (must be my fascination for Time Warps). In this post I'll show you a selection of today's shots and will write a bit about using the app itself.
First, as you might have guessed, the app will make three shots of the same scene: one "normal", one 1,5 underexposed and 1,5 overexposed - you can change the amount of under- and overexposure.
Also, it offers "Anisotropic alignement" for hand-held shooting. I had to look it up, but it's standard "on", which is good since I did all these first shots without a tripod (I don't have a good tripod for my Lumia 920)
I used the standard settings, whereas I could (and maybe should) have used high resolution processing. That will take (much) more time, but it will get you a better result (I just discovered that setting writing this post, ahum :-)
When taking the shot, you will see a composition grid, virtual horizon and guidance messages, which are quite handy when using the app handheld, but you could disable all.
In the screen menu, you can change the format from 16:9 to 4:3, switch HDR on/off (I have no idea why I would ever switch it off) or use the flash... Again, with HDR photography I don't really see a reason to use the flash, but what do I know.
Also, there is a self-timer and you can choose between 5 seconds or 10 seconds before the shot is made.
After making the shot you can open it by swiping to the right, or open it later from the camera roll (it will be possible to open it in the HDR Photo Camera App). The second option on the right side in the screen is to share your shot, and the button you will probably use the most is the one with FX on it.
In FX, you see several ways to change your HDR shot: Intense HDR, Smooth HDR, Bright HDR, Enhanced HDR. Also you can change the first (basic) HDR shot to Sepia, Warm, Cold, B&W, Invert, Negative, Posterize and Solarize. I'm writing it the way the menu is showing it by the way.
It's similar to what you know from other photograhy apps (like Instagram and what not): you'll be able to change the shot the way you like it best. In this case you may even save every option you'd like to choose seperately.
I made several HDR versions of all these shots, you'll find all original shots on a dedicated set on the PureViewclub Flickr Photostream. Like I said: I guess I should have chosen for high-res processing, but it will give you a pretty good idea about what you can expect from the app.
You can try this app and fool around with it a bit in trial mode - but that won't allow you to save your shots. I'm not being sponsored by the app maker - I just really think this app is worth the money I spent on it (€ 2,99 in my case).
If you're interested in it after this post you can download it here. I didn't try it on any other windows phone device yet, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work on other devices. Try it first though, just to be sure.
So how does it compare to the HDRapp for the Nokia 808 PureView? For one thing: that one is free. But everything works manually - you'll first have to make three (or more) shots using bracketing, than open the app, choose the files, change the contrast etc until your satisfied and than save that one shot as HDR.
So it's fun, but it's not nearly as practical so I didn't really use it much myself to be honest (call me lazy). The Windows Phone app - however relatively expensive for an application - works so much easier I'm probably going to find it hard not to use it with my Lumia 920.
There's more good news by the way: I just discovered it's also available in the OVI store (!), but I just found it's even more expensive in my country (€4,50). You can try what it costs in your country starting from the official website HDRPhotoCamera - heck, it's even available for one other platform, and it isn't even Android!