Hydra: Innovative iOS App for HDR Photography

Hydra: Innovative iOS App for HDR Photography

In the realm of High Dynamic Range (HDR) applications, I’ve encountered a variety, with varying degrees of success. The newly launched Hydra, priced at $2.99, stands out with its robust performance and innovative features that significantly enhance photos under challenging light conditions.

Hydra distinguishes itself from other HDR apps by its ability to capture both videos and still images. It features a low light mode that combines up to 40 images to minimize noise, a high-resolution mode that can produce a 32 MP image from an 8 MP camera, and a zoom mode that cleverly manipulates pixels to offer 2x and 4x zoom capabilities that maintain a high quality.

Hydra: Innovative iOS App for HDR Photography

The HDR mode in Hydra is particularly effective for scenes with a mix of bright and dark areas. Unlike the basic HDR feature in Apple’s Camera app, Hydra’s results are more pronounced and visually striking.

When I tested it, the app quickly took 12 exposures of a scene with a bright window and a darker interior, merging them into a well-balanced photo that captured detailed highlights and shadows. Users can adjust the exposure level to their preference, and I found the medium preset to be quite effective.

The video mode also impressed me, providing better exposure control than Apple’s native camera app. The low light mode was another standout, significantly reducing sensor noise by stacking 20 images, transforming what would typically appear as a noisy mess into a clear and detailed photo.

The digital zoom function also exceeded my expectations. While it can’t defy the laws of physics, the digitally zoomed images were surprisingly clear and superior to those from other digital zooms I’ve tried.

Additionally, the app offers options to upscale images to 16 MP and 32 MP, allowing for finer detail comparison between the original 8 MP and enhanced versions.

It’s important to keep the camera steady when using Hydra to avoid blurring, although the software does a commendable job of optimizing the images regardless. For best results, using a mini tripod or stabilizing the camera against a solid support is advisable. Even when shooting handheld, the results were impressive.

Attached photos demonstrate the camera’s performance on a cloudy day, highlighting the improvements in dynamic range and noise reduction.

Hydra is a revolutionary HDR app that not only enhances photo quality but also adds HDR video recording and exceptional low light performance. Currently available at a 40% discount, it is a must-have for iOS photography enthusiasts.


Patricia is a well-respected author and tech enthusiast who has made significant contributions to the Apple community. Writing for TUAW, Patricia brings a wealth of knowledge about Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. Her insightful articles and guides help readers navigate the ever-evolving world of Apple technology. With a knack for breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand content, Patricia has become a trusted voice for Apple fans everywhere.