HDR+ on Google Nexus 5 detailed: smarter, reduces motion blur
The built-in HDR mode, present in the camera apps on most high-end and some mid-range smartphones nowadays, isn't exactly what we'd call a new feature. It has been around for several years, made possible with the introduction of better, faster, lag-free smartphone cameras. It works by taking multiple photos at different exposure levels, which are then digitally combined together to produce a photo with a broader dynamics range. In a properly taken HDR shot, darker areas aren't too dark and lighter areas aren't too bright.
Because of the way smartphones compose HDR photos, the software that takes care of stitching them together is no less important than the camera used to capture the original image. Google's developers are perfectly aware of that, which is why they have put extra effort into improving the HDR shots taken by the Nexus 5 smartphone. The handset features the so-called HDR+ mode – a smarter HDR mode that can be used for capturing "vivid photos by day and sharper photos by night". When enabled, it can improve not only scenes containing both bright and dark sections, but also low-light images and shots with moving objects in them. Again, the software takes a rapid burst of photos and uses advanced algorithms to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of the combined image. If movement is detected, HDR+ takes only the sharpest single shot for that area, thus reducing motion blur.
To give you a better understanding as to how an HDR+ image is superior to a standard one, we've attached several images below, demonstrating how much of an improvement can be expected from the mode. Impressed by the results? Or were you expecting more? Let us know down in the comments!