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iOS 7.1 brings auto HDR mode to iPhone 5S


iOS 7.1 has been officially released and is available now for all iPads except the first-generation, and all iPhone models from the iPhone 4 onwards. As well as various bug fixes (iPhone 4 users will be pleased to note that Apple claims iOS 7.1 will be significantly more usable on their phones) iOS 7.1 also brings design tweaks and support for Apple's 'CarPlay'. 

From a photographic point of view the only major change in iOS 7.1 is a new 'auto' HDR mode for the flagship iPhone 5S. This makes the phone's HDR high dynamic range mode automatic depending on the shooting situation. Although it's a small change, auto HDR mode is a nice addition to the iPhone 5S's feature set. We haven't been able to try it out meaningfully yet, but we'll update this story when we get a sense of how well the system works. 

Until then, check out our full review of the iPhone 5S's camera, if you haven't already.


Total comments: 15

It's a shame:
in early iOS7 version HDR stood enabled when you have enabled it once.
In an update this feature was removed.
Now you have to switch on HDR every time you start the camera app!

HDR on iPhone is a allways on feature for me, it's perfect (not like the artificial jagged images on the S5!).
It produces in 99.99 % of all cases better photos than standard photo and in the 0.01% you still can use the normal picture!


Cool, just ordered one yesterday. New features before I even get it!


Yeah, but still without exposure compensation.


Yup, this sucks - particularly because all the other smartphone OS'es have supported Exp. Comp right from the beginning (for many years).

NOTE: some iOS apps do have "fake" Exp. Comp. I've written a detailed analysis on them at

1 upvote

The iPhones have "spot metering" which I GREATLY prefer to my exposure compensation in my Galaxy Note II.

With a bright background, I can get the right face exposure on an iPhone with one touch. With exposure compensation, it's three-4 touches and it's still not enough compensation.

Spot metering wins every single time.

1 upvote

Yup, spot metering is indeed useful. However, it's far harder (and sometimes downright impossible) to use when you plan to shoot true stitched HDR (and not the semi-HDR offered by almost all handsets, all the iPhones included, with 1.5...2EV added DR only). Then, proper exp. comp., particularly paired with exp. bracketing (which is also missing from the iPhone), is far more usable / faster.

Edited 40 seconds after posting
1 upvote

For example, with the iPhone, which lacks manual focus (or, at least, forced focus to infinity), there are some cases when it's simply impossible to properly underexpose a shot to make as good a HDR stitch as possible.

For example, where would you spot meter in the following shot? (Here, I assume using the stock Camera app and not a third-party one. For third-party apps, it's possible to use separate focus and exposure points.)

On the Sun? Then, you'll get a severely defocussed image:

Again, this isn't an issue if you use third-party apps. I just hate switching between third-party apps and the stock Camera app in iOS for a very simple reason: the former can't make native pano or native semi-HDR shots, unlike the stock Camera client. This means you need to switch every time you want to shoot pano / semi-HDR.

1 upvote

(Unless you jailbreak and use CameraTweak, of course. I've recently posted a review of the now-iOS7-compliant CameraTweak 2 to . I highly recommend that tweak if you don;t want to use third-party apps.)

1 upvote

to THE iPhone 5s. Lets at least get the grammar right.


It's known as "headline style" where small words can be omitted. By the way, you omitted an apostrophe in "Let's" so something about pot, kettle and black:D

Edited 15 seconds after posting

You should have capitalized "to".


Does auto-HDR mode work for video? That would open up a world of possibilities.

Barney Britton

It does not - just stills.


Galaxy S5 will have HDR mode for video.
Unsure how it will work, i.e. true HDR or just fake HDR.
From the video it looks promising, though.

Lars Rehm

Sony Xperia Z1 has HDR video too. The frame is quite heavily cropped for frame alignment which indicates that it is "real" HDR. I think the HTC One had it too.

Total comments: 15
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