HDR example

A couple of weeks ago, I did a side-by-side comparison of the cameras on the HTC EVO 4G, the HTC EVO 3D, and the HTC EVO 4G LTE. The clear loser in that battle was the EVO 3D, and it did not merit bringing it back for this round – it just did not look particularly good for any of what I was looking at today, so I decided to drop it.

My attempt today is to compare the original EVO 4G, the EVO 4G LTE, and the HDR mode on the EVO 4G LTE next to each other.

The photos from each of these modes come in at 1-4MB each, so I have significantly scaled down the photos for web display. However, there is a link at the end of the piece should you care to download very large pictures.

I will be going into what I saw, and what I see in the very large pictures, so if you can’t see it, download the extremely large image and you probably will.

Something to note – HDR stands for high dynamic range, and it’s a software mode on the HTC EVO 4G LTE stock software. There are similar mods for the EVO 4G and the EVO 3D, but no implementation there has ever seemed particularly effective, especially compared to the EVO 4G LTE right out of the box.

HDR takes a few photos very rapidly with different exposures, then paints a picture using more of the range of colors the camera has captured. HDR is pretty bad to use on any action shots, unless you’re attempting to have a couple of ghost images in the shot.

From left to right, for all photos it will be original EVO 4G, the EVO 4G LTE (standard setting, and the EVO 4G LTE (HDR settings).

The pictures of a Purple Heart plant are pretty interesting. The color of the bottle seems most vibrant in the original EVO 4G photo, but the stones are washed out and all detail in the mulch is just gone. The EVO 4G LTE on stock mode and on HDR completely lost the detail in the little flower closest to the camera, but were significantly better on rock detail. The rocks are just washed out in the original photo.

Winner for close up detail: OG EVO
Winner for detail: EVO 4G LTE stock
Closest real world match: EVO 4G LTE stock

Forgive me on this one; I got the EVO 4G LTE images swapped. This one is OG EVO, EVO 4G LTE HDR, EVO 4G LTE stock.

The grass shot gives an interesting view into the depth of field capabilities of the two cameras. The original EVO tended to focus on closer objects (as in the flower from the picture above) at the expense of distant detail. The stock LTE was better, but the HDR mode pulled texture out of the picket fence to where you can see grains of wood.

Winner for close up detail: OG EVO
Winner for detail: EVO 4G LTE HDR
Closest real world match: EVO 4G LTE HDR

The flying pig shot is a lot of red and a lot of detail. Both the OG EVO and the EVO 4G LTE failed to focus to the pig properly; as a result, he’s a bit out of focus. The OG EVO managed to get the best shot of the back hooves, but the eyes are fuzzy.

One of the interesting things when you zoom into the HDR photo is you can see lines around any of the sharper objects. Those are caused by a different position in the camera as multiple images are being taken. In this case the camera moved because of a pesky heart beat.

It’s a bit hard to choose a clear winner in this as the LTE camera is showing more detail in the fuzzy picture than it is in the normal.

Winner for detail: EVO 4G LTE stock / EVO 4G LTE HDR
Closest real world match: EVO 4G LTE HDR

The dirty door was shot indoors in lower lighting conditions. To the left of the brass are some fingerprints. The OG EVO refused to properly focus after multiple tries and delivered a slightly out of focus image (noticible only at the doorknob.) You can see there are some shading to the left of the handle in the OG EVO photo, but no detail.

The EVO 4G LTE stock setting seemed to think my door was a gradient, and there’s really not much low-light detail there.

The HDR setting on the EVO 4G LTE put a texture to the door that it does not actually reflect real life. Also, after multiple takes, the brass handle always looks like it’s glowing or not in focus.

Winner for detail: EVO 4G LTE stock / OG EVO
Closest real world match: EVO 4G LTE HDR

The headset and red candle lighter shot was taken in a dark closet using a flash. It was bright enough to just barely see what I was taking a picture of and then be blinded by the flash.

All detail was lost on the OG EVO, although I believe it had focused correctly. The EVO 4G LTE managed to get the color of the lighter to pop out a bit, but the wall behind it looks like it was photoshopped in. The HDR setting on the EVO 4G LTE came the closest to looking like what I was taking a picture of, but it’s glowing internally.

Winner for detail: EVO 4G LTE HDR
Closest real world match: EVO 4G LTE stock

A close-up picture of a headset on carpet – well lit, no flash.

With the original EVO the detail close up is amazing, but as far as I can tell in this picture the headphone is floating in some Quaker Oats. The camera loses detail approximately 2/3rds up into the picture, and anything half an inch further from where the focus was. No stitching is visible in the headset on the bottom.

The EVO 4G LTE stock shot was taken at a slightly better angle; however, everything is in focus down to the carpet. Stiching and texture are visible on the headset.

The HDR shot on the EVO 4G LTE washed out the top of the headset every time I shot it. Close up texture is lost as the HDR over-exposed it on every shot.

Winner for detail: EVO 4G LTE stock
Closest real world match: EVO 4G LTE stock

Links: Plant and bottle | Flying pig | Grass shot | Dirty door | Low light lighter | Headset