It’s not all that often that I find an app that genuinely merits a full review, but Hydra, recently released on the App Store, deserves one.
There are literally thousands of Camera apps in the App Store, so to stand out you really have to be doing something different and do it well. That’s where Hydra has achieved its goal.
There are a five modes in Hydra: HDR, HDR Video, Low Light, Zoom and Hi-Res.
Hydra’s HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode works like all others, taking multiple pictures at different exposures and then layering them. The difference with Hydra is that when you take your shot, it scans through the full range of exposures and then takes an image at every one. This can be up to 12 layers of detail! Once your image is taken, it can be processed with an extra HDR filter to bring out the colours.
The HDR Video works by using an image taken with HDR to set the colour levels. The videos output at 1080 and work particularly well in low light situations.
Speaking of low light, Low Light is the next mode. Like HDR it works through different exposures but arranges sections of the image to bring out the most detail possible without a HDR effect.
Zoom works by cropping in to the centre of the screen and takes multiple images and layers them whiles photomerging to create an 8MP zoomed in image. This greatly reduces the issue of just cropping an 8MP image to make it seem like a zoom has occurred.
Lastly and most impressively is Hi-Res. This is the main reason I initially bought the app, as the promise of 32MP stills from an 8MP sensor had me really interested. I wasn’t disappointed. Select Hi-Res, press the shutter button and like in HDR mode, the app starts taking multiple images, but rather than the 12-16 I’ve seen for HDR, it takes somewhere in the region of 44 shots. It then merges them all together to create an image that’s 4896 × 6528 pixels, which is effectively 32MP.
These Hi-Res images are, as you’d expect, extremely detailed and works their best for static subjects. With there being so many images taken in on go, moving whilst shooting will result in a blurred effect on the edges of the image, which isn’t what we always want, but can create a nice effect.
Hydra has had a couple of stability updates of the last few months and has been the better for it. If you take images regularly on your iPhone and want the option of taking even higher quality pictures, I can’t recommend Hydra enough.
I hope you enjoy some of the un edited sample images in the gallery below, and if you’d like to buy Hydra, you can get it from the App Store.