OnQ Blog

HDR Photography on an S4 Smartphone

17 Feb 2012

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is a popular technique that blends a series of photos taken at different exposures and combining them into one image that looks slightly out of this world, similar to a 3D scene taken from a video game. It’s an attempt to overcome the limited dynamic range of most camera sensors, developing a full range of tones that, at most, only real human eyeballs can detect. Ordinarily, HDR enthusiasts would use an expensive DSLR camera and process these photos on a separate system using expensive editing software. But equipped with a powerful mobile processor, multiple photos taken at different exposures and software post-processing can all be done on a single device as small as a smartphone.

Snapdragon S4 processors are integrated with a powerful image signal processor (ISP), as well as a powerful “Krait” CPU, designed to make HDR photography quick and easy to use. Aim and shoot as you normally would, while remaining as still as possible (you want the three exposures to be exactly the same) . With the camera app’s direct hardware access, three exposures are taken in rapid succession (normal, underexposed, and overexposed) and then processed to produce a single HDR image. The results can be quite dramatic as shown from the HDR images below (furthest right), which were taken with a Snapdragon S4 equipped Smartphone. HDR turns your new Smartphone or tablet into a reliable camera and helps make you a better photographer in the process.

Original Photo

HDR Photo

Original Photo

HDR Photo

Engage with us on


Francisco Cheng

Director, Technical Marketing

More articles from this author

About this author