App

What sort of black magic is this?

Despite sharing the same name as the villainous organization in the Marvel universe, this photography app promises to bring a positive resolution rather than world domination.

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Never work with animals or children. Even puppies.

Hydra makes some awfully big promises: to go beyond the limits of your devices capability! To create images up to 32 megapixels! To make everyone laugh at your jokes! Bar that last addition, has Hydra taken iPhotography to the next level?

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The HDR range works well in this image, allowing detail on the boat to become visible (bottom image)

Hydra has 5 modes; HDR, Video HDR, Lo-light, Zoom and Hi-res. The star feature of the app, ‘Hi-res’ uses your device’s camera to take a burst of up to 60 photos and then stitches them together creating a mega resolution result. Sounds feasible. But how does Hydra stack up out in the harsh urban environment of your local park? Well, it’s a mixed bag. For starters, Hydra requires you to hold your phone perfectly still like some kind of incredible photography ninja. This is achievable when you have a nice still subject like a rock, or multiple rocks – but try extolling the virtues of image manipulation to an excitable puppy. Even trees blowing in the wind become your enemy, and who could hate a tree?

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It’s clear to see that the high-def image (left) reproduces a much more true to life and vivid image – but only if the conditions are right.

Movement of either your hand, or the subject causes the app to abort the image at a few frames. HDR (high dynamic range) mode also has issues with movement as it also tries to blend separate frames and this can leave images with weird blurred effects. This problem isn’t unique to Hydra and you may have experienced it with the iPhone’s built-in HDR mode, but the app doesn’t really offer much over the in-built function. The developers state in the app store that the app is really designed for landscape photography, but this isn’t as clear as it perhaps should be.

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You can just make out the pedestrian in the high def image (left) as Hydra has struggled to capture the moving subject.

In the right conditions (bright sunlight) and with the right subject (a landscape, or a living statue) Hydra can create some really stunning results. The image below shows the difference in depth of color and detail, with the blue of the sky appearing much truer to life. The HDR Video setting also seems to work well, although not noticeably enough unless you were looking to film something substantial and watch on a big screen.

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The same image cropped shows a higher level of detail captured by the app (left).

The problem is, the built in camera app is likely to give you a higher level of consistency overall for everyday photography and that is what the iPhone excels at already. This app is a very clever use of technology, but the stunning photos require a degree of patience and planning that is probably beyond most, and if it isn’t then you may as well have brought your digital camera anyway.

Price: $4.99 / £3.99
Version: 1.0.1
Size: 9.6 MB
Platform: iOS Universal
Developer: Creaceed SPRL

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Hydra: Amazing Photography
A clever use of technology, but a novelty rather than a must have.
For
  • The best photos your device is ever likely to capture
  • Great for landscapes
Against
  • Poor for anything other than landscapes
  • Large file sizes fill up memory fast
3.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (6 Votes)