HDR photography on Dalvik

HDR photography is basically essential for photographing in sunlight. If you don’t use HDR, either the sun bleaches the sky or the shadows are too dark to see anything.
HDR combines the two to grab the detail from both.

There are a couple of options for Sailfish: HDR Camera and Snap Camera.

Up until, I was using HDR Camera, the one with the multicoloured flower icon. Indeed, when I upgraded to .68 from ,58 using sfos-upgrade, HDR Camera still worked. Sailfish complained it wasn’t fully upgraded to .68 and after a few days I ran it. It’s only apparent change was to break HDR Camera. The latter now complains it’s the wrong version of Android.

Snap Camera. This is a much slicker app though doesn’t allow post-processing like HDR Cam does.
It can be made much faster. HDR generally requires one to take 2-3 shots. HDR Cam waits between each shot to allow slow phones to process the JPG. Snap Cam can eliminate that so it’s 4s vs 10s.
Snap can change the exposure levels – I’m still experimenting with that.
Saturation comes out low for some reason, especially in the reds. There’s no post-processing and so I generally have to fix the shots on my PC (transferring them is a pain).

There’s an interesting question as to whether something happened to Dalvik’s Camera API in .64/68. HDR Camera is a really old app and I’d be surprised if it had a check for Android version v10 r64! .64 slightly updated Android to this security release and also updated Sailfish’s own camera app.

PPS. Nokia 900 and Maemo had the first commercial implementation of HDR where I fell in love with it.


There’s HDR mode in Advanced Camera, for native solution.

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Is this flawlessly working for you? On my Phone (Pro1) HDR mode most of the time is crashing Advanced Camera.

Yeah I probably should have mentioned it.

I use Advanced Cam a lot for its (digital) zoom and its ability to set resolutions (particularly widescreen). But the HDR feature has never worked on the XA2.

Ah, Pro1. No, I don’t have one.

I have XA2 and, contrary to issue #56 it does not hang the app on my phone. The effect is quite subtle, but noticeable.

Standard: http://lemur.hg.pl/i/p/1q22bk9.jpeg

HDR: http://lemur.hg.pl/i/p/1et8iku.jpeg

(I hope I haven’t munched exif too much in process of removing GPS tags)

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That effect is indeed so tiny I might not have noticed.

I’m using gcam(see screenshot) on my x10III, and it works great. You’ll have to change gallery app from within settings though, because it expects a different app to be present, and then crashes after taking a picture. But now it’s 95% stable.

It also has improved IQ compared to stock camera, especially in darker circumstances.

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Suits me, I’m going for more details in shadows and highlights, not “HDR-ish” look. Still would be nice to have some more knobs to wiggle :wink:

Snap Camera is harder to find than I thought. It’s not legal, it’s discontinued and there’s no way to buy it.
It works much better on the XA2. On the 10iii, it overexposes shots. I’m not sure if it’s over-brightened, the HDR overexposure setting is broken or what.

Open Camera seems to produce identical low light shots to (native) Camera on the 10iii. I presume the 10iii lens is bigger and it might be using multiple lenses. Open Camera makes a huge difference on the XA2.
Advanced Cam produces a pixelated shot. It’'s likely the others are using filters. I cannot fix the pixelation using Lightroom. Maybe with Photoshop.

Correcting some misinformation and outdated information.

  1. The Snap Camera link is broken and the author seems to be selling it again on Play Store. It’s well worth it but I doubt Aurora supports paid apps.
  2. Post-processing exists in it but it breaks Android’s camera support every time ie restart Android for each shot.
  3. Default settings need to be changed to reduce exposure and increase coarse contrast a bit. Fine contrast and saturation too if you don’t use Lightroom-type software.


When you don’t want to or can’t download from the Play Store, you can write directly to the developer and ask for a generic .apk. I did this for the Logitech Squeeze app; I paid with PayPal directly and received the developer APK without the Google spy add-ons present in most Play Store APKs (look and compare the AndroidManifest.xml files and wonder).