Creaceed, a Belgian app maker with an extensive portfolio of imaging apps, has revealed its latest creation, Hydra 1.0 for iOS. Making use of the latest camera API and GPU rendering technologies in iOS 8 and applying multi-frame methods merging up to 60 exposures, Hydra offers a range of clever-looking capture modes:

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode goes beyond the usual three-frame HDRs in most apps and combines up to 20 exposures to create an output image that offers increased dynamic range and still looks natural. 
  • Video-HDR uses single-image tonemapping and a device-specific sensor mode (iPhone 6 only) to create video footage with improved dynamic range. 
  • Lo-light mode reduces image noise and can capture brighter exposures than standard mode by merging several frames. 
  • Hi-res mode produces up to 32MP images from the regular 8MP camera sensor by merging several frames and using camera motion. 
  • Zoom mode uses the same principles as Hi-res mode to allow for 2x and 4x digital zoom with better detail than the standard digital zoom found in the iPhone's default camera app. 

Both Hi-res and Zoom modes are recommended for static and distant scenes only as moving subjects can cause artifacts and with close subjects parallax errors can occur. Creaceed also says that just like for panoramic photos, it can take some experimentation to get the right amount of camera motion for producing the best results in those two modes. Some promising-looking samples with standard exposures for comparison can be found on the Hydra website.

Hydra 1.0 requires iOS 8.1 or later and works on the iPhone 4S, iPad 3 and newer devices. For the first two weeks you can purchase the app from the App Store at an introductory price of $2.99 - after that it will be $4.99.