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Razer Phone Revisited – Indepth Camera Analysis

As mentioned on the previous page, auto-exposure is a problem for the Razer Phone. Accordingly, we wanted to see how HDR can affect the camera’s results. For reference, all the images on the right-hand side are the HDR versions.

HDR analysis

HDR off, left, compared with HDR on, right

Back to our beloved Las Vegas palm trees, what better test of HDR than the over-exposed image on the left?

As you can see, HDR actually does a decent job at salvaging the image. The white clouds can now be distinguished from the blue sky, while the pylon’s wires are now fully formed (as they should be). The palm trees themselves also look quite natural, if a bit dark, but that is an easy fix in post-processing.

It’s still not a perfect image, though – the overall scene is just a bit dull, although I suppose it still much better than the original non-HDR shot.

HDR off, left, compared with HDR on, right

The next two images follow the same trend. The non-HDR image, on the left, is quite over-exposed with the sky being almost completely white.

Enabling HDR brings back more colour to the sky, although it is almost grey in the image above. The rest of the scene, however, really gets flattened by the HDR – the grass looks very dull, while you almost can’t tell that half of the evergreen is in shade and half is in the sun.

HDR certainly improves the image, but it does look a bit lifeless. Personally I wouldn’t want to use the image without a bit of tweaking in Lightroom.

HDR off, left, compared with HDR on, right

Ending on a high, this is perhaps the best example of an HDR image that I have taken over the last three months. The original photo again shows some over-exposed sky, while the branches in the foreground don’t look too natural either.

HDR brings back some colour to the sky, but not all – however, the vibrant colours in the foreground are retained, whereas in the other two examples above the colours were completely flattened. On the whole, the HDR image retains a nice ‘pop’ to it while balancing out the exposure in a way that is pleasing on the eye.

It is just unfortunate that this example is ultimately quite a rarity – most HDR images end up being quite dull-looking. They are still more usable than their non-HDR versions, but you are unlikely to want to use the images straight from the camera without any tweaking.

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