The iPhone 4.1 Software update was just released by Apple and after updating my iPhone 4 one of the first features I wanted to try out was HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos. There are many ways to accomplish HDR varying from the simple to the complex. The basics are that you shoot multiple exposures to capture various areas of detail (highlight, mid-range, and shadow). You then take the resulting exposures and use software (in this case the iOS Camera app) to combine the images. The goal is to get a final image that offers a wider range of color and detail than one shot with a single exposure. iOS 4.1 attempts to offer the simplest way to shoot and create HDR photos. Simply pressing an “on/off” toggle switch at the top of the Camera app is all that is required to enable or disable the feature. The app then takes 3 exposures and merges them. Both the standard image and the HDR versions are saved so you can take your pick when you sync the images back to your computer. When shooting in HDR mode it did take a second or two longer to save the images to the camera roll. If taking a rapid sequence of photos is your objective you’ll want to turn this feature off. If you are having trouble capturing shadow or highlight detail in your images though, HDR mode may be a life saver. As with most things Apple does the implementation here is meant to be dead simple. Enable. Shoot. There are no other options or controls and you can’t adjust the exposures. If you need more functionality there are plenty of other 3rd party HDR apps available in the App Store. I’ve only spent 2 minutes with the new feature, but as you can see from my quick shots (Flickr), the results are mixed. Some shots were improved more than others and some common HDR issues, like ghosting, are going to be a problem. Apple isn’t going to revolutionize the HDR trend with this new feature, but at least now we have a second exposure option in iOS.