iPhone XS Smart HDR – Descend on Bend

The new iPhone XS and XS Max feature Smart HDR. Find out what Smart HDR is and when to use it with some rad photos of rigs at Descend on Bend.

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Descend on Bend

Where Adventure Meets Tech

Descend on Bend is a humble gathering unlike any other — hundreds of vans and adventure rigs are mustered in Oregon‘s desert outback to camp, make new buddies, listen to music, and get dirty for four days. Being mostly dominated by Vanagons, the rigs at Descend are truly special and ultimately reflect the rad, adventurous people who attend.

This gathering was the perfect backdrop to test out the new Smart HDR on the iPhone XS. I walked around with an iPhone XS + Moment Tele Lens to test it out and see how it handled shooting in the bright daylight. I was beyond impressed. Being able to have details in the shadows without the image looking “fake” was always a huge reason why I never shot with HDR. But... I think Apple has nailed their freshly implemented Smart HDR Balance, and I’m stoked with how these shots came out.

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What is Smart HDR?

HDR, short for High Dynamic Range, is a camera technology that uses multiple images in a single shot to showcase better shadow details and highlights. Apple's new technique, Smart HDR, does this even better according to Apple marketing exec Phil Schiller. With Smart HDR, your iPhone XS or XS Max camera is splicing multiple frames at once and takes the best results from each frame to produce the best possible image.

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Why Use It?

It really can be used anytime but if you're shooting in midday you may see the best results from Smart HDR's ability to retain detail in harsh light and shadows. Apple also boasts of Smart HDR's abilities when shooting a moving subject. With Smart HDR, the camera is shooting with a four-frame buffer giving you zero lag from the time you hit the shutter button. This along with the use of Apple's neural engine allows Smart HDR to take the best parts of each frame rather than merging them all together. 

Now that we've got that out of the way, enjoy some more photos of the awesome rigs at Descend on Bend 2018....

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That's It For Now, Folks!

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