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A friend with a not-so-modern Android 5 phone needs to take good pictures of her rooms with large windows.

Problem: Pictures she took with the stock camera app have the inside of the room very dark, and the windows showing outside very bright.

As the stock camera does not do HDR, she needs an HDR app. I have tried the highest-voted HDR apps, they only do post-processing on a single frame. What user-friendly free app does real HDR?

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    As usual, you can find some candidates in my list – but I must admit never having used any of the HDR cam apps. For HDR, I used A Better Camera (the Pro version) in the past, but that's not free. For HDR, it takes 3 photos and combines them (as one usually does for HDR: under-exposed, normal, over-exposed), results are quite good. Need to check whether Open Camera offers that as well (if you dig a bit deeper than "surface names" you'll find it's the same developer).
    – Izzy
    May 22, 2020 at 7:15
  • As said by Izzy, software cannot make the camera better; a HDR camera would have at least 12 bits of resolution in the raw data. When taking multiple photos with varying exposure to combine them, it depends on the speed of the sensor whether that will work well without a tripod to fix the camera.
    – U. Windl
    Sep 23, 2022 at 6:23

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Thanks Izzy for the tip, Open Camera indeed has a HDR mode which is real HDR. You can actually see the app take 3 pictures (under-exposed, normal, over-exposed) one after the other. In the settings you can even set the app to save all 3 in addition to the HDR result, if you want to.

Here is how to enable HDR mode:

enter image description here

In the result, you can see that the bottom of the picture is not too dark (compare with bottom left of the non-HDR screenshot above), despite the direct sun at the top of the picture:

enter image description here

Open Camera is free and open source.

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