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Say goodbye to Graduated ND filters with Sony’s new Sky HDR app

By Marcus Wong - on 21 Dec 2015, 12:46pm

Say goodbye to Graduated ND filters with Sony’s new Sky HDR app

If you’ve ever attempted landscape photography, you’ll know that the biggest tool (both literally and figuratively) you have to work with is the sun. It gives you brilliant sunsets, impressive sun rises, and brilliant skies that we all love. The problem is that many times the sun is too intense, leading to everything else being severely underexposed if we try to keep the sun properly exposed.

The traditional solution would be to use a graduated Neutral Density (ND) filter, but these do invariably get scratched with time, and you generally need to bring a few sets because they come in varying intensities.

Get individual control over the sky and land boundaries.

Get HDR images like these just from the use of the app.

Sony’s new Sky HDR app might just fix all that. It essentially works as a digital graduated filter, intelligently picking out the sky and the land area, and letting you apply separate exposure settings for both. There are settings to allow you to fine tune the boundaries between sky and land, and you can even adjust the defocus (bokeh) range between boundaries, so you can get yourself a perfect blend. You can even separately adjust the white balance for regions to get more pop from certain colors for example.

As the product page says, “this feature expresses a wide dynamic range without using a graduated ND filter”, the best thing is that you can save it as RAW or JPEG so that pretty much takes care of all your exposure issues right from the app alone.

Here’s a video explaining how the app works.


The Sky HDR app is available now from the PlayMemories Camera Apps store for S$13.00.

Here’s the list of compatible cameras: NEX-5R NEX-5T NEX-6 ILCE-7 ILCE-7R ILCE-6000 DSC-RX100M3 ILCE-7S ILCE-5100 ILCE-7M2 DSC-RX100M4 DSC-RX10M2 ILCE-7RM2 ILCE-7SM2 DSC-RX1RM2.