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This article mentions a new HDR camera mode that's available in Android 4.2:

Camera setting wheel in Android 4.2

but my Galaxy Nexus doesn't show that option:

Camera setting wheel missing HDR button

Why not?

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3 Answers

I've had a little look at this now that Android 4.2 source is out.

It turns out that HDR isn't done by the camera app itself, it's a scene mode that needs to be supported by the operating system implementation and/or drivers.

The camera app will remove the HDR button if:

  1. You're not on API level 17 (Android 4.2) or above, or;
  2. Camera.Parameters.getSupportedSceneModes() returns null or a list that doesn't contain the string "hdr"

So in short, the HDR mode is implemented by the operating system's camera driver itself and can't be added to the standard camera app without delving into the OS source. I've not done this yet, but if I do figure it out I'll post an update.

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As far as I know, there is a thread on XDA that explained how to get a leaked 4.2 camera.apk running on a Galaxy Nexus. So it's not in the driver, it's some libcamera stuff (see the linked .zip in the thread for more) –  ce4 Nov 15 '12 at 23:30
    
@ce4 The camera app is backward compatible with 4.1 but like I said it will remove the HDR button from the screen if it fails either of the two tests above. The camera app just requests HDR mode from the operating system if it's available, I didn't source dive the C++ parts to see whether it was in the OS or the driver, but it's certainly not part of the camera/gallery application nor the Java parts of Android. –  Gaz Davidson Nov 19 '12 at 11:48
    
Thanks for the clarification. –  ce4 Nov 19 '12 at 13:18
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Perhaps it has to do with HDR Processing speed. It may be slow on the dual core Nexus

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I heard, that an important sensor is missing. Galaxy Nexus doesn't have one, but you need it for HDR.

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Where did you hear this? –  ændrük Nov 14 '12 at 16:35
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HDR doesn't have anything to do with the camera sensor. What HDR basically does is, take multiple shots of a scene at different exposure settings and combines them to create an image with a high dynamic range. So it has something to do with the software rather than the hardware. –  user23668 Nov 16 '12 at 3:27
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