The newly released compact camera Canon Powershot S95 features some advanced technology which is really new even for DSLR class. One of the amazing feature is High Dynamic Range (HDR) shooting mode. It is really not another technical gimmick. The High Dynamic Range is a new way to deliver the best exposure in a high contrast scene.
High contrast scene explained in non-technical language is like this: imagine you were standing under a rooftop terrace, the sun was shiny, and you wanted to capture a beautiful part of the terrace while having the bright sky as background. The common result was the picture lost details in highlights and shadows. Some corners may appeared flat dark, while the other parts became over bright. This is what we call high contrast scene, and it can often be hard to captured.
But now, the High Dynamic Range on Canon S95 makes it easy to capture it all. In similar situation, the Canon S95 will take three shots of the same scene, in different exposures in succession. The three shots will be taken in over exposure, normal exposure and under exposure mode. Then the HDR intelligently combines all the three images together into a single image. The final result is a picture with rich and spectacular details, full of flattering shadows and highlights. So now you can reveal the architecture detail of the terrace and capturing the blue sky as well.
To get the best result, a tripod is required. It keeps your three HDR shots steady at the same angle.
So that is how High Dynamic Range works. And yes, it is special.