Writing at AnandTech, Joshua Ho details the manual camera controls that iOS 8 will add for third-party developers:
For the longest time, iOS had almost no camera controls at all. There would be a toggle for HDR, a toggle to switch to the front-facing camera, and a toggle to switch to video recording mode. The only other tool that was accessible would be the AE/AF lock. This meant that you had to hope that the exposure and focus would be correct, because there was no direct method of adjusting these things. Anyone that paid attention to the WWDC 2014 keynote would’ve heard maybe a few sentences about manual camera controls. Despite the short mention in the keynote, this is a massive departure from the previously all-auto experience.
From Apple's description:
The AVFoundation framework makes it easier than ever for users to take great photos. Your app can take direct control over the camera focus, white balance, and exposure settings. Your app can also use bracketed exposure captures to automatically capture images with different exposure settings.
This means that, for developers, it'll be easier than ever to build alternative, (possibly) pro-oriented camera apps without writing those controls manually as they will be exposed in the official APIs. It's a big change.
Combined with the ability to delete photos from the Camera Roll and save edits back to the original files, Apple is making third-party camera apps first-class citizens of iPhone photography, which should result in better photos, more available storage, and a more fluid experience.
“We wanted to create a complementary camera app to Camera+ for users who wanted a simple, one-touch app for shooting and sharing on the go”, Lisa Bettany tells me over email. Lisa is the co-founder of Camera+, the popular camera app by Tap Tap Tap that, since 2009, has amassed over 12 million downloads and become a fixture of the App Store’s Top Charts, which can be rare for a paid app with additional In-App Purchases. Today, Tap Tap Tap is launching MagiCam, which, unlike Camera+, does away with professional editing tools and focuses on simple filters and quick sharing.
I've written about the problem with organizing screenshots in the iOS Camera Roll before, as it's one of the long-standing limitations/design decisions of iOS that I find most antiquated and counter-intuitive.
From my iOS 8 Wishes article:
Give screenshots their own album. Years ago, the consensus used to be that only geeks took screenshots of their devices, but the rising trend of people sharing screenshots of message conversations and Instagram pages now says otherwise. For this reason, I find it surprising that Apple still insists on grouping photos and screenshots together – they're separate media types and there should be an option to exclude screenshots from the main view and iCloud backups.
Screenshotter is a free iPhone app developed by the Cluster team that's been released today and that shows a glimpse of a good idea that I hope Apple will offer as a built-in feature in iOS 8.
Great story by Shawn Blanc:
My Grandpa’s iPad has enabled him to do something that he’s been unable to do for as long as I can remember. The 9.7-inch touch screen has turned my Grandpa into a photographer.
You’ve captured your image, tuned and processed it, added some additional flare using some specialized apps like BigLens and Piction, and finally shared it on Instagram. But, unfortunately, you’re left with an absolute mess of a camera roll. This is a place where Android shines, since most iOS photos apps aren’t built to talk directly to each other: the apps are forced to export and then reimport the full-resolution image every time you travel between apps, which leaves a mess of semi-processed images in their wake. Some chase inbox zero. I believe in camera-roll zero.
A good roundup of iPhone camera and photo editing apps by Jordan Oplinger at The Verge. It's funny that he mentions “camera-roll zero” – that's exactly what I do as well. Every day after I've taken a bunch of pictures, I open CameraSync and upload them to Dropbox; my Mac mini then takes care of automatically sorting them in a folder structure, and desktop uploaders for Loom and Picturelife (I'm trying both at the moment) monitor the source folder to upload photos to their respective services. When my photos are uploaded by CameraSync on the iPhone, I delete them and leave an empty camera roll. I can later view photos using Photo Stream (for the latest ones), Unbound (for the full Dropbox folder), or iOS apps by Loom and Picturelife (I prefer Picturelife's app for now).
After The Sweet Setup's recommendation for the best photo editing app for iPhone, I'm also trying VSCO Cam. While I don't share many edited photos and I don't like the custom UI of the app, VSCO does have some great filters and editing tools.
This iPhone 5S beats out the 5 in every camera test and in many ways I prefer it to my DSLR. Sure it has its pros & cons… but for the first time ever, I didn't bring my Canon 1DX and I didn't regret it one bit. That's saying a lot.
Austin Mann (via Shawn Blanc) went to Patagonia to properly test the new iPhone 5s camera, and he came back with some amazing photos and videos. Even better, he provides explanations and comparison shots between the iPhone 5 and 5s, showing how the 5s takes better pictures better suited for processing. I don't know if I'll ever be able to take pictures as good as Austin's, but the fact that Apple is hiding complex technology behind the software gives me hope that, when I'll get my 5s, I'll enjoy features like SloMo and better Panoramas without having to care about their settings.
I often get phone calls asking me what camera I use, and I first have to clarify "Do you mean for work or pleasure?". The answers are very different. My workhorse cameras are no-compromise performance tools, with no concessions at all to being easy to carry or enjoyable to use. They are all business, and they're the last thing that I would want to take with me on holiday. I see the iPhone 5S as an attempt to make the opposite, a no-compromise fun phone-camera that adds to life. Each does its job better for not trying to do what the other does so well.
An in-depth and enjoyable review by Dean Holland. Make sure to check out the 5/5s comparison shots and examples.
I am intrigued by this new product line from Sony: it's essentially a lens that uses a paired mobile device as viewfinder, leaving you with just the lens to operate. The lens is the camera.
I see some nice advantages: you don't have to carry a full-size additional device alongside your phone and tablet, but you retain the higher quality of photos shot with Sony's camera. Not to mention the fact that this approach eschews the need of having to deal with the poor software and controls that are often cited as drawbacks of modern portable cameras (that is, assuming that the app for iOS and Android devices is better than what could be possible on an embedded viewfinder with LCD display).
The possibility of not attaching the lens to an iPhone makes this particularly appealing to me as I've never liked those ugly accessories that turn iPhones into tiny telescopes with external lenses.
Vlad Savov has more details at The Verge:
Both camera modules will pair with your phone via NFC, if you have it, and will then transfer data over Wi-Fi to Sony's PlayMemories app. The QX Smart Lenses are compatible with Android and iOS devices, will accept microSD and Memory Stick storage cards, include optional clips for attaching to the back of a phone, and also have tripod mounts for those users who want to get really serious with their mobile photography.
So ‘Oh Hai’ was the eventual outcome. It makes use of iOS face detection and to address our bugbear, we removed the need to interact directly the photo by including two sliders (one for eyes and the other for the mouth). These enable fine adjustments to be made with a complete and uninterrupted view of the results. The final working version was technically finished after more or less three days of work.
A simple, fun app by ustwo. I tested it over the weekend, and it does exactly one thing, quite well, with a straightforward design. The iOS face detection technology behind it is smart and accurate. Free on the App Store.