iOS 8 for Photographers: Is it a Worthwhile Upgrade?
Apple users will probably be amazed. Android users will wonder if there is anything new at all. With iOS 8, the truth is actually somewhere in the middle, finds Aditya Nair.
Depending on which side of the Apple vs Android war you are on, you will either see iOS8 as a huge benefit for photography or feel like Apple is now just playing catch up with Android. Either way, with the number of photographic features added, the OS has a lot to offer cellphone photographers.
What’s New in Camera?
The most welcome feature in iOS has got to be exposure compensation. While you were previously reliant on the metering system of the phone or tablet and relative use of the exposure lock function, you can now, finally, change the exposure compensation. Simply tap the screen to focus, hold to lock AF/AE and then slide your finger upwards or downwards to brighten or darken the image. Bonus points to Apple for figuring out a way to do this that doesn’t involve menus. While you cannot actually control shutterspeed and ISO in the native camera app, the new API is supposed to give third party apps control over these exposure functions as well as focus, white balance, bracketing and exposure compensation.
There is also a new Time-lapse feature in-camera. Unfortunately, it is not very good. It speeds up video a lot and cannot be controlled. I’d stick to using Hyperlapse for now. There is also a Self Timer mode that can be set to two or ten seconds.
While not a camera feature, the new notifications setting let you respond to messages and notifications without leaving the app you are in, which is bound to come in handy.
What’s clearly missing is RAW, which the newly announced Android L is going to bring to Android devices. It will be interesting to see if and when Apple will react to that.
Playing Around with Your Imagery
You can now edit images directly through Photos, the gallery app. The Crop tool lets you rotate, straighten horizons and crop according to specific aspect ratios. Sadly, you can’t crop as per a custom aspect ratio.
Also, you can favourite images with a touch of a button above the image, a feature that will help users select the best image after shooting in the burst mode.
Editing tools are divided as Light, Color and B&W. All three can be used to auto adjust images and have sliders to experiment with if you are looking for a quick edit. For more specific post processing,you can also hit the list icon next to them to get in too the specifics of the functions you want to change. Most importantly, the editing is nondestructive which means you can go back at any time and undone particular settings.
The potential for apple’s new Extension feature is tremendous for photographers. It allows you to access a different app without leaving the app you are currently in.
Imagine being able to access your favourite filters, from across apps, all while you are still in Photos. You can also favourite images to access them quickly. There is also a new folder that shows you recently deleted images that you can restore.
iOS 8 lets you upload and save your images to iCloud which can then be accessed across Apple devices. You can also save RAW files from there. However, there is a max 5GB limit after which you will need to purchase space.
Android users may read through this and find that practically nothing is new.
Android users may read through this and find that practically nothing is new from their point of view. They would not be wrong. However, Apple already has an excellent camera, arguably the best in the smartphone world so far (notwithstanding recent announcements). Their smart incorporation of these “borrowed” features along with the inclusion of optical image stabilisation in the new iPhone 6 Plus make it a combination that is almost impossible to beat.