Obscura Camera 4
Simplicity is the name of the game with this camera app
£3.99 FROM Ben McCarthy, obscuraapp.com NEEDS iOS 10.0 or higher
You may feel that the iPhone’s point-and-shoot Camera app couldn’t get much better – or
simpler. For photographers, though, it lacks fine control over things like exposure and focus – must-haves for professionals and amateurs in challenging light conditions.
Obscura greets you with wireframe-style controls, and your first impression will be that simplicity has been prioritised over power. However, there’s a lot going on under the surface. As with iOS’s built-in Camera app, you can tap anywhere in the frame to set exposure and focus, but hold a finger on Expose and a circular control pops up, enabling you to adjust exposure compensation between +1 and -2.5 stops.
The focus control works similarly: tap it once to set focus automatically, or hold down its button to adjust focus. Usefully, Obscura uses focus peaking – highlighting parts of your shots to show you what’s focussed.
There are further controls that surpass what’s available in Apple’s own app: manual controls for ISO to boost or reduce exposure, and buttons for controlling shutter speed. Used together, these controls come in very useful for shooting fast-moving action, where a deliberately high ISO and a fast shutter speed are ideal. There’s also the option to capture raw and JPEG files at the same time.
Obscura uses a somewhat fiddly series of swipes to provide access to additional manual controls – adjustable white balance presets, a rule-of-thirds grid over the viewfinder, and an artificial horizon to help you line up your shots straight are all available.
You can swipe across the main viewfinder to add live filters to your shot; swipe the thin control bar to reveal additional controls; swipe the bottom of the screen to choose from 27 built-in filters. However, this system of swiping isn’t perfect, as you need to be fairly precise to get the gesture to do exactly what you want, although overall the effect is more of a minor irritation than a major usability bugbear. That said, we noticed only by accident that tapping the middle of Obscura’s controls produces a pop-up menu that enables you to shoot raw photos or Live Photos, or preview a live filter.
If you’re a purist photographer who often finds yourself lamenting your iPhone’s lack of ‘proper’ controls, Obscura offers a powerful, if slightly fiddly, range of options.
Obscura has controls that surpass the features of Camera, such as manual ISO and exposure
Obscura Camera offers photographers plenty of flexibility, with manual exposure control, focus peaking and more.