Best iPhone cam­era apps

Take your photos and videos to the next level.

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS - Ja­son Cross re­ports

Ap­ple’s cam­era app is just fine. It’s fast, and sim­ple, and of­fers a few nifty fea­tures such as panorama shots and slow-mo­tion video. But if you re­ally want to make the most out of your iPhone photo and video ex­pe­ri­ence – if you want more than ‘just fine’ – you’re go­ing to want a third-party cam­era app. From pre­cise ex­pert con­trols to top-notch fil­ters and the abil­ity to save RAW images, there are lots of great rea­sons to keep a cou­ple of cam­era apps on your home screen.

A lot of these apps cost a few pounds, and even the free ones usu­ally have paid add-ons. Don’t let that scare you off. Snap­ping photos is one of the most im­por­tant fea­tures of our iPhones, and the abil­ity to do it bet­ter is worth a few pounds. We tested over a dozen pop­u­lar cam­era apps, and while many of them are great, we feel these are at the top of the pack.

Ideal for pro­fes­sion­als: ProCam 5 Price: £5.99 from

If you know your way around a DSLR, you’ll re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate ProCam 5. There are lots of cam­era apps that aim to repli­cate the fea­tures of high-end cam­eras, but this edges them out with an in­tu­itive and fluid in­ter­face.

You get all the fea­tures and modes you’d ex­pect, such as ex­po­sure ad­just­ment and lock­ing, ISO pri­or­ity, shut­ter pri­or­ity, HDR, sev­eral long ex­po­sure modes, shut­ter timers, anti-shake shut­ter, and, of course, RAW and RAW+JPEG for­mats. But where other apps tend to hide some of these things deep in an op­tions menu, most of ProCam 5’s fea­tures are quickly ac­ces­si­ble in the main in­ter­face.

I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the ze­bra strip­ing and fo­cus peak­ing fea­tures (two ad­vanced fea­tures I use often on my in­ter­change­able lens cam­era). I also love the way you can ad­just the colours of in­ter­face el­e­ments and time stamps. ProCam 5 has plenty of great video modes too, from slo-mo to time-lapse. Battery and stor­age space in­di­ca­tors on the main in­ter­face are the kind of thought­ful touches that you’ll re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate if you use your cam­era a lot.

The price is rea­son­able, too. £5.99 may seem a lit­tle steep, but many com­pet­ing cam­era apps re­quire in-app pur­chases for a lot of their core fea­tures, while ProCam 5’s in-app pur­chases feel truly op­tional: a cou­ple of fil­ter packs for the im­age edi­tor, and a pair of su­per­high-qual­ity 4K video record­ing modes (reg­u­lar 4K record­ing is in­cluded in the base price).

A step up from the de­fault app: Halide Cam­era Price: £5.99 from

If you don’t re­ally know your way around a big in­ter­change­able-lens cam­era, but you’re ready for some­thing with more op­tions and fea­tures than Ap­ple’s de­fault cam­era app, I rec­om­mend Halide Cam­era.

It’s not nearly as fea­ture-rich (or daunt­ing) as the apps that aim to sim­u­late the DSLR ex­pe­ri­ence on your phone, but it’s slick in­ter­face gives you plenty to

work with. There’s a fantastic por­trait mode cam­era (that sup­ports the TrueDepth cam­era on iPhone X for self­ies), and even a nifty AR mode to see those images stretched out into 3D space.

You can cap­ture RAW, TIFF, HEIC, or JPEG images. Dial in the man­ual fo­cus with a help­ful fo­cus peak­ing mode. The grid view has a nice built-in level, and you can man­u­ally con­trol shut­ter speed, white bal­ance, and ISO if you want. Turn on the sub­tle his­togram to get a feel for your shot’s ex­po­sure.

The whole thing is de­signed to give you more op­tions while re­main­ing sim­ple enough to use with one hand. It’s the per­fect app for those who are only used to tak­ing photos with their phone and just want to take a nice step up from Ap­ple’s de­fault cam­era app.

Halide is all about photos, though. If you want to step up your video game, you’ll need to look else­where. That might make the £5.99 price feel a lit­tle high, but

there are no in-app pur­chases, and the speedy and slick Halide in­ter­face makes tak­ing photos with it a de­light. That’s got to be worth the price of a cof­fee.

Cre­ative fil­ters for so­cial shar­ers: VSCO Price: Free from

VSCO has a lot of devo­tees, and with good rea­son: Its com­bi­na­tion of fil­ters, ef­fects, and edit­ing tools makes it easy and fun to get re­ally cre­ative with your photos. If you can’t stand the #nofil­ter life, VSCO is for you.

You get a huge amount of dif­fer­ent im­age ma­nip­u­la­tion tools here. Ex­po­sure, con­trast, clar­ity, skew­ing and straight­en­ing, tem­per­a­ture, skin tones, vi­gnette, and a whole lot more. While VSCO fo­cuses on the post-shot edit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, its built-in cam­era is plenty ca­pa­ble. If you want, you can ad­just fo­cus, white bal­ance, ISO, shut­ter speed, and ex­po­sure. Newer iPhones can shoot in RAW, too.

There’s one big catch: VSCO is a free down­load, but you only get a hand­ful of fil­ters in the free ver­sion. Be­cause VSCO is try­ing to build a photo-shar­ing com­mu­nity, you have to sign up for a (free) ac­count be­fore you can even use the app. And then, if you want to un­lock its real power, you have to sub­scribe to VSCO X, a $19.99 (about £14.70) an­nual ser­vice that gives you ac­cess to all of VSCO’s fil­ters and tools. There’s a load of stuff there and it’s up­dated quite often, so the price isn’t ridicu­lous if you’re the kind of per­son who end­lessly fid­dles with your photos.

You can spend a few pounds at a time to buy packs of fil­ters in­di­vid­u­ally if you don’t want to sub­scribe,

but £2.99 here and £3.99 there will add up quickly. If you can get past the sticker shock, VSCO can take your In­sta­gram feed to the next level.

Pro tools for videog­ra­phers: FiLMiC Pro Price: £14.99 from

When Sean Baker shot Tan­ger­ine and Steven Soder­bergh shot Un­sane on iPhones, what app did they use? FiLMiC Pro.

There’s a rea­son that video in­tended for the big screen seems to al­ways be shot with FiLMiC Pro, and it has noth­ing to do with the in­cred­i­bly ob­nox­ious

cap­i­tal­iza­tion in its name. This app gives you more con­trol over your video record­ing process than just about any­thing else out there. It de­liv­ers truly pro­fes­sional tools for those that re­ally know their way around a video cam­era.

I’m talk­ing about ze­bra stripes, false colour, and fo­cus peak­ing. Wave­form mon­i­tor­ing. True LOG gamma colour. Vari­able speed zoom. Cin­e­matic as­pect ra­tios like 17:9 and 2.39:1. Mul­ti­ple frame rate op­tions. You can even pick which of your iPhone’s mi­cro­phones you want to record from (or use a Blue­tooth mic) and choose from sev­eral dif­fer­ent au­dio codecs.

If you’re not re­ally into shoot­ing video, you’re go­ing to find FiLMiC Pro pretty daunt­ing. But those are the sort of hard­core fea­tures that make the app stand out. If you need to shoot pro­fes­sional video that you’re go­ing to take into Fi­nal Cut or Pre­miere, can get real work done with this.

Turn­ing your iPhone into a pro video cam­era isn’t cheap. At £14.99, it’s one of the pricier op­tions on the App Store. And if you want live ad­just­ments for gamma curve con­trols, shad­ows and high­lights, hue and sat­u­ra­tion, and the like, you need to shell out an­other $9.99 for the Cin­e­matog­ra­pher Kit in-app pur­chase (which only works on iPhone 7 or later phones). It’s a small price to pay for get­ting the kind of footage you can turn into a truly pro­fes­sional fin­ished prod­uct.

Other cam­era apps to con­sider

There are plenty of other great cam­era apps for the iPhone. These didn’t make our short list of the very best, but they’re still worth check­ing out.

Cam­era+: £2.99 from ProCam­era: £5.99 from Hy­dra: £4.99 from Slow Shut­ter Cam: £1.99 from Cor­tex Cam­era: £2.99 from ProShot: £3.99 from Hip­sta­matic: £2.99 from

FiLMiC Pro is the go-to app for pro­fes­sional video shot on iPhone

VSCO is a cor­nu­copia of fil­ters and edit­ing fea­tures, but you need a yearly sub­scrip­tion to un­lock it all

Among Halide’s many slick fea­tures is a cool por­trait mode that shows depth like radar waves spread­ing for­ward from your iPhone

ProCam of­fers fine-grained con­trol and fea­tures typ­i­cally found in DSLRs, but the in­ter­face never gets out of hand

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