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Huge camera changes likely coming in iOS 8: all manual controls

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Huge camera changes likely coming in iOS 8: all manual controls
Ever since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, Apple has always had the simplest of camera interfaces possible - an all-automatic camera with no manual controls. Later versions of iOS introduced the HDR photo feature, then a high-res panorama option arrived, and a few other modes showed up in the camera with time, but up until now, even with the latest version of iOS, you still have no manual control over settings like ISO, white balance, etc.

This is set to change in iOS 8 - Apple has dropped a few hints about its plans at WWDC, and it seems like the company will give users access to just about every single manual camera setting you can think of in the stock app: ISO, shutter speed, focus, white balance and exposure.

What does this enable? Controlling ISO manually, for instance, allows you to control the light gain (or light sensitivity) of the sensor: setting ISO high translates into more light passing onto it and brighter images, but it also entails more noise. The shutter speed, on the other hand, refers to the time the sensor has to absorb light, and the longer it is, the more light it can absorb. 

Next, setting the focus manually - from macro to infinity - is an option that we've so far seen only on Nokia Lumia devices and the HTC One (M8), and it's a neat way to avoid having your images out of focus sometimes. Moreover, iOS 8 will also add more advanced features like custom white balance that you can use a gray card with to achieve greater color fidelity, and that's a feature that's reserved for more advanced, dedicated cameras at the moment.

We don’t know whether Apple will open up access to those features to third-party apps as well, but if it does, we might just see a flood of new iOS camera apps. What seems certain, though, is that Apple is taking the camera parts of the iPhone seriously, and we're about to see plenty of progress in iOS photography in the near future.

Nokia's camera app comes with all manual controls, and that's what the iOS 8 camera app might look like as well

Nokia's camera app comes with all manual controls, and that's what the iOS 8 camera app might look like as well

source: AnandTech

38 Comments
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posted on 18 Jun 2014, 16:26 2

1. SAO101789 (Posts: 122; Member since: 10 Feb 2014)


It would be nice to see this. The one thing I hope they improve is battery life. Ios 7.1 is crap in my 5S.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 16:40 5

4. Droidrapist (Posts: 186; Member since: 28 May 2014)


Turn the f**king brightness down when you're insde.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 19:54 1

23. SAO101789 (Posts: 122; Member since: 10 Feb 2014)


I do turn down the brightness!! The whole system in general was to stop people from jailbreaking their iPhones! I don't jailbreak myself but it's not just me who is complaining about this. I see your point and respect it and I'm not attacking apple I just want more out of the $700 I spent for this piece of glass and metal!

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 17:06

9. tettech (Posts: 48; Member since: 18 Dec 2013)


If I may suggest, turning off bluetooth and GPS when not in used. And yes, turning down brightness makes a difference. I also turn off background app refresh to apps I don't think require constant refresh. In addition, I turn off cellular data to apps that doesn't need mobile connection. My 5S lasts a day & half.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 19:53

22. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5581; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


And I don't do any of those and my Maxx lasts 2 days before needing a recharge. Apple cheaped out on the battery and that is a fact.

You can't turn a sows ear into a silk purse no matter how hard you try. Every tech site that has objectively reviewed the iP5S has complained about bad battery life. It is what it is.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 05:31 2

30. hassoups (Posts: 275; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)


Why not just turn off your phone?

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 18:42 1

20. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Apple's more concerned about having the "world's thinnest phone" than including a larger battery.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 03:59

29. kiza_88 (Posts: 6; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)


bigger battery definitely :)

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 16:27 2

2. apple4never (Posts: 931; Member since: 08 May 2013)


i highly doubt an iPhone camera can get up to 4000 iso, but how is this radical? nothing in iOS 8 is radical when we have android which has had these features for ages, even WP has this

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 16:38 13

3. Droidrapist (Posts: 186; Member since: 28 May 2014)


All the phone cameras looked like s**t for years. Having those features with the way cameras have looked up until the GS4 is practically pointless. Now that cameras have the sensitivy and apperture to match realisim of some SLR cameras, these features become relevant. Apple is not about introducing as many featuers as possible all at once, which is how android wins its customers. Apple is about introducing the right features at the right time, and implement them in a logical and easy to use fashion, that actually matters. PIck what you like best and let other people pick what they like best as well. Some ppl like having a s**t ton of featurs they will never use just so they can feel happy inside.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 16:43 4

6. darkkjedii (Posts: 10296; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


+1 man.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 00:36 2

27. navaf4u (Posts: 6; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


First off, a phone camera will never match up against that of a SLR camera, even the entry level MFT sensor SLR camera. Secondly I think the main reason for Apple adding these features are because they finally understood they should provide more features and freedom to the customers so that they won't jump off to android or WP. Finally apple is heading the right direction.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 06:07 2

31. buccob (Posts: 1335; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


While I agree that many people don't even know what HDR is, or ISO in their cameras, it is the camera enthusiastic ones that will give the importance it deserve to those features. I always shoot on Auto with my previous Android phones because I didn't know any better.... But when I got the Acro S I realize that even when auto got most things right, I could take better pics in specific situations if I tweak and practice with the manual settings... I now know how and when to use ISO, metering, exposure, etc and take better pics than even the 5s in many situations.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 16:44 1

7. Vexify (Posts: 275; Member since: 16 Jun 2014)


You know, I always used to say the same thing to myself. With my two Android feature phones prior to my current 5S, I used to think this a lot, but after going back to Apples iOS on the 5S, I really understood what people and Apple meant about them perfecting and simplifying what has already been done. Talking about a bunch of features in general. Thats the great thing of being open to different operating systems - You experience the best of both worlds, and experience which world does certain things better. I loved certain things about being on Android and about my Nexus 5, and I also love things about Apple and my current 5S.

Yea, we can all point at companies and say "SO AND SO DID THIS FIRST!", but what is the point? (besides sounding like a halfwit fanboy).

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 07:44

36. feres13 (Posts: 306; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


The first Android phone that had controls for focus and shutter speed was the HTC M8, the first phone that had these controls was the Lumia 1020. Android had controls for ISO, WB and exposure, but not all of them, so your point is invalid.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 17:07

10. kalo88 (Posts: 14; Member since: 21 May 2014)


8 OS Revisions before they release this.... wow =/

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 17:31

14. AfterShock (Posts: 2530; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Myself, I just assumed they had this all along.
Good on them to allow some control.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 17:38 3

15. darkkjedii (Posts: 10296; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


iOS 8 is turning out to be a massive update.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 17:43 1

16. f_u_006 (Posts: 7; Member since: 19 Mar 2014)


I am not amazed, Android had this feature 10000 BC Ago.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 17:48 1

17. Droidrapist (Posts: 186; Member since: 28 May 2014)


Another one. And what can you possibly do with that f**king feature with a 5mp camera that looked like s**t??!?!?! HUH? Its like saying you are proud you had a smart phone in 10,0000 BC without cell phone towers. Who gives a s**t what you had in 10,000 BC, you couldn't use the technology efficienty. Are you saying Android invented white balance, ISO, shutter speed? NO this is a feature that is on cameras that could actually show you the difference. Apple could have wasted time too adding these features but up until the iphone 5 camera, idk what good these features would have done - I would much rather have the phone try to adjust for it automatically, this has been much more handy with 'on the go' photos. If i wanted a 'pro' photo I would't be using my f**king phone in the first place! Up until NOW I can say adding a lens kit and this feature might actually replace some SLR cameras for photography applications... but I still wouldn't trust it just yet either...

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 21:09 1

25. apple4never (Posts: 931; Member since: 08 May 2013)


um well there was the Z1 that will destroy an iPhone in a camera test, its older than the iOS 8 preview= manual controls, S4= manual controls G2= manual controls and don't even try telling me an iPhone takes better pics than those, and for gods sake a camera doesn't judge how well pictures are taken its the photographer and if you have to use the automatic settings you won't get good pics

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 07:11

34. bucky (Posts: 1326; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Can't tell if you serious here. It's does take much better pics than those 3.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 08:49

38. Astoni (Posts: 438; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


nope :p

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 07:47

37. feres13 (Posts: 306; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


Android phones do have controls for WB, exposure and ISO, but the first Android phone that had manual focus and shutter speed controls was the HTC One m8, the lumia 1020 was the first to have these features. Your point is invalid.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 17:50

18. bucky (Posts: 1326; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


I'm definitely looking forward to the next iPhone and ios 8. Opening up a bit is going to be good. I just hope they don't make it bigger than 4.5-4.7".

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 18:24

19. mistertimi (Posts: 73; Member since: 28 May 2014)


Dropped this hint where in WWDC? You can't just say they did, but not say where or how lol. Look, I'll do it.. Apple dropped a hint that the next iPhone will have stereo speakers and be waterproof at WWDC, this would be a good move blah blah lol. Come the hell on PA.

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 19:24

21. eldyagustius (Posts: 124; Member since: 30 Oct 2013)


When it comes to camera, I'm pretty sure Apple wouldn't be bad on this point :)

posted on 18 Jun 2014, 21:44

26. gigaraga (Posts: 629; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


Damn I wish manual controls for the camera came to Android or Samsung. Then I would take better low light photos and have better focusing. That's one thing that isn't found on the aforementioned cameras. Sad.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 06:08

32. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 760; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


The M8 has manual controls, but as it is the M8 nobody cares about it. When these are available on the iPhone it will be a phone camera revolution... *sigh*

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 06:14

33. apple4never (Posts: 931; Member since: 08 May 2013)


just play around in the setting you will find the options to allow manual controls

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 07:37

35. feres13 (Posts: 306; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


Android phones have manual controls for white balance or ISO or maye exposure, but shutter speed or manual focus came with the Lumia 1020 and then on most Lumias and then the M8, Android didin't have this for a while, the first Android phone that had these controls came in march 25.

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