Do you care about manual controls on your phone's camera?

Over the past couple of years, manual controls for our phone camera apps have become a standard feature. In fact, out of the major manufacturers, it seems that Apple is the only one going the opposite way — while everybody is adding manual modes that give us access to shutter speed, ISO, focus, and white balance, Apple is sticking to its guns to keep the iPhone's camera automatic and even removed the HDR button from its latest handsets (no worries, you can get it back, look here).

All the while, however, the phone makers have also been achieving amazing results with their handsets' camera post-processing. The automatic modes are extremely competent on pretty much every flagship out there and it seems that — most of the time — going for manual mode is a useless and time-wasting endeavor when Auto will do just as good if not even better.

So, we are curious, now that we've all had a couple of years to play with manual cameras. Are we over them? Do you use the “pro” mode on your camera app, or do you just do the point and shoot with the auto mode, excluding the occasional toggle of the HDR or flashlight.

Do you use your phone camera's manual / "pro" mode?

Yeah, I love it!
Very rarely
Nah, not for me



1. libra89

Posts: 2282; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Not my thing at all.

6. Bankz

Posts: 2548; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeees!!!!! I love it

14. sgodsell

Posts: 7383; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I think for the main camera app it doesn't matter if you have camera controls or not? If the device allows 3rd party apps which can give you manual controls, then that is good enough for me.

29. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

But 3rd party apps do not always work as good as the native camera app, as I've experienced with Samsung phones.

2. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Yes manual controls are a huge benefit, but they are not for everyone. Apple continues to dumb down their phones, and as we have seen in camera tests, the things the iPhone camera suck at could easily be fixed if you could manually make adjustments. I personally don't understand all the camera terms. What I did do is I went to a professional A/V site and I looked up fancy DSLR cameras and I looked at their manuals and I read what each control actually does. I manually made some adjustments. But what sucks is, the cameras don't allow for you to save your settings with a name, so you can manually pick your own custom settings and switch between them and the defaults, like you can do with dedicated cameras. This is something that need to be added. Samsung phones (Note 8) is the first phone I notice that lets you adjust the Kelvin. According to tech sites, 6500K is the setting that gives 100% accurate color tone on a camera. Galaxy cameras are within the 6300 range so they are very close to being 100% accurate. On the Note 8 in the pro mode, you can adjust the kelvin to in/decrease color tone. So for people who hate Samsung's color saturation, you can now manually lower it. Launch camera > swipe the screen from left to right to bring up extra controls > tap Pro and you are given extra things to set: 1st is ISO, 2nd appears to be shutter speed, 3rd is color modes, 4th is manual focus, 5th is white balance, which overs a host of settings including Kelvin. In fact you can manually set the camera to the 6500K for 100% accurate color. I've never seen that on any camera. and the last setting controls how bright or dark the shot itself is. This is the kind of stuff PA should be showing us if they were a real tech blog, and not a tech tabloid for Apple; of if the writers were actually knowledgeable and not Apple cheerleaders.

4. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1568; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Samsung used to let you save presets for the camera controls, my Note 5 and S7 had that ability before the Nougat updates. They also both allow you to adjust color balance from some presets or use Kelvin. I use it a lot in low light because I hate the yellowish color of auto photos.

12. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

I guess all phones do. Once you choose the settings, they are kept until you change again.

24. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Yes it will keep what you changed them too, but from what I can tell, it no longer allows you to save the setting with a custom name. The benefit would be of course, I can switch to defaults if my saved settings aren't perfect for a particular situation. Apple shouldn't isolate those settings. People who are not tech savvy may not use or need them, but not having them also discourages people from learning anything. Which is why I said apple keeps dumping stuff don. Knowledgeable people use their phones too. After all they are claimed to be the most educated. So if so, why dumb down such settings? Even if you just experiment its good to learn, because whatever you screw up, its easy to just go back to the defaults with a quick tap.

13. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

The auto superior of my Z3+ has temperature adjustment. But is just a little bar, no values. Up for warmer, down for colder colors.

26. apple-rulz

Posts: 2122; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

You do know you don’t have to stay here and keep reading Phonearena articles, don’t you? I mean, you seem awfully unhappy with the blatant Apple bias this site shows, and I thinks it’s important you realize there are other sites. Try sammobile or androidauthority, for example.

36. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

LG phones let users adjust Kelvin years ago, even when recording videos, not the Note 8.

3. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1568; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Nearly half of all photos I take I use manual controls and RAW format. It's easier to get the result I want, especially in lower light conditions.

5. bucky

Posts: 3785; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

no point in this poll. People will essentially vote against iphone just because. I have yet to see anyone mess with any controls while taking a picture other than manually turning on flash.

11. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Just because people voted for the "yes" option, doesn't mean they are going against Apple. There are lots of phones that don't give the manual options besides iPhones. That's a dumb conclusion. I use the option every time I need to get a night shot right. It isn't as useful during daytime because auto settings mostly get day shots spot on. And I've got quiet some decent pictures after post processing the RAW file.

25. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

We are sure the iPhone is not the only phone that has dumb-down camera settings. But it is from my experience, the only "premium" phone with such. If you buy some cheap-tastic phone with a crappy camera, then I expect there won't be settings because the sensor is generic. But the iPhone and Galaxy devices or any brand that has a flagship, those devices for what they cost should have access to such. PERIOD!!!

16. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Because people around you probably do not care much about phones, tech, and cameras like people here. It just works.

20. bucky

Posts: 3785; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

you have a point there, submar. But still, i can see how this poll would be swayed.

27. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

And as we seen factory settings don't always do a good job. Suppose cars were like that, would you pay for one? Suppose they set cars where you can't change the radio station, or roll down the windows or have climate controls. Would you buy such a car? This isn't about numbers. It is obvious that tech-savvy people are outnumbers by people who could care less. But omitting the fact of those who are tech-savvy using yoru products, not being able to have such to me is an OEM who is stepping to far over their bioundries. Apple acts like the present iPhone is still the same old iPhone for 2007. If you gonna charge $800+, then the phone should have access to professional level features. Because if you gonna keep the phone dumb, then it nothign more than a feature phone and it should be priced accordingly.

7. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Auto just work fine most of time :D But more options are always welcomed.

8. fyah_king unregistered

People that voted nah, because they dont have one on their

30. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Well, the Camera FV-5 app can always give you one.

9. KingSam

Posts: 1453; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

How about my phone doesnt have it.

10. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

If they provide is because they expect you to use in the situations that are required. Would be easy to just offer auto mode like iphone does. Auto sucks in low light, any phone will use more ISO. I saw pics of Note 8 x XZ1. Note used ISO 700-850 and XZ1 900-1200. No photos can come out good this way. But people ignore this. Then people complain about the phones.

35. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

"Then people complain about the phones" lol It's just impossible to please all people, all the time high ISO and people will complain about more noise compare to lower ISO low ISO and people will complain about dark photo compared to higher ISO

15. nepalisherpa

Posts: 338; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

I use my phone's camera for a quick shot of something I don't want to miss or when I don't have my main camera. I am not going to spend time fiddling with shutter speed or ISO, etc. When I have time to compose my shots, I use my DSLR.

17. Xilam unregistered

I prefer quick automatic mode on my main - if I need to compose my shots or get specific details out of my photo or video I use specific apps.

18. slannmage

Posts: 289; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

My camera is for manual, my phone is for quick shots.... so no.

19. enthasuium

Posts: 150; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

moved to android flagship or Manual control only ! manual focus during video is amazing and creative

21. p51d007

Posts: 704; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

I do, only because I know how to take photographs. My dSLR, I never use auto, P/S/A or any of those modes. When I got into photography, in the early 70's, heck, you even had to focus yourself! It's just a "natural" thing, setting the shutter, f/stop etc manually.

22. torr310

Posts: 1661; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

mostly I control the shutter speed for night shots.

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