Do you use manual controls for your phone's camera?

Do you use manual controls for your phone's camera?
Up until about the first half of 2017, manual camera controls were a pretty steady trend. In fact, out of the major manufacturers, Apple was the only one going the opposite way, making HDR toggling automatic and hiding it away in the camera's Settings.

But, over the past 18 months, AI has become the new buzzword and it's very often said when we are talking about cameras, too. Suddenly, the "auto mode" has been reinvigorated under the "AI" moniker, and some manufacturers are experimenting with "simplifying" their Camera apps and also removing stuff like the HDR toggle switch.

Thankfully, nobody is touching Manual Mode, not just yet, and — in all honesty — it's a pretty fleshed out feature on most flagships out there. You've got shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, focus, and color temperature settings on almost any phone camera you pick up.

As far as the iPhone is concerned — there are quite a lot of 3rd party apps (Camera+, Halide, and many others) out there that give you the complete Manual Mode experience, which the stock app lacks.

But... do you use it? Or were manual controls cool while they were new and trendy, but are now impractical and not needed?

Do we still care about manual camera controls?

Yeah, I use them every day!
20.57%
Uh, sure... I might experiment with them from time to time
41.41%
Wait... I forgot I had those
10.65%
Nope
27.36%

FEATURED VIDEO

26 Comments

1. Peaceboy

Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018

My Xs camera are stunning and gorgeous. Taking more selfies and videos than ever.

10. BryThaPhoneGuy

Posts: 59; Member since: Nov 05, 2018

Selfies? And you're a guy?

16. Vogue1985

Posts: 454; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

How do you take pictures? With a pencil?

20. KParks23

Posts: 725; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

He's prolly duck face in a mirror! Hahaha

2. torr310

Posts: 1655; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Use it especially for taking low-light pictures.

3. midan

Posts: 2806; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

I don't want tech to be in my way when i take photos, i've tried many camera apps and always go back to iPhone own camera app, Almost always it gives me great results. Sometimes i change the exposure (usually lowering it) i'm surprised that people don't use that feature much, it can make your photos look so much better in certain situations.

23. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

One of the reasons for using manual is the file being saved in DNG format...which gives it versatility for post process editing. And yes, people don't really use the exposure adjustment that's available...its one of the most useful feature.

4. libra89

Posts: 2277; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I'm glad that there's the option for those who will use it but I never use it. I only do it if I feel like I don't like how the picture looks on the phone.

5. rsiders

Posts: 1949; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

For all the lads that don't know, Night Sight, Night Scene and Night Mode are imitations (quite good I might add) of something called long exposures. You need a tripod and an ND filter if there are bright light sources around. Yeah you can tell what camp I fall in.

24. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

But you don't get that sort of filters for phones. Just external clip on lens for macro, wide or 2X zoom.

25. rsiders

Posts: 1949; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

By your response I can tell what camp you fall into or what level of experience you have with this type of photography. You can buy ND filters for phones.

6. skymitch89

Posts: 1452; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

I haven't used the manual controls on my Note 8. I've tried it, but the HDR images are better than using manual controls.

12. Penny

Posts: 1850; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I disagree with that. HDR has it's time and place, but often you want to create a specific mood, and you need a specific exposure to do that. Manual control can give you the best control over the exact results. Here's a shot I took back with the Note 5 on manual, no post-processing:https://www.flickr.com/photos/99208479@N02/29885778352/

13. talon95

Posts: 996; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

I'd like a lot more mode options in manual. HDR, Super sampling, bulb, optical stabilization off, multiple exposure, tracking, face detection, flash sync, etc. They all need to do much better with their software to impress me. And if they wanted sales they would.

18. luis.aag90

Posts: 274; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

HDR is fine but you really want to havw manual controls available on low light scenes. Exposure can make up for an usable night picture

7. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Never, except maybe from time to time the brightness level when I select the focus.

8. geordie8t1

Posts: 297; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

Pay £\$1000for a device that can't shoot raw without having to pay even more for an app, to then pay even More for features in the app, good old c r @ p p l e

9. midan

Posts: 2806; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

No need to pay for shooting RAW, just download this app MuseCam and you are ready to go.

11. TMHKR

Posts: 202; Member since: Dec 08, 2012

Where is the option "I don't have manual controls"?

14. vessk0

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 12, 2016

I shoot only RAW !!!

15. Akraw

Posts: 70; Member since: Apr 02, 2012

sometimes I do use them but most of the time auto does the work for me

17. Vogue1985

Posts: 454; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

Use on items at night, when taking place xs of items (from 4 eBay swappa).

19. syntaxlord

Posts: 239; Member since: Oct 01, 2018

Tfw you're an iOS user who edits your shots afterwards.

21. KakashiHatake4444

Posts: 79; Member since: Jul 30, 2018

I'm always comparing manual vs auto shots. Having manual control is fun personally I have my own Instagram page (team_galaxyshots)

22. emjoigently

Posts: 152; Member since: Aug 22, 2017

I'm finding that I take the snap, then adjust it in Google Photos afterward. Fiddling while I am taking the photo doesn't seem like a thing to do anymore.

26. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1554; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I use a mix of auto and manual depending what I'm trying to do. Manual is often used in low light and long exposures.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.