In Brief: iOS 8's Manual Camera Controls

By Norman Chan

New camera app will open up many more features.

We talked about this on last week's podcast, but I wanted to talk more about the changes coming to iPhone in Apple's upcoming iOS 8. The camera app in the new iOS, which presumably will work on the current iPhones, in addition to whatever iPhone models Apple releases this year. New features mentioned in the WWDC keynote include a built-in time-lapse recording mode and shutter delay timer, but the more exciting capabilities for photographer are the manual ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, and white balance settings. According to Anandtech, only exposure bias will make it into the default camera app, while the rest of the manual controls are exposed through the API for third-party apps to surface and exploit.

Unfortunately, while these new controls are welcome additions to the iPhone, there's been no mention of any RAW shooting capability. The updated iCloud will support RAW file syncing for photos imported from external sources into iPhoto, which gives hope that Apple may announce RAW photo capabilities in the Fall with new hardware. RAW photography is already available on some smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 1020, and has been rumored to be an upcoming Android feature. While smartphone camera sensors are still limited by their physical size and lens, lossless RAW photography will avoid JPEG compression and let you make important post-processing adjustments like white balance. DPReview's evaluation of RAW processing of Lumia 1020 photos was promising, and I've had success using RAW processing to improve the photos taken by our DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ quad.