Your iPhone’s camera has so much more power than iOS’ stock camera app lets you tap.
That’s because the camera app that comes on your iPhone doesn’t take full advantage of all of your camera’s capabilities, which is why many serious iPhone photographers use a third-party camera app to shoot.
Now, iPhone photography enthusiasts have a new app at their disposal: Halide.
The camera app, which just launched in the App Store, was created by two veterans of the tech world: Benjamin Sandofsky, a former Twitter engineer, and Sebastiaan de With, a former Apple designer.
Like other third-party camera apps, like Camera+, Halide gives photographers manual controls to independently change settings like exposure, focus, ISO, white balance, and shutter speed. What separates it from other camera apps, according to its creators, is that it’s designed so that even novice photographers can use these functions without being overwhelmed.
For one, the $2.99 app (it will cost $4.99 beginning June 6) uses gesture-based controls that allow you to adjust the app’s various settings by swiping across the screen. The idea, according to de With, Halide’s designer, was to create a camera app that felt like using a film camera.
“With regular old cameras, the action of the dials are something you can learn and can become a sort of muscle memory after a while. Halide has those too; you swipe to change exposure or to focus manually.”
Other features that will apply to pros and enthusiasts alike: a live histogram, support for RAW capture, and focus peaking, which detects which areas of the photo are in focus.
That may sound complex, but the camera also has an automatic mode, the default setting for the app, helps make it more approachable for beginners.
Apple, of course, is notorious for its meticulous attention to even the smallest details and de With and Sandofsky took a similar approach with Halide. The duo hired a designer to create a custom typeface for the app, spent “a ton of time” finicking with the shutter button and in-app animations. They even designed the in-app tutorial to look like a retro analog camera manual.
All that may sound over the top, but it’s all in the name of taking better iPhone photos, which is something even the least design-savvy can appreciate.