8.21.2015

Photo Tip Friday: Review of Cell Phone apps for Manual Camera Control

by Mary Denman    @MaryDenman

Have you ever wondered if there are apps out there that allow you to control your smart phone like a DSLR camera? 

Well, I'm happy to tell you that there are and I'm going to review them today. 

This post will let you see what the interface on each app looks like and I'll let you know what I like about them. 

I'm going to review three apps: Shoot, Proshot and Manual. 

Let's get started:

Here's a collage for you of an identical subject, but taken with my iPhone 6, Shoot, Manual and ProShot apps.


The three apps all turn with the phone so you can read the controls whether they're horizontal or vertical. 

Shoot keeps almost all of the controls on the right side.
Manual predominately uses the right side but a couple of lesser used controls are on the left as well.
Proshot used the right and bottom sides for controls. 

Here is my comparison of the apps and what I like and didn't like. 

SHOOT by ProCam

Pros: 
  • The controls are easy to use. Once you select ISO or time, you can scroll to where you want it. As you move, you can see the immediate effect of the change on the image. 
  • ISO of 32 to 2000. 
  • Shutter speeds of 1/2 to 1/12000 sec.
  • TIFF  and HDR supported.
  • Live histogram can be used.
  • Fast response. 
  • White balance.
Cons:
  • No video. 

MANUAL by Little Pixels

Pros:

  • Simple, clean interface. You swipe to change ISO or shutter speed. As you move, you can see the immediate effect of the change on the image.
  • ISO of 34-1500. 
  • Shutter speeds of 1/2 to 1/2000 sec.
  • Live histogram.
  • White balance.

Cons:

  • You have to hold the ISO or time icon and then swipe through the list while keeping your finger over the icon. Personally, I found this cumbersome. 
  • No video.

ProShot by Edward Kezeli

Pros:

  • Video or still shots.
  • Full control of your phone like a DSLR. (See the website for all the features.)
  • ISO of 50-1600.
  • Shutter speeds of 1/2 to 1/2000 sec. 
  • White balance.
Cons:
  • Bigger learning curve.
  • I had issues with lag when using HDR. I would get one clear picture and one blurry one
The above shots were taken during the day. 

The following shots were taken inside at night. I pushed all three of the apps to their fastest ISO.

iPhone

Comments: The iPhone camera struggled with the high contrast of the dark piano in the foreground and the bright light behind. 











Shoot

Comments: ISO 2000....1/13 sec

With Shoot, I was able to change the ISO and shutter speed so that the piano has enough light to be clearly visible. 

The light in the back is washed out because of this, but the piano is now bright. 





Manual

Comments: ISO 1500....1/15 sec

At almost the exact same ISO and time as Shoot, you can see a little difference in lighting. 

But the photo turned out much brighter than just the iPhone camera.







ProShot

Comments: ISO 1500....1/8 sec

The reason this one is a little brighter is because of the time of 1/8 sec. I just didn't manage to match it exactly to 1/15. 








MY CONCLUSIONS:

I am happy to have found a way to control my cell phone more like a DSLR! 

After purchasing these on my own, and using them on my phone for a few weeks, I definitely have my favorites, in this order:

#1 Pick: SHOOT      This is the app I use the most frequently. Why?

  • Because changing the ISO and Shutter Speed is very easy for me. You touch ISO which highlights it and then you slide the lines underneath until you get the correct ISO. Shutter speed works the same way. I can do this while holding the camera with both hands easily.
  • Also, I love the fast response of the app. In contrast, I found that sometimes, ProShot lagged and I had trouble getting a clear shot. Because a lot of my use of my phone app is spur of the moment, I really have come to appreciate how fast the app works. 

# 2 Pick: ProShot      I'm still glad I bought this one. Why?

  • Because it has even more control than Shoot. While it's not my go to app for most shots, it does give me more control over the shots when I have a little more time to set it up. 
  • And, it has great video capability which Shoot and Manual don't have. This gives me more options and control when I video. 

# 3 Pick: Manual     

  • It has a very clean looking interface but I had a harder time setting the ISO and shutter speed where I wanted it. I kept overshooting where I was trying to go because my finger covered the numbers since I had to keep it over the icon. 
  • Others may like the way you change the ISO etc, but I got a little frustrated. 

So what do I recommend? 

For beginners, wanting basic control, or, for someone wanting a fast app for quick shots, I LOVE Shoot. 

ProShot absolutely has great features that have a bigger learning curve to use. But I'm glad I bought it and will take the time to learn how it functions. 

Manual has ended up languishing on my phone. I wanted to like it more. But for me, I reach for Shoot first. Manual's a good app, but just doesn't fit the way I take pictures. 

Having two different photo apps is fine. Especially when they serve such different purposes. And, the price is very reasonable for what they can do for your iPhone camera. 

As of August of 2015, in iTunes the apps cost: 
SHOOT by ProCam: $0.99 (50% off)
ProShot by Edward Kezeli: $2.99
MANUAL by Little Pixels: $1.99

UPDATE:
In Google Play:
ProShot: $2.99

I could not find either Shoot by ProCam or Manual in Google Play. While there are apps that have similar names, if you look at the interface of Shoot and Manual in my photos, and then look at the interface of the apps of similar names in Google Play, you will see they ARE NOT THE SAME. 

If I can borrow an Android and test out some apps in the future, I will do so to help those of you with Androids.

NOTE: There is no app that can control Aperture on a cell phone because the lens is a fixed length. 

I hope these reviews help.
Keep on clicking!
Mary 

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9 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this informative post. You had me reaching into the "Playstore" to check out these apps for my Android phone. As an FYI, all three are available as free downloads for Android users.

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    Replies
    1. Sue, thanks for dropping by. I hadn't even thought to look in the Playstore!

      I've updated my post based on your comment. I did find the correct version of ProShot that matches the one I reviewed for $2.99 for Android. Other apps with similar names to Shoot and Manual weren't by the same developers.

      But if I missed something, please let me know!

      I would recommend trying some of the free versions and see what you can find. :) Have a great weekend!

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  2. Hi Mary, awww iPhone, thank you for these tips, I am downloading Shoot by ProCam right now. Maybe it will help as I have relied on the the camera in the phone and it has worked ok but now I just discovered, I open Shoot to access my photos and share to Instagram where as before I had to access them in Instagram. Thanks for the tips today and for sharing on Friday Features!!

    Have a beautiful day!
    Karren
    Oh My Heartsie Girl

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    Replies
    1. Karren, I think you'll be really happy with it! I know I am!

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  3. So cool! I'd love to try these but don't have an iPhone. I'll have to look them up to see if they work on Androids too because they seem like great apps! Visiting from Friday Features :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by Lisa. ProShot is available for Androids. I'm sorry I don't have reviews for Android specifically, but I will try to do so in the future!

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  4. Great tips Mary, I don't own an i-pone yet but hoping to one day :)

    Thanks for sharing at the weekend blog hop..

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome Claire! I hope you're able to get sone soon!

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  5. This is great! I'm still getting my head around ISO and shutter speed and I don't always carry my big camera with me. So having these functions on my iPhone will be great practise! I'm going to look into all these 3 apps now! Thanks!

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