Halide adds a color histogram and even smarter Smart RAW

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Halide’s new color histogram is pretty great looking all by itself.
Halide’s new color histogram is pretty great looking all by itself.
Photo: Halide

Halide, the best iPhone camera app that isn’t the iPhone’s Camera app, has gotten yet another amazing update. This time it brings a color histogram (which is actually way cooler than it sounds), plus even smarter Smart Raw.

Halide rocks

Halide is my favorite second camera app. The built-in camera app is my go-to, because it works so well (mostly), and it has an icon on the lock screen. But for the time it can’t handle the situation, or when it refuses to lock on in Portrait Mode, or when I know I’ll need some more advanced features and manual control, I pick Halide.

Plus, if you put Halide in there Today View, it’s almost as easy to launch — just swipe right instead of left, and tap it.

Color histograms

You already know about the regular histogram. It’s a graph that shows the amount of light and dark in a scene, and indicates whether you’re about to over- or underexpose a shot. It’s essential for tricky photos, and handy for all of them.

The color histogram is the same, only it also breaks down the light by color. That way you can see if particular color in the image is about to get washed out.

Look at the difference correct exposure makes to color.
Look at the difference correct exposure makes to color.
Photo: Halide

As ever with new features, the Halide blog not only shows you what it does, but it teaches you a little about photography too. In this case, Halide developer Ben Sandofsky teaches us about color exposure.

In his example, Ben explains how an otherwise well-exposed photo can result in washed out color. Using red roses as an example, he shows how the color histogram reveals the danger, and how to fix it (spoiler: underexpose the image, then edit it to brighten it back up).

Smarter RAW

The other new feature is an improvement to Halide’s Smart RAW. The team came up with Smart RAW to compensate for the terrible default RAW images captured by the iPhone XS’ camera. The iPhone deliberately overexposes its images in order to get extra data to feed its Neural Engine. That’s fine in general use, but if you actually want those RAW images, they’re awful. Smart RAW underexpose the images to let it use the lowest-possible ISO, resulting in stunning RAWs. In the newest Halide, v1.12, the app uses “intelligent decisions around exposure to pick the best dynamic range.” That means that the level of underexposure is worked out per-image to optimize the result.

If you already have Halide, then you probably already have this update. If not, grab it now.

Halide Camera

Price: $5.99

Download: Halide Camera from the App Store (iOS)