Firstlight app gives you real-time control over iPhone camera

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screenshots of Filmic Firstlight
Filmic brings live analytics to its new camera app for iPhone.
Screenshot: Filmic/App Store

An app developer putting out a camera and photo editing app today is in for a steep, uphill climb. Dozens of apps populate the category and those at the top are holding that place for a reason.

But the name Filmic should grab the iPhone photographer’s attention. The maker of Filmic Pro, the go-to app for mobile filmmakers, now offers a unique camera experience for stills called Firstlight.

Hyperspektiv 2.0 is the bestest, glitchiest photo filter app ever

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Every single filter on Hyperspektiv is killer.
Every single filter on Hyperspektiv is killer.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Hyperspektiv is one of my favorite photo apps from the past few years. Instead of screwing with your digital photos to make them look like olde timey film photos, it screws with your digital photos to make them look crazy and awesome. It’s a glitch-style filter app, and it pretty much decimates your images, turning them into incredible video clips, and — now — still photos.

Hyperspektiv 2.0 is out, and it cranks up the heat on the image-mangling burner to H-O-T.

5 great apps that bust out the bokeh on iPhone XS and XR

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The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS camera is pretty incredible. The device uses its two rear cameras, plus the A12 chip’s Neural Engine, to record such an accurate 3D map of the scene that you can adjust the background blur with a slider. But that depth map is useful for more than just blurring backgrounds. It can be used by other apps to:

  • Add realistic lights to a scene.
  • Choose any subject to be in focus, not just the one you picked when shooting.
  • Add custom background blurs.
  • Remove and replace backgrounds, like movie green-screen effects.

The iPhone XS is the gold standard for iOS cameras, but the XR manages some excellent tricks of its own. Despite having only one rear camera, the XR can still recognise people, and then use AI and the super-powerful A12 Neural Engine to separate out the person form the background. While this portrait matte isn’t as detailed as an iPhone XS depth map, it can in theory still be used to do many of the same tricks.

Today we’ll look at the best depth apps for the new iPhone XS, XR, and XS Max.

How to use the iPhone camera’s built-in manual controls

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Manual control can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Manual control can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

For most photos, the iPhone camera proves perfectly adequate. You just hold up your phone, point it, and shoot. The exposure and focus are almost always correct, or at least correct enough. But on occasion, you need to take control.

For instance, maybe that beautiful dark blue sky keeps getting washed out because the iPhone insists on correctly exposing the face of the human in the foreground, when you’d prefer to see the person in silhouette. (Or vice versa.) Or perhaps the iPhone insists on focusing on that tree in the foreground, instead of the person half-hidden behind it?

Both of these can be fixed using the manual controls built right into the iPhone’s own Camera app. They’re pretty well-hidden, so you might never have even noticed them. But rest assured, they are there — and they are very easy to use!

Obscura 2 is a manual camera app you can understand [50 Essential iOS Apps #18]

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Obscura 2 camera app taking a photo of a dog
Obscura 2 gives you powerful camera controls in an easy-to-use package.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Obscura Camera For several years in a row, the iPhone has been one of the most popular cameras in the world. Apple’s image sensors, paired with top-notch image processing, results in exceptional photos time and time again.

One thing absent from the default camera app, though, are manual settings. With Obscura 2, you get all the manual controls you want, plus a wide range of image-processing features, perfectly implemented haptics, and a slew of vintage filters to make your photos pop.

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iphone-sunset-unsplash-photo-750x500
For when the stock Camera app just doesn't cut it.
Photo: Unsplash.com

This Camera App Is Like Loading Black-and-White Film Into Your iPhone [Review]

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If you want to shoot b&w, get this app
If you want to shoot b&w, get this app now

Every now and again you find something on the App Store that brings a smile to your face because you know it’s new, it’s different, and it does something that no other app has done before. Hueless is a one dollar black-and-white camera app that meets all those criteria and more, and after just a day of shooting with it, I think I’m in love.