AMITIAE - Wednesday 8 October 2014
Two Camera Apps Using the Manual Controls now Allowed by iOS 8 (Bangkok Post, Life)
By Graham K. Rogers
One of the cross-system features is HandOff and it is interesting that users will be able to take phone calls on the Mac: useful if the phone is in one room and I am working in another. Another part of the iOS 8.1 release, is Apple Pay. This works through NFC which other devices have had for a while, although these may not have had the infrastructure or the banks on board as Apple has.
It is interesting that Apple excluded PayPal from negotiations as it was already linked to another company. Within a few days, E-Bay decided to spin PayPal off as a separate company. As is Apple's way, it is expected that APIs for NFC and ApplePay will be available to 3rd-party developers next year. Apple's walled garden approach infuriates some, but the company is concerned more about protecting users.
For iOS 8, Apple did release APIs to allow use of manual controls in camera apps. I have been running a couple of these: a new app, appropriately called Manual; and one of my long-term favourites, 645 Pro Mk III.
At the bottom of the screen are user controls for ISO (34 - 2000) and time: half a second to 1/2000, plus Auto. A display on the left indicates a fixed aperture setting of f2.2.
Like 645 Pro (below) I found access to the tab for ISO and the time settings less easy with my fingers. It takes a while to gain full familiarity. However, I was impressed with the way I could make adjustments and see the subject change as I did this, allowing me to improve the image on the fly. Output was satisfactory with images at 3264 x 2448 (8 MP).
Image taken using Manual app
After years of relying on built-in software - DSLR, iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch - I find a certain satisfaction in setting up a shot and (sometimes) getting it right. With digital, I can see the results immediately. With film, I have to wait for developing and then scan negatives before I can see if I was right. Or wrong.
Film Emulations in 645 PRO Mk III
Image taken using 645 PRO Mk III
Onscreen controls allow quick settings changes, for example to white balance. A new selector wheel gives access to manual control of some settings, so that a user may specify ISO priority, shutter priority, or Manual control. The selector can also be used to view a full (PDF) guide to the app. ISO settings run from 32 up to 2000.
Carousal Option in 645 PRO Mk III
The Menu system is comprehensive. The app can be set up in a similar way to a DSLR camera, including copyright information and file formats. Since it appeared in 2012, 645 PRO (and PureShot) have allowed images to be saved as TIFF files. They are quite hefty at around 20 MB and take a while to transfer via iCloud, but the image quality with these uncompressed files is good enough for me to leave the DSLR camera at home some days.
Image taken using 645 PRO Mk III
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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