My iPhone is home to nearly a dozen camera apps. The one I use the most is Apple’s built-in iPhone camera app. What about all the others? Good question. From 1970 to 2000, I took 5,000 photos, most of which I still have stored away in boxes or albums or scanned and dumped into Photos on my Mac. Since the year 2000 I’ve taken 24,000 digital photos, again, saved into Photos. Of those 24,000 photos, 20,000 were taken with an iPhone.
Owning an iPhone means most of us take more photos. So, why are most of those photos taken with the iPhone’s built-in app instead of one of the dozen other camera apps, which, in some cases, do more?
Ease of use. The iPhone’s built-in camera app is, relatively speaking, of course, easy to use. Controls across the top. Controls across the bottom. Press the button to take a photo. Move the photo type slider to change the type of Photo– Photo, Video, Portrait, Slo-Mo, etc.
Why not use one of the other iPhone camera apps in my collection? I’m not a full time photographer so those apps have a learning curve which can be unlearned by the next time the app gets used. Besides, the quality of the photo remains much the same, regardless of the app. No, iPhone photos are not DSLR quality, but good ones are almost indistinguishable.
This is the first of the many iPhone camera apps in my collection that takes me back to the days of Pentax Spotmatic, my first SLR. What I loved about that camera was the exposure meter. Adjust the lens stop or shutter speed and the meter would move up or down and change the exposure. After awhile it became easy to adjust the exposure for different lighting or effects.
Halide is something like that Pentax Spotmatic exposure meter. The controls are visual and tactile. From the website:
Halide has a completely unique gestural control scheme that is as intuitive and tactile as a great film camera, like an old Leica or Pentax.
Run a finger along the image and a yellow exposure bar pops up and, unlike the Spotmatic viewfinder, the onscreen image adjusts according; underexposed or overexposed. It’s a wonderful feeling of control that dates back decades.
Unlike Pentax models of yesteryear, Halide has autofocus (AF) and manual focus (MF). The former is a simple button. Press it and focus behaves like a good iPhone camera app should. Press MF and DSLR-like manual focus comes into view with another intuitive slider bar that utilizes the dual cameras in iPhone 7 Plus to provide depth of field you can see on the screen’s image.
The rest of Halide’s controls are visible or slide out of the way as needed. Switching from RAW to JPG requires a couple of touches. Switching from AF to MF requires a single touch. Even better, the control locations are customizable.
Smart Auto for automatic controls. One touch. Focus Peaking is my new favorite feature. Grid and level are obvious, but if you want a histogram, it’s a touch away. Halide comes with a built-in manual and you only need to use it once because everything it teaches becomes intuitive after just a few minutes of use.
Unlike Pentax models of the 21st century, Halide is photos only, so it’s not the jack-of-all-trades found in iPhone’s built-in camera which does photos, videos, panorama, square, slo-mo, and time-lapse, but there’s just no easier way to get some of that old fashioned Pentax feeling in an iPhone.
Not bad for a few bucks.