Better Camcorder Receives Proper iOS7 Lossless Zoom and Slow Motion Support

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Menneisyys2, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    Back in the iOS5 times, when evaluating the then-available high-framerate & slow motion recorders for the then as the only high speed viedo-recording-capable iPhone model, the 4S, I didn't really recommend Better Camcorder ($free with a 10-second restriction; unlock costs $1.99), because it was clearly weaker than the alternative, SloPro.

    Now, exactly the opposite is true: the just-released, brand new version (1.7) of Better Camcorder is clearly better than SloPro with regards to making use of the brand new zooming-specific features of iOS7. And the in-app purchase unlock only costs half of that of SloPro.

    Appstore update notes below, along with those of the latest version of SlowCam ($1.99), of which I'll also publish a detailed review (as usual, click the image for the original one):


    For the moment, feel free to check out my quick remarks on the latter app at Digital Photography Review. In a nutshell: compared to SlowCam, Better Camcorder is much more versatile because it can shoot in any video mode, can (at least theoretically – see my bug report below) en/disable the image stabilization but cannot export truly 30 fps footage ready for true slow-motion video upload. It will export native, raw 60 (iPhone 4S / 5 / 5c) / 120 (iPhone 5s) fps video to the Camera Roll, which means you'll need to do some desktop processing to slow it down by a factor of 2 or 4 by converting it to 30 fps. In this regard, SlowCam is much better.

    However, when it comes to lossless zooming, the just-released Better Camcorder is the only AppStore app I know of to support making use of the lossless zoom in iOS7. (Please check out my recently-published Lossless Zooming bible for more info.) And it does it flawlessly. While other, not-yet-updated apps with zooming capabilities still use lossy zooming resulting in much inferior image quality at any zoom ratio, Better Camcorder does it losslessly (in the lossless range, of course). Let me present you a 720p30 video framegrab grabbed from a video I've shot with the, at 720p30, maximal available lossless zoom, 2.18x:


    If you compare this to my 720p resolution chart shots made by my reference zoom implementation in the introduction of my above-linked Lossless Zooming bible, you'll notice it's of the same quality. No old-school, lossy digital zooming took place.

    Here's a screenshot of the app in action while shooting the above 720p video:


    Pay special attention to the zoom slider on the right. Below it, a label shows the current zoom level. As you can see, it shows 2.18, which, as I've explained in my Lossless Zooming bible, corresponds to the maximal lossless zoom factor when shooting at 720p. (Again, the above reschart shot was shot at this very zoom factor.) The zoom slider only lets you use lossless zooming, unless you specifically enable digital (that is, lossy) zoom in Settings (see the “Digital Zoom” switch at the bottom):


    Problems, bugs

    1, If you switch between resolutions and, in 720p, between normal and over-30 fps modes, the zoom slider will still allow for zooming using the lossless threshold in the previous mode. This means if you shoot at 720p30, which allows for a losslesss zoom of the factor 2.18 and, then, switch to 1080p, where the threshold is a lower 1.45, the change won't immediately be noticed by the slider. You'll happily shoot at 2.18, thinking the iPhone is still recording (almost) lossless, (almost) full-resolution footage, only to later find out that it was no more the case.

    Pay attention to this bug. Basically, after some recording / setting change titles, the changes will be noticed. Note that killing and restarting the app won't help – on the contrary, it'll even forget the previous setting.

    2. Equally rushed is the “Video Stabilization” switch in Settings (see the center of the following screenshot):


    It just doesn't work. All the test videos I've shot were recorded with the stabilization off, independent of the state of this switch.

    Hopefully, these bugs will be promptly ironed out. In the meantime, only shoot with this app if you really don't mind the lack of stabilization (because, say, you're shooting from a tripod) and don't forget to pay attention to the zoom slider bug to avoid shooting with an already-lossy zoom factor.
  2. toxotis70 macrumors member


    Aug 22, 2007
    athens, greece
    i have iphone 5s... is there any benefit by shooting with this app ?

    Is there any app i can shoot 60 fps in 1080p with iphone 5s ?
  3. Menneisyys2 thread starter macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    1, nope, unless you need other video modes than 1080p30 and 360p120 (a.k.a. 720p120 but don't forget it's only recording 640*360 pixels) or want to disable the stabilizer (to widen the FoV). The slow mo editor of the built-in Camera client is great on the 5s.

    2, nope. The 5s, unfortunately, doesn't support 1080p60, unlike some Android flagships.


    UPDATE (Oct/21/2013): as was easy to predict, the developers have quickly fixed one of the above-mentioned bugs: the non-working stabilization switch. The update notes are as follows:


    Note that the notes also speak of saving zoom levels. I haven't noticed it having been fixed - that is, after swithcing resolution / mode, it'll stay at the previous maximum level for a while, which is pretty much annoying, particularly if you don't want to keep in mind the maximal lossless zoom range with each resolution / framerate you use (just to recap: 1080p: 1.45x; 720p30 and below: 2.18, 720p60 / 720p120: 1.04). The stabilization switch, on the other hand, does work.
  4. Takenlife macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2012
    I'd love updates on this and comparisons of other camera apps.

    Also is there any way the iPhone 5 can display 60fps without degrading the resolution? Seems like it's not as clear as taking a picture. I used

    SloPro = Blurry recording with 60fps - iPhone 5
    ProCamera 7 = Is a little better but I can't seem to see what fps its running at. It's not blurry like slo pro. Maybe lower frames.

    Any suggestions ?
  5. Menneisyys2 thread starter macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    1. The native 720p60 mode will always be blurry because of the half-resolution recording and one can't do anything to fix this.

    2. Will re-check ProCamera 7 soon and report back.
  6. Takenlife macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2012
    Any luck?

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