Five of the Best Camera Apps on iOS

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    There's nothing wrong with the stock Camera app that comes on every iPhone, but there are many third-party camera apps available in the App Store that add additional functionality, filters, and other effects that are worth checking out.

    For our latest YouTube video, we asked MacRumors readers for their favorite camera apps, and compiled a list of the best and most popular options. If you're looking to take your iPhone photography up a notch, make sure to check these out.


    Halide, priced at $5.99, was the top pick when we asked for preferred camera apps. More MacRumors readers chose it than any other camera app, which is no surprise because Halide offers a rich feature set.

    Halide offers up full manual controls for shutter speed, ISO, and white balance, along with a live histogram for perfecting exposure. The swipe-based interface is easy to use, and you can capture photos in RAW, JPG, TIFF, or HEIC formats.

    There are depth controls for newer iPhones, manual and autofocus tools, and for iPhone XR, there's a Depth Capture feature that works with pets, food, and other items, unlike the native Depth Control feature. Halide just added a new color histogram, which is a nifty option that lets you make sure you have the right exposure to preserve color detail and make colors pop. Halide has a new app coming out in the near future, so keep an eye out for that.

    ProCam 6

    ProCam 6, priced at $5.99, was also a popular choice with MacRumors readers. ProCam offers full manual control options for shutter speed, ISO, focus, and white balance, along with tap-based manual focus assist, built-in warnings for overexposure, and live values for metrics like ISO and shutter speed.

    You can choose your video frame rate and resolution when taking video, or choose from multiple shooting modes like Night Mode, Burst Mode, Slow Shutter, and 3D Photos. Like most of the camera apps on this list, ProCam 6 lets you capture RAW, JPG, TIFF, and HEIF images, and there's a live light level histogram.

    For editing after capturing a photo, ProCam 6 includes 60 filters, 17 lenses for fun effects, multiple adjustment tools, and video editing capabilities. There are custom profiles for saving your favorite shooting modes and camera settings, and Siri Shortcuts are supported.

    Obscura 2

    Priced at $4.99, Obscura has a simple swipe-based interface that puts the tools you need right at your fingertips, and it's ideal for one-handed use.

    You can capture photos in RAW, HEIC, and JPG formats, take Live Photos, and capture images with depth on newer iPhones. There are tools for adjusting white balance, exposure, and focus, as well as ISO and shutter speed, plus there's a histogram for adjusting exposure.

    There are 19 included filters available, which can be used in post processing or with live previews, and there are additional filter packs available for purchase in the app. Swiping down from the top of the app gives you access to your Photo Library, and swiping up on a selected photo shows all the metadata you might need to know.


    Focos is a free download, but charges a fee for pro tools. It costs $0.99 per month or $11.99 for lifetime access. Focos offers full manual controls for capturing images, along with options for depth control, portraits, adjustable bokeh, and more.

    You can import your Portrait Photos and adjust the bokeh (aka background blurring) effect, and there are options to simulate lens effects like creamy, bilinear, swirly, and reflex effects. There are also options to add lighting and edit depth maps.


    Moment, like Focos, is a free download but requires a $4.99 purchase to unlock Pro tools. Moment offers options for manually adjusting exposure, ISO, shutter speed, focus, white balance, and image format, which lets you customize the look of your photos beyond what you can do with the stock Camera app.

    RAW shooting is supported, as are HEIF and HEVC, Apple's newest photo and video formats, and there's a live histogram. Moment's app is designed to work with Moment's lenses, available separately on the Moment website, but it also works without them.

    You have to pay for manual controls and advanced video tools, but it's worth the $4.99 if you want full control over how your iPhone photos turn out.


    All of these camera apps are fantastic, but they're just a small sampling of the photography-oriented app options in the App Store. If we missed your favorite camera app, make sure to let us know which one you prefer in the comments.

    Please feel free to share your favorite photo editing apps too, because we'll be covering that in an upcoming video and article.

    Article Link: Five of the Best Camera Apps on iOS
  2. citysnaps macrumors 601

    Oct 10, 2011
    San Francisco
    Polarr is my iPhone post processing app. It's outstanding, if you're fussy about post.
  3. fumi2014 macrumors regular

    May 21, 2014
    You guys need to research your articles. Halide does not shoot in HEIC even though they claim so on their website. Try it for yourself.
  4. BGPL macrumors regular


    May 4, 2016
    No Camera+ 2? Am I using a total box of dump app or what?
  5. slvrscoobie macrumors 6502a


    Mar 24, 2013
    but my question: what OTHER apps can do Panos as well as the 'camera' app? none of these do panos and although the baked in isnt bad, id love more options!
  6. cppguy macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2009
    SF Bay Area, California
    For video, Filmic Pro is the best. It can communicate with popular gimbals, and supports shooting in Log for a higher dynamic range.
  7. sos47 macrumors regular


    Jul 13, 2016
  8. jhwalker macrumors regular

    May 31, 2011
    Hydra - uses multiple captures to enhance detail, reduce noise, etc. Great use of computational photography.
  9. teknikal90 macrumors 68040


    Jan 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    isnt the best part of iphone photography the HDR feature nowadays?
    Do these apps support HDR?
  10. fumi2014 macrumors regular

    May 21, 2014
    Adobe Lightroom on iOS does.
  11. ajf.350d macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2010
    Worcestershire, UK
    No, my No1 app as well since I found it.
    Primarily as it’s macro feature seems to give better results than all the others I have tried.
    Also like ProCamera as it has some good HDR and low light options.
  12. tylersdad macrumors regular


    Jul 26, 2010
    I like Halide, I just wish I could tell iOS to use Halide instead of the stock camera app when pressing the camera icon on the lock screen.
  13. fumi2014 macrumors regular

    May 21, 2014
    There is a shortcut you can put on the Lock Screen.
  14. Crowbot macrumors regular


    May 29, 2018
    No, Camera+ 2 is my favorite. I like the Lightbox feature so I can go through my photos before sending them to the Photos app.
  15. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    I've grown accustomed to the Macro mode and Lightbox in Camera+.

    Have been considering v2, but also checking out the alternatives first.

    Doesn't seem that anyone else has a Macro mode. Have I missed them?

    C+2 would also be a well-known quantity so I'll upgrade sooner or later anyway. Considering it was a rewrite, is it stable and relatively bug-free now?
  16. tylersdad macrumors regular


    Jul 26, 2010
    I know and I have that shortcut enabled on my Lock Screen. But I'm referring to the camera icon on the screen that shows the flashlight and camera icons at the bottom. I'm not sure what the screen is called. I always thought it was the Lock Screen.

    At any rate, I don't want to have to swipe right to get to that screen that has the shortcut then scroll down to try to find it. Not very convenient at all.
  17. ttre45 macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2003
    Actually it does. You can find it at Settings > Advanced Settings > High Efficiency. Choosing that captures a HEIC image. The other option, Most Compatible, captures a JPEG image.

    {Insert snide remark about fumi2014's research/knowledge about photography/etc}
  18. fumi2014, Feb 12, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019

    fumi2014 macrumors regular

    May 21, 2014
    Yeah, that's the best you can do. Even though I have Halide and LR, mostly I end up using the stock camera app because of that camera icon you refer to. It's just so much more convenient.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 12, 2019 ---
    Actually you are wrong. It doesn't matter which option you choose. Halide will only do RAW + JPEG.

    {Insert snide remark about ttre45's lack of research/knowledge about photography/etc}
  19. roguedaemon macrumors newbie


    Apr 16, 2015
    Honestly I don’t think any of these third party camera apps hold any huge amount of value until you can make it the default.

    Don’t get me wrong, all of these camera apps are fantastic, I personally use ProCam and Filmic Pro.
    However honestly 99.5% I go for the stock camera app since it’s just a swipe away on the lock screen.
  20. waldo647 macrumors newbie


    Oct 1, 2014
    Tucson, Arizona
    I'm in a similar situation with Lightroom for iOS — the Adobe camera shoots in DNG or JPG. I use it in DNG only, then those DNGs sync to Lightroom Classic on my iMac. I'm retired now, and finally have time to test this. My results are still preliminary, but it looks like Apple Photos may be better at editing HEICs than Lightroom (still working on this part). I've been importing my camera roll into Lr iOS and syncing all my photos (since updating to an iPhone XR last November). I have more testing to do with both, but it looks like I may go back to a split between HEICs in Apple's library and DNGs in Lightroom. The Adobe camera in Lr iOS is fairly handy if I leave the app open. Yes, it takes an extra step or two initially. The final question may come down how much more I can do with DNGs than HEIC. Since I'm already a DSLR shooter since 2007, and using Lightroom, this all makes sense for me. And while the new HEIC format is better than JPG in a number of ways, there are still times when it can look artificial. Switching to DNG in those situations may be worth it, depending on one's needs & wants. One's preference for backend infrastructure (Apple's vs Adobe's library) and cataloging needs are factors, too.
  21. MaxwellEdison macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2010
    It saves non-raw as HEIF files, if you select it in settings. HEIC is just a container format for "files" with more than one file, such as RAW+JPG or live photos with audio.
  22. luxborealis macrumors newbie


    Jan 10, 2011
    Can’t say enough about Lightroom Mobile. Clean interface, zebra highlights in Pro (DNG raw) mode, easy exposure compensation PLUS HDR-RAW saved to DNG - excellent quality! Porting to Lightroom Desktop is one file at a time for the free version, but it’s still the BEST raw available for iOS and it’s without the gimmicky ‘let’s look like everyone else’ filters.
  23. jclo Editor


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    It doesn't capture HEIC + RAW, but it does use HEIC when not set to capture RAW images.
  24. JosephAW macrumors 68020


    May 14, 2012
    Long time user of Camera+ And MoviePro
  25. tobybrut macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2010
    I have a question for those who have used a lot of camera apps. I tried some of the ones in the list but found that none of the ones I tried supported 4K video at 60fps. The only one I found that could was Apple’s built-in camera app.

    But there was one huge problem with the Apple Camera App. I like to see what I’m filming when vlogging, so I tried mirroring the iPhone screen to Apple TV via AirPlay. The weird thing is that if you put the iPhone in landscape mode, mirroring stays in portrait mode, making me have to turn my head to see if I’m centered in the camera. It’s clear the camera app knows it’s been put in landscape mode because the text and photo album thumbnail rotate into landscape, but mirroring doesn’t change.

    Do any of these camera apps support 4K video at 60fps and correctly mirror via AirPlay?

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