Let’s face it, the Camera app bundled with the iPhone is basic to say the least. It is designed to be super simple, quick and easy to use. You can fire it up in a flash and take a quick snapshot in no time. If you are serious about photography and want to take better shots, but don’t want the hassle of carrying a bulky digital SLR, ProCam is the answer.
ProCam is a free app, that has just about every feature you could wish for in a digital camera and it is amazing considering the price. This screen shot will give you some idea of the functions available and there are even more hidden behind the various buttons and menus.
On the right is a circular control that chooses the mode and there is single and multi-shot camera, video camera, night mode, portrait and more. The whole thing rotates like a wheel reminiscent of the knob on the top of a real digital camera. The lever in the bottom right corner is the zoom control and it slides around the control wheel, just as it does on some real cameras.
Down at the bottom are saturation, white balance and exposure buttons. Tap one and the scale to the right is has a slider for adjusting the settings. It is easy to increase or decrease the saturation, exposure and white balance. The circle and square on the image are for setting the focus and exposure points and you tap to place them and drag them to set them. On the left side of the screen are focus, exposure and white balance locks. This enables you to set them and lock them.
Tap the menu button in the bottom left corner of the screen and this grid of options appears in the middle:
The first column of icons displays various grids, such as thirds, that help you to compose the shot better. The second and third columns set the aspect ratio and resolution of the photo. The last column is the flash mode.
Press the Set button in the top right corner and this control appears that enables you to configure the settings:
The image above doesn’t give you any idea of the number of options and the list goes is very long and detailed. You can see one screen of options in the screen shot and swiping reveals another four screens full of options. And that’s just the Photo tab. The Video tab is just as big. Style chooses between interface style, LNG is the language and INFO is app info.
There are date and time stamps, geotagging on/off, face auto snap, location stamp, font and colour selection for stamps, JPEG quality settings, burst mode quality, self-timer settings, and more.
Switch to video shooting mode and you have another seemingly endless array of functions and configuration options. These include a selectable frame rate from 5 frames per second to 30 fps, resolutions from 480 x 360 to Full 1080p HD, and more.
It is a really impressive app that has an amazing range of features, but there is a downside to all this. One problem with the app is that the interface is very slow and unresponsive. It takes a full second with a finger on the menu button before it responds and displays the menu. The circular knob control on the right is similarly unresponsive. This makes the app awkward to use.
ProCam was tested on an iPhone 5, which could hardly be called a slow phone and the app is optimised for iPhone 5 according to the App Store blurb. However, it probably requires the power of an iPhone 5s to really work well.
The other problem is that quite often you just don’t have time to go through all the options and settings. If you have five minutes to set up and take a shot, then it is great, but you don’t always have that luxury. Although you can point and shoot easily enough, if you are going to do that, you might as well use the stock camera app.
If you have an iPhone 5 or 5s you should definitely get ProCam. You won’t need it on every occasion, but for special shots that you want to set up carefully it is brilliant.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 19 April 2014