5 Best Manual Camera Apps for iPhone

iPhone cameras have undergone substantial improvements in recent years. However, if there’s one weakness of the iPhone cameras – it’s the ability to shoot with manual controls. So, if you’re a pro shooter, you need to check out these best manual camera apps for iPhone.

Clicking photos with manual controls not only gives you granular controls but also lets you get creative with your shots. Whether you want to shoot the movement of stars in the sky or a simple light trail of vehicles on the road, you’ll need a manual iPhone camera app.

So, ditch the stock iPhone camera app for these five best apps.

Tip: Check out how to take the best night photos using iPhone Night Mode

1. Halide – Best iPhone Camera App for Professionals

Halide is out and out a pro app made for camera enthusiasts. If you’re a photographer who shoots in manual mode with an actual camera, you’ll feel right at home using the Halide app.

You get everything from manual focus to granular ISO and shutter speed adjustments. Features like histogram, focus peeking, and bokeh mode are also present. You can shoot in RAW or HEIC depending on your preference.

The app lets users shoot via all three lenses on the rear and the front-facing camera as well. Halide is undeniably one of the best manual camera apps for the iPhone. You can get the most out of your iPhone camera using the Halide app – provided you know what you’re doing.

Unfortunately, this level of granular controls demands a price and that comes in the form of a paid subscription model. Halide gives you a free trial for seven days after which you’ll have to shell out $2.99/month.

Price: Free for seven days; Subscription: $2.99/month

2. Shutter – Best Free Manual Camera App for iPhone

Just like the name of the app, the UI is simple and basic. There are no paid subscriptions here, nor are there any ads. It’s a simple camera app that just works.

Of course, there are downsides too of being too simple. While you get advanced controls like ISO, shutter speed, etc., the steps are not granular nor are there any indications of those parameters in terms of numbers. You have to approximate the shutter speed or ISO levels based on the bar at the bottom. Not ideal for pro photographers.

Now, considering it’s a free app, we have to appreciate the developer for bundling in pretty much everything you need to click a picture with manual settings. If you don’t mind the basic sliders and don’t want to spend any amount of money on an app, you can try out Shutter.

Price: Free

3. Varlens – Best for Shooting Light Trails

The next app of choice for manual controls on your iPhone is Varlens. While you get similar controls as that on Halide, the app looks slightly more basic with visual cues that will aid beginners. Also, users who don’t want to pay for the Pro version can still use some features of the app – something that’s not possible with Halide.

Your usual set of controls like ISO, shutter speed, and focus points are all present. However, you’ll have to purchase the Pro version if you want to manually adjust all parameters. The free version only includes certain modes like portrait and light trail.

The light trail mode is pretty good if you want to shoot a landscape at night with a lot of vehicle movement. Even though you can access these modes without a subscription, you cannot utilize the manual controls to their full extent.

The shutter speed and white balance levels are limited to a few values only. However, it’s good that the app lets you shoot some photos for free that you cannot achieve with the default camera app on the iPhone.

Price: Free; Subscription: $12/year

4. Yamera – Camera App With Granular Controls

Both the free apps mentioned above have a few issues. Shutter — which is completely free is quite basic. Varlens — which has a free version is extremely limited. Yamera tries to bridge the gap with a freemium manual camera app.

The way Yamera can provide granular controls on a free app is by displaying ads. As soon as you open the app, you will notice a banner ad running at the bottom of the screen. After all, this is how the developer makes money. You can get rid of the ads by purchasing the Pro version.

Apart from ads, there are some features like the ability to shoot RAW (DNG) images and watermarks that are unlocked only after purchasing the Pro version. However, most of the functionality required to shoot an image with manual controls can be accessed in the free version.

You can vary the focus distance, exposure, shutter speed, and even load presets for different scenes. Yamera also supports video recording in the free version itself which is nice.

The ads can get annoying at times, but you’re getting to use a feature-rich app for free so it’s a good compromise. Plus, if you want to get rid of the ads, you just have to pay a one-time fee of $1.99. There’s no recurring subscription fee.

Price: Free; Pro Version: $1.99

5. StarCapture – Best for Capturing the Night Sky

Who doesn’t like capturing the calmness of the night sky? While the Google Pixel’s camera app has astrophotography mode and Samsung’s has Nightography, the iPhone camera app misses out on such features. Don’t worry, though, as StarCapture solves exactly that. It lets you capture the stars in the night sky.

Before we get to the details of the app, we advise using a tripod to click pictures using the StarCapture app. Once you get hold of it, you’re set to click some gorgeous pictures of the night sky. What’s even better is that you can also use the app to capture light trails on the road.

The app automatically sets the parameters like ISO, shutter speed, etc. based on what you want to shoot. However, you also get the option to manually adjust them individually as per your liking. Even with all of these functions, the StarCapture app is completely free.

And by completely, we mean it’s totally free of any ads or in-app purchases. This makes the experience of using the app better. It’s worth reiterating that you absolutely must use a tripod when clicking pictures with the StarCapture app.

Price: Free

Camera Controls on Your Fingertips

A manual camera app for iPhone can help you take your photography game to the next level. You can decide how you want the final image to turn out and even apply cool effects to your photos. So, what are you waiting for? Download a manual camera app of your choice depending on your use cases and get clicking!

Last updated on 12 May, 2023

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