Every element of the new iOS interface has been updated. In addition to the home screen and menus, this includes core apps like the Camera which form a large part of the iOS experience. Apple claims iOS 7 is the largest update the operating system has ever seen, and they mean it.
The camera app is part of that, of course, and it’s been completely revised. Even experienced iOS users are likely to be a bit taken aback at first – not a single element of the old app remains. Functionally, however, it does everything it did before and tacks on some new features as well.
A New Look
The new camera interface is built to make additional camera modes more obvious and readily accessible. Buttons have been replaced with swipe navigation. By default the camera opens to the standard photo mode. Swipe left to take video, or swipe right to access the square photo and panorama modes (in portrait mode).
Options and other features are now found in the corners. They are, clockwise from the upper left, flash, HDR, the front or rear camera switch, iOS 7’s new filters and a link to the Camera Roll. The photo button itself remains in the same place, though it has been revised to fit iOS 7’s minimalistic aesthetic.
One of the cooler tricks up the new app’s sleeve is the addition of live filters, which are accessed in the lower right hand corner. These update in real-time so users can preview what a filter will look like and compare it directly to others. Not revolutionary, perhaps, but very useful for those who take part in the filter craze (and these days, who doesn’t?).
Note: Live filters are only available on the iPhone 5 or later, iPod touch fifth generation or fourth generation iPad due to hardware constraints. Users on earlier iOS devices can still apply filters from the Photos app, under photo editing.
Zoom While Recording
Another feature that can be labeled “not revolutionary, but cool” is the ability to zoom while recording. This was a minor sore point in past versions of iOS, and could lead to problems for people who wanted to record scenes that feature a lot of dynamic movement, or objects in both foreground and background.
Zooming activates via the pinch-to-zoom feature, so figuring out how to use it isn’t complex. Be warned, however, that this is feature is not magic. Narrowing your focus may compromise image quality, particularly in a dark environment, and it is after all digital zoom which stretches pixels rather than using optics to get closer.
Camera Access from Control Center
There are many ways to open the camera app, but apparently Apple thought they weren’t enough, because another has been added. It can be found in Control Center, the new settings panel that is opened by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
Though it may seem redundant, there is sense to it, both relative to the camera app and settings as a whole. Control Center is always available, even in apps and on the lockscreen (unless disabled), so it provides a slightly faster route to the camera. You no longer have to back out of your currently active app, but can instead open the camera with one swipe and one tap.
This also means you can bury the Camera app icon in a folder and free up one more space on your home screen, perhaps for an alternative camera app you use.
iPhone 5S brings new features
The camera has consistently been one of the iPhone’s best features. Users who buy the iPhone 5S will have access to some new features through their Camera app which are not available to everyone else.
These include True Tone Flash, which allows for the correction of skin hue when LED flash is used as well as Burst Mode for capturing up to 10 photos per second. Auto Image Stabilization will stabilize an image… uh, automatically and Slow Motion Video is equally self-explanatory. These features make the iPhone 5S camera even more capable, particularly when capturing fast movement.
You can find additional Camera options in the Settings app, accessible under Settings > Photos & Camera. This may seem inconvenient, but there are only two options – a toggle for grid lines and a toggle for keeping a normal photo when shooting in HDR mode. Most users will only need to visit the settings once, if at all.
The new camera app is radically different from the old one yet it’s also instantly easy to use, which is a testament to Apple’s new design language. While I don’t personally agree with everything they have done, the good certainly outweighs the bad, and the Camera app is a prime example. It simply works even better than before.
What do you think? Is the new camera app awesome, or has it confused you? Let us know in the comments.