ProCamera 8: A solid app with new features and manual adjustments

One of the nice things iOS 8 brought to camera apps is the ability to manually adjust your photos before you shoot them, meaning that photographers get the kind of control normally associated with a DSLR. Things like ISO, shutter speed and exposure can be adjusted to create just the right mood in a photo. Yes, automatic settings work most of the time, but in tough backlighting situations exposure compensation can mean the difference between a photo you keep and one you delete.

ProCamera 8 (US$3.99) includes all these manual adjustments and quite a bit more. Video mode now supports slow motion, just like the Apple built-in software. HDR has been added as an in-app purchase for $1.99, and rather than add this feature on their own, the ProCamera developers partnered with the makers of vividHDR, one of the best HDR apps available.

Before you use ProCamera 8, you'll want to take a moment or two to familiarize yourself with the operation of the camera. There is button for selecting shooting modes including video, HDR, scanner or night shooting. On-screen controls and indicators include a grid for composition, an anti-shake mode, white balance, a self timer and a tilt-meter that turns a set of crosshairs green when the camera is level. You can adjust exposure composition by turning an on-screen wheel, and I found that to be a really helpful addition when light levels were challenging. The app also has a live histogram which I didn't find all that useful. Of course the app can be used in fully automatic modes, but where's the fun in that?

A word about the HDR option. It seems the HDR add-on doesn't work on the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. According to the developer the feature is coming, but isn't quite ready yet. I already had the vividHDR app and it crashed as well on the iPhone 6, so obviously there is some work to be done. HDR works fine on anything older than the iPhone 6 series.

Other than that, ProCamera can certainly be your default camera for most situations. The app includes cropping and adjustment tools to give your photos just about any look you can imagine.

There are some in-app purchases of other filters (San Fran and Street), but I think they are unnecessary and should be included in the app regular price instead of costing $0.99 each.

I feel the same about HDR, which most photographers will want anyway. I'd prefer for ProCamera 8 to have HDR built in, even if the developers have to raise the price of the app. HDR is pretty common these day;, even Apple includes it in the standard Camera app.

I checked the HDR on an iPhone 5s, and liked the results. ProCamera 8 takes three exposures very quickly, and then lets you select a variety of processing options before you commit to saving the final image. The HDR photo can be as natural or a garish as you like.

ProCamera 8 is a terrific camera app. The addition of manual controls to the iPhone's camera is a big step forward, and there is no reason why ProCamera 8 can't be the app you use for most photos.

I think the company is a bit too greedy for offering more filters for a price. They should be included, and the HDR feature should have been ready for iOS 8 since many other HDR photo apps are working just fine with the new OS.

ProCamera 8 requires iOS 8 or later. It's not universal.