Thursday, February 12, 2015

iPhone Night Photos with Manual Custom Exposure Camera App

New iPhone camera functionality in iOS 8 allow third party apps to open up manual exposure settings for iPhone photos. This is particularly interesting to anyone already familiar with DSLR settings, people who want full control of their exposures, and people like us (me and probably you too) who want to push certain aspects of the camera settings to continue pioneering into the realm of iPhone night sky photography and iPhone astrophotography.

I won't do as detailed an article as iPhone Photography School, so I recommend their post titled How To Use The New iOS 8 Manual Camera Controls.

I'll focus on one great app called "Manual - custom exposure camera" for now - but trust me there are more great apps on the way and I have my eye out for new useful tools all the time!




This app is simple and does the trick. The menu to change ISO can get stuck scrolling sometimes as your finger touches off the side of the scroll bar - and when the scroll bar pops up it covers up the shutter and dashboard section. But all in all it does the job and was very intuitive. I didn't have to read anything about how to use it to just dive right in.

You'll notice below that the Manual app only goes up to ISO 1600 where even the default iPhone camera chose to push the ISO even higher, but the default camera didn't compensate with longer shutter so the final image is much darker.

manual iphone camera exposure
iPhone, handheld, Manual app, f/2.2, 1/2 sec, ISO 1600, 4mm

bad iphone night shot
iPhone, handheld, default camera, f/2.2, 1/15 sec, ISO 2000, 4mm
Pretty huge right? Even handheld the 1/2 sec exposure was manageable and clearly lets in more light than the 1/15 sec shutter the default camera app chose for me. Now let's go for some stars...

bad iphone night shot
iPhone, handheld, default camera, f/2.2, 1/15 sec, ISO 2000, 4mm

manual iphone camera exposure
iPhone, handheld, Manual app, f/2.2, 1/2 sec, ISO 1600, 4mm
I also ordered a Carson Universal that should be here tomorrow! I can't wait to try out manual iPhone camera settings on the moon, Jupiter, and maybe even Orion Nebula. I'm excited! Check out Matt's post about the Carson Universal over at iAstrophotography.com. Clear skies!

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