Third-Party Camera Apps Add Support For iPhone 5’s Low-Light Boost Mode


iPhone 5 Camera

iPhone 5’s back-facing camera has the same 8-megapixel, five-element lens with 2.4 aperture, which is similar to the iPhone 4S. It is 25% smaller and has the same 3,264 by 2,448 backside-illuminated sensor, but comes with improvements such as 40% faster photo capture, improved low-light performance, and improved noise reduction.

iPhone 4S camera was vastly improved compared to the iPhone 4 camera, it still struggled in low-light, so we were really looking forward to test the low-light camera. We haven’t been disappointed, it’s remarkably better.

But curiously, side-by-side comparison photos taken with iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S using third-party camera apps did not show much of a difference.

There was a reason for it, it turns out that the third-party apps were not taking advantage of iPhone 5’s low-light boost mode that was used by built-in native Camera app. This was pointed out by Jim Rhoades, the maker of Scout Camera and Paperless.

after posting a thread (developer login ID required) to the Apple developer forums I’ve learned that 3rd party developers CAN take advantage of this special “low light boost mode”. (Thanks Apple!)

While it’s not documented yet in the AVCaptureDevice Class Reference, taking a peek at the “AVCaptureDevice.h” class header reveals the related properties:




They chose to make the low light boost mode optional, as the increase in light sensitivity comes at the cost of some increased noise (not surprisingly). Making it optional was a good decision.

So not surprisingly, developers have started releasing new versions of their camera apps like Camera+, Camera Awesome that take advantage of iPhone 5’s low-light boost mode. Here’s a snippet from the What’s new section from Camera+’ App Store page:

Better photos in low-light

On the iPhone 5 we now support the same low-light sensitivity as the native Camera app — if you’re not camera-term inclined this just means you can take photos with less light than ever before. If you are camera-term inclined, your ISO can now go up to 3200 (vs 800 before – that’s 4 times MORE POWER). This will only kick in if it’s really dark. [iPhone 5 only]

Check out the comparison shots below to see the difference:

As you can see it makes a huge difference, so if you have an iPhone 5, don’t forget to download the latest version of your favorite camera app from the App Store.

[Camera+ blog via The Next Web]

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