procamera, iphone, review, camera replacement, mel martin

With so many photo apps choosing one that is best is nearly impossible. Features vary, editing abilities are all based on what a particular developer finds works for the most users.

One app comes very close to being full featured, powerful and a one-app photo studio. ProCamera 8 + HDR ($4.99 plus in-app purchases).

In one package it offers separate focus and exposure points, white balance lock, night camera capabilities, aspect ratio control, video, self timer, live histograms and more. An in-app purchase adds vividHDR ($1.99), arguably one of the best of the HDR algorithms out there. vividHDR started life as a separate app, and it’s been incorporated into ProCamera 8. It’s still available by itself for $1.99, but it makes sense to have it integrated into ProCamera 8.

For editing there are 76 filters and effects, crop and image controls, and sharing options for getting your photos to social services and photo based websites.

The latest version, released last week, gives you the ability to delete photos from your camera roll, image stabilization, manual focus, auto-tagging for Instagram photos, and video sharing via mail and messages.



Using ProCamera 8 + HDR

Getting out and using the app is a pleasure. Controls can be easily accessed or hidden so they are not in the way. The self timer, histogram, focus and exposure lock, anti shake and all other features are easily turned on or off. The vividHDR in-app purchase is a must, and after the picture is taken your can apply the HDR settings, such as faded, vivid, natural, dramatic, or black and white. Like any filters, you can compare the unedited image before you save.


Editing is a joy. After a photo is taken, you move right into edit mode, and you can select a function, then swipe your finger to make adjustments. Particularly impressive are the sharpening and saturation routines. The new image stabilization feature is very powerful. When you use it, 4 pictures are quickly taken, and the sharpest parts of the various exposures are merged into one photo with lower noise resulting due to the multiple exposures. This is a different feature than the anti-shake option, which uses the iPhone sensors to see when the camera is being held steady and then fires off a photo. Image stabilization can be disabled if you are on a tripod or don’t want to use the feature, but I found in general hand-held use, I always got a better image.

Video can be done with up to a 6x digital zoom, and with up to 120 frames per second. Video zooms done digitally aren’t too effective, as resolution is lost, but the faster frame rate is a nice touch.

Night photography is very well done. I took a picture of a fossil on my curio shelf in a darkened room and got a sharp, noise-free image.

The Bottom Line

If I had to choose one app for photography and editing ProCamera 8 + with HDR would be it. It doesn’t offer everything I get in Snapseed, which I never fail to praise, but having both is like having a complete iPhoneography kit in my pocket. The app doesn’t bother with stickers, frames, and gimmicks, but it gives you powerful editing tools without lowering the resolution of your photos.

You have to consider the app as a $6.99 purchase, as the HDR feature really is indispensable. There are plenty of HDR apps on the market, but the vividHDR add-on is natural and reliable without ever going over the top. In a perfect world, I’d rather see the HDR included in the original price, or see the price raised to cover it. In-app purchases for what I consider essential tool just aggravate me.

There are detailed instructions built into the app, and you’ll want to take a few moments to understand all the power the app contains.

As you can gather from my review, ProCamera 8 + HDR is a first class camera app. It greatly outperforms Apple’s built-in software, and it has all the essentials except a panorama mode. On the editing side, it has what you need, and no junk thrown in that can keep your photos from looking professional.

As complete as the app is, keep your eye out for updates that will incorporate the upcoming Apple Watch, which will be released next month.


App Store link: ProCamera 8 + HDR – Cocologics


– Mel Martin

ProCamera 8 + HDR 6.1.1

Resolution and Image Quality
User Interface


A first class camera app that greatly outperforms Apple’s built-in software.

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