In addition to the obvious innovations in the camera modules of iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro, Apple’s current iPhone models also bring less intrusive camera features, which we explain below. We’ll explain how to snap better photos with current iPhones with Deep Fusion, Night Mode and some tricks.
Deep Fusion – Activate and Use
With Deep Fusion, the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are available from iOS 13.2 onwards, a camera technology that provides more detailed shots in mediocre lighting conditions. The marketing term Deep Fusion conceals so-called computational photography or in English: computer-aided photography. And behind this technical term, in this case, are sophisticated algorithms and programs that calculate several shots together, analyzing the respective motif and its structures and merging everything into one photo. The resulting image is more high-resolution and reveals more detail than a photo taken without Deep Fusion.
Now Deep Fusion is not a dedicated mode that can be activated and deactivated. This feature activates automatically and automatically when the lighting conditions are too good for night mode but too bad for Smart HDR. Apart from a more detailed photo, you don’t realize that Deep Fusion is or was active, and that’s what Apple wanted. There is no small icon or EXIF information that reveals that it is a deep fusion photo.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind about Deep Fusion:
- Deep Fusion only works with the wide-angle and telephoto camera, but not with the ultra wide-angle camera. The latter does not have, among other things, any necessary focus pixels
- In the iOS settings under Camera, you have to deactivate the composition settings “Photo shooting outside the cream” in order to benefit from Deep Fusion. Unfortunately, these two functions are mutually exclusive, so you have to choose one
- Currently, there is only one method to identify a deep fusion photo as such. The Metapho app integrates such a function and also marks a deep fusion photo as “Deeply Fused” in the associated metadata view
Out of Frame – More Flexibility
In the previous point we have already mentioned this function, here we explain it. The so-called “off-frame recording” is a feature in the settings of the iOS camera app. If enabled, the camera automatically takes additional photos and/or videos in parallel with the next more wide-angled camera.
This has the advantage that you can change the image section afterwards. This means that you can not only zoom in from the original image section, but also zoom out.
Similar to Deep Fusion, night mode is not a standalone camera mode, but a function that automatically activates or. as soon as the lighting conditions are particularly poor. An active or available night mode can be detected by a small round icon in the upper left corner of the camera app. If this icon is yellow, the mode is active; if the icon is white, the night mode is available, but not automatically active, but can be switched on manually by tapping on this white icon.
Depending on lighting conditions and other conditions, such as how stable you keep your iPhone or whether you’re using a tripod, the night mode automatically selects an ideal exposure time, which is displayed in seconds.
However, this exposure time can also be extended or shortened manually, as well as the night mode for the respective recordings temporarily deactivated. Always dragging the exposure time to the maximum manually does not necessarily lead to better results, this should be noted.
Quickly switch between video modes by tapping
Starting with iOS 13.2, you can now quickly and easily switch between different video modes, more precisely resolutions and frame rates, directly in the standard camera app. Simples tap the mode display is enough. Previously, you always had to switch to the iOS settings to select the desired video recording mode.
Now, however, users who often want or need to switch between different modes usually use a more professional third-party camera app, as iOS’s standard camera app is intentionally and fundamentally trimmed to fully automatic. Nevertheless, this little update is a long-awaited and useful one.
To switch between the different resolutions and frame rates, simply tap the display of the same at the bottom or upper right edge in the video mode of the camera app (see screenshot).
Portrait mode all the things!
Originally, the so-called portrait mode was only possible with the telephoto camera. On the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, you can also use the wide-angle camera for portrait shots with special depth blur.
You can also apply the depth blur effect not only to faces, but also to animals and objects. Also, you can manually set the focus point by simply typing. Sometimes, however, you achieve better results than if you rely on automatic object recognition.
Use third-party apps
As mentioned above, iOS’s standard camera app is designed for fully automatic. The only settings you can make directly in the app are the manual setting of the focus point and the exposure. That’s what Apple wanted. The app should be as easy to use as possible for the broad user base, according to the motto “Point and Shoot”.
If you prefer more and more specialized features and manual settings, you can use numerous third-party camera apps, which Apple also eagerly advertises in the App Store, its retail stores and events. Developers have direct access to the camera system and can therefore develop comprehensive apps that are more than just the standard camera app in other packaging. Examples include the video app FiLMiC Pro, which gave Apple valuable stage time to an international audience of millions as part of its latest iPhone event, or the photo app Spectre, which Apple named the iPhone app of 2019 a few weeks ago.
Here are some recommended camera apps, some of which I’ve been using for many years and can also be found on my iPhone 11 Pro:
- ProCam: ProCam is a recommended app for manual photography, night photography and long exposure.
- Halide: Halide is an award-winning camera app that offers a balanced mix of manual and automatic camera functions. It is optimized for RAW photography and offers other functions to deliver the maximum photo quality in any situation.
- Spectre: Spectre is designed by the same developers as Halide and is designed for long-term exposure, not only for night shots, but also photos by day.
- Lightroom: Adobe’s Lightroom app is primarily a potent photo editing software, but also offers a very interesting camera feature for HDR photos.
- NightCap: As the name suggests, NightCap specializes in night shots and is one of the best options for taking photos in critical light conditions. RAW photography and astrophotography are possible.
- SkyFlow: Although the standard camera app also offers a time-lapse function, SkyFlow offers far more settings and manual camera settings. It also includes an editor that converts time-lapse recordings into videos and edits them.
- ProMovie: A recommended alternative to FiLMiC Pro for enthusiastic video producers is ProMovie. Manual camera settings including manual focus and higher-quality file formats for the highest video quality.
- FiLMiC Pro: FiLMiC Pro is the preferred video camera app for many Pro users. Entire movies and music videos were recorded with this app, including Lady Gaga’s latest hit “Stupid Love”.
- FiLMiC DoubleTake: DoubleTake is a multicam app that can record two full HD videos with two cameras simultaneously on current iPhone models (iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max).
Apple’s Smart Battery Case
Last but not least, take a look at the Apple Smart Battery Case for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Unlike the Smart Battery Cases for older models, the iPhone lineup, which will be unveiled in 2019, has a dedicated camera button. This not only allows the standard camera app from iOS to be launched when the iPhone is in sleep mode, but the button also serves as a trigger.
In addition, Apple’s Smart Battery Cases extend the battery life of the current iPhone models by up to 50 percent, which is useful for longer outings, vacations or motive hunts. Not to mention, the cases also serve as protective cases and thus combine three functions. More information about Apple’s new Smart Battery Cases can be found in our review.