Review: Pureshot Camera App gives you almost full control

Pure Shot is my "DSLR replacement" app. It has tons of useful features and best of all, it supports manual mode if you're on a supported iPhone with iOS8. My favorite function bracketed shooting mode. I use it to create 3 different exposed photos that I feed to Pro HDR X to create HDRs. I also found the architectural grid to be very helpful for composing photos in square format. 

Pure Shot [iTunes App Store Link] is a real killer camera app. If you're familiar with manually adjusting exposure settings, maybe from your DSLR, you can get the very best out of the iPhone camera. I can't cover all the functions that the app offers, simply because there are so many, but here are the most important reasons why I frequently use Pure Shot.

Manual Camera Settings & Priority Modes

Many camera apps today allow you to adjust exposure settings manually, but Pure Shot stands out from the crowd with a so-called "priority modes" for ISO. That mode allows you to set one exposure parameter manually, and Pure Shot will adjust the rest automatically. You may know that from your DSLR. Pure Shot has the following modes:

  • (M)anual, for adjusting all exposure parameters (ISO, shutter speed) manually. No automatism here.
  • ISO, which allows you to set the ISO manually and have Pure Shot adjust the shutter speed automatically. Very useful for low light and night photography with the iPhone to keep the noise to a minimum.
  • (A)utomatic mode for adjusting all exposure settings automatically.
  • Portrait Mode

You can choose your preferred mode by tapping what looks like an adjustment wheel in the lower right corner of the screen.

Bracketed shots 

In the "Shutter Fires" menu is a setting, that enables you to shoot bracketed photos with Pure Shot. Tap the menu and select "Bracket". Right below that menu you chose the bracket mode bias. With bracket mode enabled, PureShot will take three shots and adjust the exposure, depending on your settings, from 1ev, 1.3ev, 1.6ev, 2ev, 2.3ev, 2.6ev and 3ev. 

You can then feed those bracketed shots either into Pro HDR X right on your iPhone and iPad or Photomatix on your desktop computer to create an HDR.

High Quality TIFF format

In the "Saving / Image Quality" menu, you can enable the high-quality TIFF format; it's called dRAW here. Enabling dRAW will save your photos without any compression to your camera roll. What you get is a better image quality at the cost of image size. Uncompressed TIFF photos require more space on your phone than compressed JPGs you get from the built-in camera. But it's worth it.

Other useful functions

If enabled in the menu, Pure Shot supports a hardware shutter release like Muku Shuttr, a wireless remote shutter I frequently use.

If enabled in "Viewfinder / Exposure Peaking", Pure Shot will display those areas of the photos that are either over- and/or underexposed depending on the settings. You can choose either or both. If enabled, it will draw black or white lines on the over or underexposed areas. Exposure peak is a great helper for shooting perfectly exposed photos.