Every time I review something related with the iPhone camera, I say how surprisingly great its sensor is. If you know what you are doing, your photos can go toe to toe with the ones DSLR cameras take. And since Apple released the camera SDK for the devs, we have seen some interesting apps that take advantage of that.
However no one comes close to what ProCam 3 has to offer. While it sports a very spartan look, the level of control it’s unprecedented. You can change pretty much every camera setting except the aperture. So you have total control over the ISO, Focus, Shutter Speed and Exposure and if you know what you are doing you can get some amazing photos.
Sure it’s a steep learning curve, but real photography is not a walk in the park. Different subjects require different settings and having absolute control over these settings is just fantastic. And if you are an amateur, don’t fear the automatic exposure will do all the heavy lifting. Another great feature of ProCam 3 is the ability to save the photo as a TIFF file, meaning a lossless compression or better overall quality for your photos.
The same range of controls are available to you when recording a video. You can also change the video quality and fps from VGA 24 fps up to 1080p 60fps. Things get more interesting if you opt-in and buy the 4K mode. Yes, you can “record” 4K on devices such as the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S even though it is impossible with their 8MP sensor. What the app does, which is quite smart, is upscale the video from 3264×1836 to 3840×2160 resolution and crop to a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is said that the quality is 4 times better than the 1080p one, but I cannot confirm it myself since this option is an IAP.
There is also a Burst Mode which does exactly as the name suggests, a Night Mode which slows down the shutter speed to 1/2 so that more time light is allowed in to be captured by the camera sensor and it is perfect to use when you can’t use flash, and a Time Lapse mode. But the most important mode, in my opinion and the main reason I contacted the devs, is the Slow Shutter mode. I’ve always wanted to capture some cool light trails photos or do some light photography, but no one had told me how difficult it could be.
Getting the right ISO and shutter speed is key to get some beautiful results and I have…from the comfort of my home. I’ve been sick and still am while writing this review, so going out to capture some road light trails has been a no no for me. The same can be said about capturing a river using the Motion Blur setting to get that silky / foggy smooth effect, but I will in the near future. However it hasn’t stopped me from getting some light trails from the balcony or light paint some juvenile dongs since spinning flaming steel wool inside can be quite dangerous. Again, these photos are taken without thinking too much, without tinkering too much with the settings. If you want to see what you can capture with this mode, head to ProCam instagram.
Oh I nearly forgot to mention it, ProCam 3 has an extensive editor both for photos and videos, the later is far more interesting to talk about. The iMovie app is great to cut videos and add music, but it sucks when it comes to colour grading, changing contrast/brightness etc. The editor in ProCam 3 does all of that and the results are great.
So there’s a lot of great things you can do with ProCam 3, but there’s room for improvement. One thing I would like to see is a complete UI overhaul. The spartan look it has now, it works as it gets the job done, but it’s ugly, annoying and completely bland. It crashes often and inexplicably, also the gallery has quite a few bugs while in landscape mode. Another thing or things that I wish were gone are the IAP, in-app-purchases. Most of the filters are locked behind IAP, which is strange, also the 4K mode is an IAP which doesn’t make sense. The app is already a premium one at $4,99 but to get every IAP the price goes up to $16 which is a lot in the mind of the casual user.
But in the end, ProCam 3 remains one of the best photo & video apps on the Appstore. Will it replace the default camera app? No, but when I want to take a cool photo to post over Instagram or EyeEm, I will definitely use it. I also will use it to mess around with the Slow Shutter and to edit videos. It’s premium yes, but it is well worth the price of admission. Thanks for reading!