The popular iPhone camera app Halide has just received a major update that offers a huge range of new tools for smartphone snappers.
Halide has long been a great choice for photographers looking to take raw photos on their iPhones, and Halide Mark II takes it one step further.
Interestingly, the app is one of the first to declare itself “ProRaw ready,” meaning you can shoot in the upcoming Apple ProRaw format. This format is coming to the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max “later this year”, so it will not provide any practical benefits at this stage.
However, one of Halide Mark II’s best new features works the same way as ProRaw. As Halide explained in his announcement, the current problem with raw footage on iPhones is that they often require quite a bit of editing knowledge to get to a level that is as balanced as a JPEG. This is partly because raw files also don’t contain any of Apple’s computational intelligence.
This seems to be why Apple developed ProRaw, which promises to strike a happy balance between the flexibility of raw files and the power of Deep Fusion processing. In the meantime, however, Halide Mark II has something like Instant RAW.
While this doesn’t use Apple’s processing directly, it does promise that you’ll develop your file instantly and intelligently to give you a neutral, but more advanced starting point for your editing. Or as the makers of Halide call it, “a midpoint between a completely unedited RAW and a fully edited JPEG”.
Even if Apple stole Halide’s thunder a bit on this front, there are plenty of other new features in the Mark II version of the app to make it worthy of investigation. Previously, it was not possible to take a Raw photo and a computational photo in the same burst at the same time (only a Raw + standard JPEG).
But Halide claims to be the first camera app to capture both a classic raw and computational snap (including Deep Fusion and Smart HDR 3, on the latest iPhones) in one burst. Since this process uses bracketing, there is a slight delay between capturing the raw and edited image, but it may be useful for those times when you need an instantly shareable image and an unedited version to edit later.
Elsewhere, real raw fans also get ‘Pro Tools XDR’, which gives you a preview of the full 14-bit raw data, instead of the usual 8-bit visualization. This means that Halide’s new tools such as waveforms and color zebras (along with existing tools such as the histogram) are all based on the real sensor data. This should make it much easier to avoid mistakes when manually exposing your photos.
Speaking of which, you now also get useful tools such as an enlarged focus preview when you drag the focus button, while the gallery of all your captured photos now includes a lot of metadata for each image.
There is certainly plenty to do, which means that Halide Mark II isn’t the cheapest camera app out there. If you’re a new user, it costs $ 36 / £ 34.99 (about AU $ 65) to buy directly, or you can subscribe for $ 11.99 / £ 9.99 (about AU $ 18) per year , which also gives you access to future upgrades.
Do you already have the first version of Halide? You get it for free along with member updates for a year. Not sure where to start with all the new features? You can also sign up from the app for a free ten-day email course to train your fingers.