Today’s Question: Which iPhone camera app would you recommend that would give me the most flexibility in settings, including manual settings?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Overall I would say that the ProCamera app is probably the most flexible camera app for the iPhone. Other good apps include Camera+ 2, Lightroom, and of course the built-in Camera app.
More Detail: The Camera app that is included with the iOS operating system on iPhones and iPads is quite capable, with a variety of helpful features. For example, you can tap on the screen to select an area to be used for focus and exposure, and drag the sun icon associated with the focus square to lighten or darken the exposure. You can even tap and hold to lock the exposure.
However, in terms of specific exposure settings the iOS Camera app doesn’t provide much control.
One of my favorite apps for controlling exposure settings on the iPhone is ProCamera. This app includes support for raw capture, exposure setting adjustments (including long exposures), portrait mode with blur control, and much more. It sells for US$14.99 in the App Store (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/procamera/id694647259).
Another very good app is Camera+ 2. This app also includes raw capture support and many of the features supported by ProCamera, with a lower price at US$7.99 (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/camera-2/id1313580627).
The Lightroom mobile app is also quite powerful in terms of adjusting exposure settings, though without some of the more advanced features of the two apps above. However, the Lightroom mobile app is also included with the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan, so if you’re already using Lightroom Classic or Photoshop you have access to the Lightroom mobile app as well.
Keep in mind that there are limitations to what settings can truly be adjusted with the iPhone camera features. For example, long exposures are created not with a truly long exposure, but rather by capturing a series of images and blending them together. That said, the apps suggested above provide improved controls for the iPhone camera features beyond what is really possible with the iOS Camera app.