The best part about the iPhone’s camera is that no matter your experience level, it continually will deliver outstanding results. Yet, there’s just one thing that drives me nuts. It’s that I still have to go into my iPhone’s general settings menu in order to access some of the camera’s options and settings.
Having used all sorts of iPhones over the years, including the iPhone SE (2022) and iPhone 15 Pro most recently, I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity and intuitiveness of using their cameras. However, being an experienced videographer that frequently relies on phones as backup video cameras, I have yet to make an iPhone a part of my professional gear — opting instead for rival devices like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Google Pixel 8 Pro as my go-to picks.
With the iPhone 16 next in line, it’s an opportunity for Apple to address this annoying camera issue because frankly, I don’t know how I’ve accepted it for this long. I’m vouching for an overhaul of the camera app, it’s outdated and long overdue for a proper makeover.
Some settings are accessible, but not all
I will admit that Apple’s reluctantly been adding a few options and settings within the camera interface — which lessens my need to exit out of the app — but it would be fantastic if all options were available directly in the camera app. For example, I really enjoyed it when Apple gave us resolution and frame rate controls within the camera app with iOS 13.2.
Apple’s not making it easy for me when I want to turn on/off the grid or level lines, so it’s more of a hassle than anything else. This doesn’t technically line up to Apple’s philosophy of making things intuitive to use. Other iPhone camera controls that can only be accessed through the iPhone’s settings menu include options for macro control, mirror front camera, lens correction, photographic styles, and the toggle to view outside of the frame.
Bring manual controls into the fold
While the iPhone takes amazing photos all in automatic, enthusiasts and professionals would love the greater flexibility of manual controls. Nearly every one of the best Android phones now offers manual controls for shutter speed, ISO, and focus. These typical camera parameters are essential in achieving a certain look with photos.
Take for example light painting, which requires a longer exposure to achieve the look of someone using a light source to ”paint” something in the photo. Currently, the only way to do this with an iPhone is to leverage its night mode option and hope it captures the light painting effect in the dark
Over on the video side, being able to adjust the shutter speed could also intensify the look you’re going after. When there’s a lot of action in a scene, I usually like to have a faster shutter speed to enhance all of the motion — while dropping it down to something like 1/50 shutter speed for that cinematic look.
More fun features
Having used an assortment of Android phones, I’ve come to appreciate how some of them spice up the experience by adding other camera taking features. Take the OnePlus Open, which has a dual-view video mode that’s perfect for whenever I’m shooting unboxing videos because it’s able to record clips using one of the rear cameras and the front-facing one at the same time.
Another fun camera feature is capturing hyperlapse videos with my Galaxy S23 Ultra, which actually works well when paired with astrophotography. I also love how it can capture video simultaneously using the front and rear cameras, but unlike OnePlus’ implementation, Samsung improves it by recording the footage as separate videos in full resolution — rather than one single video with the two views from each camera.
The iPhone 16 could adopt some of these camera features to appeal more to enthusiasts. Compared to them, the iPhone’s rather boring. By adding more camera modes, manual controls, and access to all the camera settings within the app, it could make the iPhone 16 series the most versatile camera phones ever.
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John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.