iPhone 4S Review



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Apple made a great machine in the iPhone 4S, but there are number of camera-related flaws that have disappointed me. The biggest problems revolve around focus, exposure, and shutter speed. The camera has the ability to adjust all three, but Apple has not published APIs for them. That means developers are unable to make apps that allow you to, for example, manually control the focus and shutter speed using on-screen sliders.

Instead, the only APIs available are “auto-focus” and “lock the focus depth where it is (which has been achieved by auto-focus)”. Similar options exist for “auto-exposure” and “lock the exposure level”. And shutter speed doesn’t have any controls at all, it is entirely automatic.

These are all shortcomings of Apple’s on the software side. The optical hardware is capable of doing great things, but Apple has made it impossible to write programs that leverage the functionality of that hardware. Therefore even the best camera apps still lack manual focus, exposure, and shutter speed options.

I hope Apple releases an iOS update that provides APIs for manually controlling these camera functions, but I don’t expect them to do so anytime soon.

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