Everyone knows that the camera on the iPhone is one of the best cameras offered on a mobile phone; but up until now there hasn’t been a way to get uncompressed files from that great camera to work with in external image editors like Photoshop. That’s all changed. There are literally thousands of alternative camera Apps for the iPhone in the App store. We’ve reviewed so many on here that it really takes something special to catch our attention let alone make up here as a “Best App”. 645Pro not only caught my attention, but it really blew me away with the quality that it allows me to get out of my iPhone. Terry has said in the past that his iPhone was taking the place of his point and shoot but with this App I think I can confidently say that I don’t need, or want a point and shoot anymore. Camera Pro645 lets you save UNCOMPRESSED TIFFS and high resolution JPEGs right from your iPhone. To my knowledge this is the only App available so far that allows this level of image to be saved. Finally we are able to take advantage of the high quality camera built into the iPhone. Beyond the high quality files, 645Pro provides all of the goodies that you would expect from a quality camera App. All of the controls are laid out in a way that really make a lot of sense and are easy to use.
Features, Features, and More Features…
The first and most important thing that you need to do when you download this App is read the (really nicely done) instructions. When you launch the App it will tell you how to get to the instructions, but just in case all you have to do is hold down the play button in the bottom left corner for a few seconds. These instructions are really well done and laid out in an easy to read, easy to understand way.
Like I said, the biggest thing that drew me to this App are the uncompressed image files. The App developer calls them dRaw (which consequently had the internet in a frenzy for a few days until they clarified what dRaw meant) but in reality they are uncompressed Tiff files. Even thought they aren’t actual Raw files, they are uncompressed and a lot better than the Jpegs offered by every other photo App. To give you an example I took the same photo above twice. Once with the 645Pro App and once with the built in camera App then brought both files to the computer. The file that came from the 645Pro was 10.8MB the file from the built in camera App, just 2.7MB.
Beyond the image quality there are a ton of other features and controls in this App. Some people have complained that there are just too many on the main screen (every control for this App is on the main screen). Personally I love having all of that control at my fingertips. I don’t like to drill down three menus deep in an App to turn on exposure lock. At that point, I’ve missed the shot.
Along the left side of the screen you have flash control, grid mode (standard rule of thirds grid), file quality setting, metering options (spot or dynamic), white balance, night mode, timer, view/share, and the instructions. Along the right side you have shutter release, focus lock, exposure lock, back selector, and film mode selector( I’ll get to those last two in a minute). Along the bottom you have an active display similar to what you would find on a DSLR that shows exposure, live histogram,timer, meter mode, file quality and more.
I mentioned above the two controls along the left side; back selector and film mode. Those two modes are there because this App is actually supposed to be replicating a medium format film camera. The different backs change the image ratio from what most consumers would think of as “standard” the 4:3, to square, Panoramic and more. The film mode selects the “type of film” that you want to use or in this case replicate. There is monochromatic (black and white), deep saturated colors, and more. Since I plan on editing the photos later (either in another iPhone App or in Photoshop on the computer) I don’t bother with changing the film settings at all. I leave it on C42 which is “normal” color. As for the backs, I don’t change those either. I like a standard 4:3 format so I leave it on the “645” setting. While these are great features that many people will undoubtedly will like, personally I love the App for other reasons.
One caveat that I found with this App. When you take a photograph in DRaw mode you save a Tiff to the 645Pro App and an uncompressed JPEG to the camera roll. To access the JPEGS you can connect the iPhone to your computer and import photos like you normally would, but to import the Tiffs you need to go into iTunes under Applications and 645Pro.
Things That I’d Like To See
Nothing is perfect, and while I really like 645Pro there are a few things that I would like to see worked on. First, the focus is a little slow for my taste. Even in bright sunlight the focus isn’t quick (even by iPhone standards). I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that so much more of the processor is being used than with other Apps or if it’s just something within the App, but whatever it is I’d like to see it improved. The second thing that kind of bothered me was crashes. The App is rock solid and never crashed… as long as I didn’t take more than two photos at a time quickly. When I say quickly, I mean I could take two photos quickly but then I would have to wait a second or two before I took another one because it would crash the App. This only happened when I had it set to DRaw (Tiff) mode. In all fairness this is probably really taxing on the phone. When in DRaw mode it is not only saving a Tiff file to the phone, but it is also saving an uncompressed JPEG to the camera roll as well. That’s a lot of file to be crunching all at once.
The Bottom Line
If you’re a fan of editing your images outside of the iPhone on your computer, if you’re a fan of printing your iPhone photos, or if you’re a fan of getting rid of your point and shoot to replace it with the iPhone, you need this App. I have been using it as my go to App if for no other reason than the image quality and control accessibility. If you try it I think that you’ll find that you like it as well.