Compatible with iPad, iPod and iPhone running iOS 5.1 or later
Version reviewed: 1.1
PureShot is a highly configurable iOS camera app aimed at users who want to capture the most unprocessed image possible. The app description actually calls out the #nofilter hashtag, and sure enough there are no filters, no frames and no overlays on offer: instead, the app tries to deliver as pure a shot (get it?) as possible.
In a way this is a streamlined version of the skeuomorphtastic 645 Pro app from the same developer, Jag.gr. How pure is PureShot’s photographic experience? Read on to find out.
- Detailed configurable display including live RGB histogram
- Customizable shutter release functionality
- Support for uncompressed TIFF files and JPEG compression options
- Exposure, focus and white balance lock
- Support for long shutter and high ISO modes on compatible devices
- Requires iOS 5.1 or later
The first time you fire it up, PureShot gives you a fairly clean camera interface. It’s certainly not as minimalist as the native iOS camera, but that’s probably why you’re trying other camera apps. There’s a big orange shutter release on the right side of the interface, and that’s where it stays: it won’t move to the long side when composing in portrait orientation (which would be particularly useful on an iPad) and there’s no switching sides for lefties. The app also supports the iOS hardware shutter button.
Several commonly used functions are accessible via buttons right on the main screen. You can toggle exposure, focus and white balance lock, switch between standard and spot metering, turn the flash and the self timer on and off, and cycle through display options. You can also toggle a useful “night mode” that enables longer shutter speeds (a user-definable 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 or 1 second, depending on how confident you are in the steadiness of your hands, or if you have a tripod handy). It’s nice to have these functions accessible without diving into menus.
As with many camera apps, focus and metering points can be set separately. The flexible spot metering is particularly useful in iOS since there’s no way to dial in exposure compensation.
The joy of PureShot is its customizability. For example, by default, pressing and holding the shutter locks exposure and focus -- a second tap take a picture. But if you want the shutter to fire when you lift from the first press, it can do that too. Or if you don’t want to lock focus via the shutter at all, that’s also an option.
Getting PureShot configured isn’t always intuitive. Looking for help via the “i” button takes you to a Power Point-like instruction manual that clears things up, though some context-specific help would be nice.
Finding Your View
Tapping the “Disp.” button cycles through four display densities. You start with the bare minimum (just the preview image). Next is nothing but a horizon crosshair to show tilt and a grid if selected (rule of thirds or a finer “architectural” grid). Then comes the full monty: all of the above plus the current ISO and shutter speed, light level (in a variety of possible formats), a real-time histogram (again, configurable), and indicators for file format, battery level, white balance lock, metering mode, GPS status. Another press gets rid of the grid and artificial horizon but keeps everything else, and one more takes you back to the clean slate.
There are no fewer than four histogram options. The exploded Y-RGB seen above is the most information-rich and looks great on an iPad, but you can also opt for just luminance, or a collapsed RGB with or without luminance in the mix.
The light level indicator can be set up to show exposure value (EV) fixed against ISO 100 or dynamically compensated for the current ISO, or light levels in candelas per square meter or lux. This is academic information for most of us, but is potentially useful and fun.
Most of the other information is very practical. The histogram really helps avoid blown highlights while avoid noisy underexposure, perennial problems in mobile photography because of the performance of small sensors. The ISO/shutter speed data lets you know when you need to hold extra steady to avoid blur or are veering into extreme noise territory (though this being iOS, you can’t manually set either one).
PureShot can display a warning when it detects camera shake, but like similar “anti-shake” features in other apps it won’t work miracles at slow shutter speeds.
PureShot saves images as “HI-Quality” jpegs by default. The resulting file sizes tend to be a bit smaller than what comes out of the native camera app. At this setting, you can bang out frames about as fast as in the basic app.
Upping the quality to “MAX-Quality” jpegs gives you a less compressed image, with a file size about three times larger than the HI-Quality setting. The device’s buffer fills a lot faster at this setting, but thanks to a handy indicator you can watch the buffer flush and know when you can keep shooting.
PureShot also offers an unusual “dRAW” file option that saves images as a TIFF, a standard lossless format. There’s nothing really “raw” about a TIFF: everything from white balance to tone curves are already baked in, but without jpeg’s lossy compression more detail is theoretically retained. The TIFFs are large files (22 megabytes on an iPhone 4S) but you can enable lossless compression to cut them down by as much as half. Either way, TIFFs fill the device’s buffer a lot faster than jpegs: you might squeeze off two shots in quick succession, but then you’ll be waiting several seconds before taking another.
The real question is: what is the impact of these options on final image quality? In practice, there seems to very little to distinguish them apart from the file size.
We wondered if the TIFF would show less noise reduction at higher ISOs than a jpeg, but again there seemed to be little difference.
Whatever format and compression you use, PureShot’s one concession to the world beyond capturing images is its capacity to sling them on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram. You can also pass them directly to other iOS apps that support the feature (iPhoto, Photogene, Dropbox and Evernote, among others).
PureShot’s highly customizable camera operation will appeal to users who chafe at the native iOS app’s one-size-fits all approach. The cornucopia of information the app provides about the current scene, including basics like shutter speed and ISO and more advanced data like a real-time RGB-Y histogram, can definitely help you get better exposed pictures.
Configuring PureShot can be a fiddly, especially when you need to back out of a fairly deep menu, but most of the settings you’d want to change regularly are accessible from buttons on the main screen.
The one exception is file format selection, which requires diving down two levels and then backing out again. However, we aren’t convinced that there’s much advantage to the lossless dRAW TIFF format anyway. Indeed, in our test images there seemed to be little if any quality difference between any of the file options.
PureShot will appeal to users looking to take as much technical control of the photographic process as iOS allows, and who’d rather do their post-processing with a dedicated app.
What we like: A highly customizable interface with advanced features (like a histogram) to help nail exposures without extraneous bells, whistles or filters.
What we don’t like: A fiddly menu system, little real-world benefit in lower-compression file options.
Video tutorial: The App Whisperer recently shared a video tutorial explaining PureShot.
Peter M. Ferenczi is a freelance writer and avid photographer. He lives in Paris.
|Steamin' Mad by ahrensjt|
from Angered Subjects (Street Photography)
|Smile by Olymguy|
from Ultra Asian Indian Female Faces
|Space Shuttle Cockpit- by vbuhay|
from Aircraft Control Stick
The Polish town of Katowice is not known as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you know where to look. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday article, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.
Since its introduction in November last year Instagram's live streaming feature has been used by millions, but videos could not be archived for watching at a later stage. A new update has now added the capability.