Features cont.

Time Lapse

Time Lapse was first introduced with iOS 8 and still works in the same way on the iPhone 6s Plus and iOS 9. It captures two frames per second and combines them into a 1080p video clip. Played back at a standard speed of 30 fps, this results in a video that is 15x times faster than actual speed. 

Time Lapse has been kept very simple and and does not allow for manual setting of record speed or any other parameters. Instead, the speed is adapted dynamically to the length of the video. Videos longer than 10 minutes and shorter than 20 will be recorded at 30x actual speed, 20 to 40 minutes at 60x actual speed and so on. Every doubling of the capture length beyond 10 minutes means twice the playback speed. There is no limit to recording time other than the storage capacity of your phone. 

The time lapse feature works best with the iPhone fixed on a tripod or kept still in some other way. That said, as you can see in the sample below the camera's efficient stabilization system helps you capture usable footage even when hand-holding. Overall, the Time Lapse mode is fun to play with but for more serious time lapse projects we would recommend a third party app from the App Store. Instagram's Hyperlapse App, for example, offers better control over recording parameters and super-smooth digital image stabilization. 

Live Photos

Live Photos is a new imaging feature on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and in the camera app is activated by default. It records a video of approximately two seconds in length with every still image you capture in an effort to give a better idea of what was going on at the time the photo was taken. When viewing a Live Photo in the iPhone's gallery app the video plays automatically when the image is opened. You can play it again by hard-pressing the 3D Touch display. 

Unfortunately there's no way of achieving the same viewing experience on another device or computer. On the iPhone the clips are simply saved as separate .MOV files that in our testing ranged from 1 to 4.3MB in size. The frame rates varies between 8 and 14 frames per second. The feature also works with the front camera but at a lower 1280 x 960 resolution versus 1440 x 1080 on the main camera.

Live Photo is the sort of feature that you show to your friends after first getting a device but forget about pretty quickly once the novelty has worn off. It also takes its toll on internal storage and if you think you can live without the GIF-like clips we'd recommend switching the feature off and only activating it on those occasions where the moving image adds some value. Below you can see a sample still image with the corresponding Live Photo movie clip.

ISO 80, 1/17 sec

Gallery and Image Editor

In album view images can be browsed in a square thumbnail view.

The Photos app remains pretty much unchanged from last year's version in iOS 8. The most notable difference on the iPhone 6s Plus is that, thanks to 3D Touch technology, you can now preview images by hard-tapping the thumbnail. Everything else is as before. When viewing images you can choose from two tabs: Photos or Albums. Under Photos, images are automatically sorted into “Collections” (grouped by time and place), and 'Years.' In the year view, you get a page chock-full of barely visible thumbnails, but running your finger over them pops up an enlarged view that makes it much easier to find a given needle in the haystack of photos rather than endless flick-scrolling. 

In the editing module you can crop and rotate your images and apply the same filters as in the camera app. There's also a good range of tonal corrections available - you can adjust exposure, shadows, highlights or the black point for example. In addition there are options for fine-tuning color modifications and black and white conversions.

Years view shows all images you have taken in a particular year. You can zoom in for better visibility.
Your photos can also be viewed on a map.
You can apply the same filters as in the camera app.
Editing tools include a ranges of tonal and color modifications.

Under Albums you can still peruse the whole Camera Roll the old-fashioned way. There are default albums for videos, panoramas, and your Photo Stream (a feature that automatically syncs photos across devices via an Apple iCloud account), and you can create your own within the app.

You can access sharing options from the individual image view and, for example, send them to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter or a Photo Stream, or email them via the Apple Message app. You can also share photos and videos via the AirDrop feature that works on most newer iOS devices. Alternatively you can use the Shared app to share entire albums via Apple's iCloud service.