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iOS 8 Camera app: Smart Adjustments

When iOS 8 appears later this month photographers will get new and intuitive editing tools. One important update to the Camera app is what Apple calls Smart Adjustments. The adjustments can be grouped into three categories: adjusting light, adjusting color, and fine tuning.

After you capture your image you can edit it from the Photos app or, as usual, select your last photo taken right from the Camera app. Once you are in edit mode, you'll see a button that looks like a volume control that controls the smart adjustments. To adjust the light, you swipe up and down a series of miniature renderings of your photo sliding up to lighten, down to darken. Once you have the brightness about where you want it, you can continue to edit or save the image.

Adjusting color is similar. You can make the color very saturated or take it all the way to monochrome, simply by swiping through a number of small thumbnails. Both the lighting and color adjustment screens also have a drop-down menu that allows even more detailed adjustments. Once your image is monochrome, for example, you can change the tone which may enhance the sky and clouds, increase contrast, and change other parameters. It's all pretty intuitive, as long as you are willing to look at the screen and select the buttons that present more options.

One new feature is added to the real-time view when you are taking pictures. If you tap on the display to set exposure and focus, a light bulb button appears, letting you swipe up and down to adjust the brightness of the image before you take the picture. It's nice for eliminating highlights in bright sun or bringing up the brightness when lighting is low.

Of course there are many apps that offer a myriad amount of adjustments and filters, but Apple is trying to get as many editing tools into its basic Camera app as possible while trying to keep it simple. In my testing of iOS 8 beta 5 I'd have to agree -- you can certainly do a lot more with the built-in Camera app, giving you a greater range of adjustments and letting you be more creative.

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