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Get to know iOS 8: New Camera tricks and a major overhaul of Photos

Serenity Caldwell | Sept. 19, 2014
While we love to do many things with our iOS devices, the feature that often tops my list is taking and sharing photographs. In an age when we're taking in new experiences faster than we can blog or tweet about them, snapping a quick image on the go can be just the thing to help us remember a good day on the beach.

While we love to do many things with our iOS devices, the feature that often tops my list is taking and sharing photographs. In an age when we're taking in new experiences faster than we can blog or tweet about them, snapping a quick image on the go can be just the thing to help us remember a good day on the beach.

Apple's iOS 8 packs in a ton of new photo-taking and editing features for its photography-loving user base, all the while keeping it easy for beginning iOS shutterbugs. There's a lot to look at here, so let's start with something simple: the Camera app.

Camera ch-ch-changes

Upon launch, the Camera app in iOS 8 looks very similar to its iOS 7 counterpart, albeit with a few extra buttons. New to the top of the screen (or left, in landscape orientation) when in Square or Photo mode is the Timer button; tap it, and you can set a self-timer of 3 or 10 seconds. (Of course, should you need more flexibility in your timing options, there are plenty of third-party apps that may suit your needs.)

Also new to the Camera (and continuing the "Time" theme) is Time-lapse mode, found by swiping all the way to the right on the app's display. Unlike other timelapse apps, Apple's version is entirely automated; just tap the record button and the app will automatically take a still picture every few seconds. When you're finished, it stitches those pictures together to form a time-lapse video.

If you're the lucky owner of an iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina display, you'll also be able to use the Camera app now to take panoramic images; previously, the Panorama feature was limited to iPhone users.

iOS 8's new manual camera controls may be my favorite improvement to the app, however. In iOS 7, tap-to-focus and exposure lock were a single control; with this update, they've been split. You can still tap to grab focus (or long-tap to lock it), but now you can additionally adjust the camera's exposure by dragging up or down on the sun slider that appears. This lets you grab a focus point without being forced to also use its lighting as your photo's exposure.

Albums, albums, everywhere

Apple's automatic smart albums continue to provide some use in the Photos app: The Camera Roll has disappeared, and in its place is the Recently Added smart album, which collects images you've recently taken or added to your device. It joins app-specific and content-specific albums on the Albums page, along with the new Favorites album (more below). Sadly, Apple continues to decline to make a Screenshots smart album (to my own personal disappointment).

 

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