Luff: Free Manual Camera iPhone App

Luff is a free manual camera/photography app for iPhones. There are other apps (including the native iPhone camera app) that allow you to adjust exposure and focus, but Luff’s strength is its simplicity: the uncluttered interface allows you to quickly and easily make manual adjustments to zoom, focus, ISO, and shutter speed settings. Here’s the download link at the Apple Store.

How To Use Luff

Zoom

Luff IPhone app, zoom function.

Zoom control (not recommended).

Zoom is the one Luff control I don’t recommend using.  iPhones don’t have true optical zoom (the focal length of the lens is fixed), so when you “zoom,” you’re not optically magnifying the view, all you’re doing is cropping the image, which you could do later in post-processing if you really wanted to. This kind of “digital zoom” diminishes your resolution, which can significantly reduce the image quality of your pictures.

But if you want to try it, tap on the magnifying glass icon at the top left of screen, and then move your finger rightward to zoom in (slide your finger over the +/- status bar, or directly over the image). To reset the zoom, slide your finger to the left, until it says “1.00x” under the magnifying glass icon. Note: the zoom control doesn’t have an “M/A” toggle control like the other three controls do.


Focus

Luff IPhone app, focus function.

Focus control.

To manually adjust focus, tap on the crosshairs icon at the top of the screen, second from left. Then tap on the “M’ button (“M” for manual, “A” for automatic), at the bottom of the screen, and slide your finger to the right (for farther focus) or left (closer focus).

It’s not always easy to detect changes in focus; to clearly see it working try focusing on something very close–a few inches away from the iPhone’s lens (keep in mind though, that the lens can’t focus closer than an inch or two.

ISO

Luff IPhone app, ISO function.

ISO control.

Tap on “ISO” icon, top of screen, second from right. As with the others, tap on the “M’ button at the  bottom of the screen, and then slide your finger left or right to adjust ISO setting (right for higher, left for lower).

The ISO setting adjusts the light sensitivity of the camera’s sensor. High ISO settings will allow you to shoot in darker situations, at the cost of more image noise (graininess); lower ISO settings are cleaner images, but require brighter situations.

Shutter Speed

Luff IPhone app, shutter speed function.

Shutter speed control.

Tap on the sun icon, top of screen, farthest right. Tap the “M” button, and then move your finger to the right for faster shutter speeds; left for slower shutter speeds.

The exact shutter speed number will be shown under the sun icon (1/34 in the above example). Faster shutter speeds will freeze action but require more light; slower shutter speeds can be used in darker settings, and can cause motion blur.

What about aperture adjustments?

iPhone apertures are not adjustable—there are no aperture blades to close or open. You can manually control image brightness via ISO or shutter speed settings, but you can’t change the aperture.

Horizontal Orientation

The screenshots above show Luff in the vertical orientation; below is how it looks when the iPhone is held to shoot horizontally.

Luff app screenshot, horizontal orientation.

Luff app in horizontal mode.

 

Which manual photography apps do you like?

Let us know in the comments, below.

 

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