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Halide’s iPad camera app is here to recklessly promote tablet photography

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Featuring a user interface optimized for larger displays

One of the best third-party camera apps for iOS, Halide, is coming to the iPad, its developer Lux announced today. The iPhone app has a reputation for the amount of control it gives you over your photographs, and this functionality has been carried over to the iPad along with a redesigned interface that’s optimized for larger displays. The app is free to existing Halide owners, while new users can either pay a one-off purchase fee ($40) or go with monthly ($1.99) or yearly ($11.99) subscriptions.

Using iPads to take photographs has a bit of a reputation problem. Not only do Apple’s tablets tend to have fewer and lower-specced rear cameras than its phones, but the act of taking a photograph using a large tablet often looks just plain goofy. At least Lux appears to be aware of one of the most egregious iPad photography sins: taking photos at a concert. The company is teasing a potential future “Concert Mode,” which could automatically disable the camera if it detects it’s being used at a show.

“Concert Mode is disabled for now - as we trust our users to Do The Right Thing,” Lux tells me, “but we’re going to be ruthless about bringing this in a future update if people cannot behave.”

A proof of concept for a potential “Concert Mode.”
Image: Halide
Pro View shrinks the viewfinder to make it easier to see on larger displays.
Image: Halide

The app’s controls have been reconfigured to work better with a larger display. It’s got a toggle to switch between modes for left- and right-handed users, and key features have their controls arranged around the edges of the screen where they’re within thumbs’ reach. Like the iPhone app, Halide on the iPad allows for manual control of ISO, shutter speed, focus, and supports its recent RAW photography modes.

One of the more interesting features of Halide’s iPad app is a “Pro View” mode, which is a toggle that shrinks the viewfinder into the center of the display. Lux’s argument is that this makes it easier to take in the entire viewfinder, and it has the side benefit of creating extra space around the edges of the display for a bigger histogram, waveform, manual focus, and other controls.

Halide’s launch on the iPad isn’t going to convince anyone that tablets are the best devices for taking photographs. But if you insist on going against the grain, at least there’s a nicer way to do it now.