Get more (a whole lot more) out of your Windows Phone camera with ProShot [Review]

Trust me when I say that this could be the best photo app purchase you make in the Windows Phone marketplace. As a Lumia 920 owner, it’s the best $1.99 I’ve spent in awhile.

And, readers, be aware that I am writing after testing with said 920; your mileage may vary if you use a different device.

You know some of those features you wish your phone’s camera application had? Manual shutter speed, manual focus, on-the-fly exposure adjustment, 3 new white balance settings plus a manual override, and grid, level, and histogram overlays; this is the list of everything new this program is packin’. And it sure makes you wonder how they weren’t already included as adjustable parameters on the out-of-the-box phone.

Thought you could take good night shots before? Try now, since you can leave the shutter open for as long as four seconds. Yes, you need a stand, but the light the device can pick up with that long a shutter opening is unbelievable. Pretty much everything taken here (as noted to be taken with manual settings) was left auto, less the shutter speed and white balance. Then you might even throw in Microsoft’s auto-fix, and though I’m not the pro that can tell you if the colors are wrong, it just gets even brighter. It looks almost like a mid-afternoon shot. Perhaps you could even try some cool tricks, like writing with a flashlight, with ProShot at the ready.

You know that weird thing that happens when you try to get a good macro shot, and the target comes into perfect focus before it goes out for no useful reason? Switch to Program, flick FOC to “Manual,” and be thoroughly impressed at how you can actually get closer to the subject than you ever could before and still stay in focus. Maybe Instagram pictures–Oh, excuse me, Fhotoroom–will start to look truly breathtaking, or at least worth looking at, with a killer app like this.

These are the two big features that make ProShot punch me in the stomach and yell “I’M AWESOME, TELL YOUR FRIENDS HOW AWESOME I AM.” But, this review wouldn’t be right if I didn’t also tell you about the trinkets I didn’t play much with as well, since some more photo-savvy users would actually know how to use them; namely, a manual white balance control, which ranges from 2352k to 7500k (I don’t know what this means, but I bet it’s good), and a live histogram plus level plus 3×3 grid for getting the kind of shots I wouldn’t be too good at capturing anyway. I’d love to hear someone else shout out what these guys are especially useful for, and maybe tips on how to use them well. I also suppose some online searching wouldn’t hurt as well.

There is also a “Fast Save” feature. It does noticeably cut down on the time between taking a shot and being able to view it in the application. For the most part, though, I had it disabled in fear of the application freezing up, per both recommendations by app reviewers, and ProShot itself even put fine print underneath the checkbox saying to disable the feature if the program were to freeze often. I have not had such problems using this feature so far, but just remember, again, YMMV. Another feature, though more-or-less just a fact, is the program’s integration as a Camera Lens into the Windows Phone OS, meaning you can press your camera button and be two taps away from activating ProShot.

I must find something to complain about, and the two “issues” I can find, honestly, don’t count for much. The slightly-uncouth user interface is the first. In fact, I can’t even call it ugly; it does the job fine, and for a multi-layered menu setup, it is very intuitive. Perhaps the old-school status indicators for ISO and white balance and such just don’t float my boat. The other is a semi-freeze issue one may have after taking a picture; especially after long-exposure shots, the app behaves as if it is taking another photo with the same shutter speed and other settings before it reverts to allowing you to capture another shot. Perhaps better optimization and backend tweaks will solve this in the future. It is also important to note that, according to the application page in the Marketplace, the app will not work on Samsung devices, and some phones will have issues with the manual white balance controls. Proshot “are looking into both of these issues.”

The serious camera buffs, the few who demand absolute perfection or that one feature they were looking for (burst-shot, maybe?), and definitely Samsung owners (for the time being) won’t be completely satisfied, but for me, two adjectives work: Killer (app), and perfect. With a minute or three of typical digital photography patience and a bit of creativity, you can get the perfect shot with ProShot.

MORE TEST PHOTOS

[via ProShot]

 


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