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App brings iPhone 13 Pro Macro mode to older phones

Halide Mark II is bringing the Macro camera to older iPhones in a new update.

One of the bigger announcements for the iPhone 13 Pro camera was the Macro mode, which allows you to take photos only inches away from your subject.

Macro photography is useful when you’re working with really tiny subjects, or if you want to focus on the smaller details.

So far, this has only been possible with the latest phones, like the next-gen iPhone 13 models, but now Halide is bringing macro mode to all iPhones.

Halide is a photography app that’s available on iPhone, and its 2.5 update utilises Apple’s Neural Engine for AI-based detail enhancement that allows users to take better macro photos with more detail.

Close up using Halide
Left: Manual zoom on iPhone X camera. Left: Halide Macro on iPhone X camera.

As you can see from the picture above, the left photo has a lot less detail and is less defined. When you manually zoom in on a subject, the phone actually crops the image, meaning that the number of pixels in the image are stretched, which results in a lower quality photo.

Meanwhile, the second image is crisper and clearer, as Halide is able to mimic a macro lens through two methods.

Firstly, the app determines your available camera and switches to whichever has the shortest minimum focus distance, which is important when you’re trying to take macro photos.

When using the app, it will lock focus at the nearest point; you can still tap the screen to change focus, and the app will automatically keep locking to the nearest focus point.

You can also manually adjust the focus dial on the screen so you can make more detailed choices down to the millimetre, check out the photos below to see how my iPhone X fared while I manually adjusted the macro settings.

Halide manual focus macro mode
Left: Closest image with an iPhone X without zooming in. Right: Halide Macro lens adjusted manually.

The left image is the closest I could get to my subject without zooming in, any closer and the iPhone X lost focus. The right photo was manually adjusted, and you can see the flecks of dust and lint, as well as some smudges and fingerprints on the glass.

To start your own macro journey – unless you own the newest iPhone – you will need to download the latest version of Halide, which is currently Halide 2.5.

More Halide images
More examples of the Hailde macro mode.

Once you’re in the app – you will need to subscribe for access, though if you’re just interested in testing out this feature there is a seven day trail for free – you will need to click the AF button, then the flower icon.

Once in macro mode, the camera will automatically zoom in and you can start focusing on your subjects. The photos will automatically be rendered as RAW and JPEG images, so you get the best of both worlds in terms of image quality.

The new update should work on any iPhone that supports Apple’s Neural Engine, which includes the iPhone 8 and all later models.

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