App Review: Slow Shutter Cam

SlowShutter

Slow Shutter

Slow Shutter Cam app for iOS is the long exposure app that you’ve been waiting for. It does it all, and produces sharp results in an easy-to-use interface.

 

[ Website | iTunes ]

True long exposure photography on a dSLR opens and leaves the shutter for as long as you indicate. On an iPhone, however, it wasn’t until recent updates that the shutter speed could be manipulated at all. This left developers to create apps that mimic the effects of long exposure photographs by combining multiple photos together. Slow Shutter Cam is one such app.

There are many camera apps that provide the slow shutter capability. It was only by chance that I happened to download this particular one a few years back when I first started experimenting with long exposure photography on my iPhone. Even after trying a few other apps, I still kept to this one, which means, it must be doing some things right.

Slow Shutter Cam app allows for long exposure photography on your iPhone in an easy-to-use and fun package.

Functionality

The app is made to do long exposure photography, and does this well, in addition to adding a few other features that come in handy as well. There are three different capture modes in this app: Motion Blur, Light Trail, and Low Light.

Slow Shutter screen capture

Slow Shutter menu

While I don’t use the Low Light option in this app too much, I do use the other two quite frequently. The Motion Blur capture mode allows you to edit the blur strength from 1 to 7 (Min-Max), in addition to allowing you to change the capture duration from minimum (1/8 sec.) to unlimited. This mode is great for creating blurred motion behind (or in front of) the subject, much like you see when doing a long exposure on a dSLR.

The Light Trail has a Light Sensitivity option from 1/128 to Full (1), and the same Capture Duration setting as the Motion Blur. This option is ideal for creating light streaks behind a subject, much like you see with the headlights of a car as it goes by the camera.

Low Light allows for a boost in exposure and Capture Duration changes as well. This option is used for taking photos in low-light situations. I don’t really use this option as I tend not to take photos in low-light situations. You can read here why I don’t really shoot in low-light with my iPhone.

With all of the options, you can create a number of special effects by simply changing the capture duration, blur strength, and light sensitivity. The great thing about this app is that it allows you to see the first frame and last frame while allowing you to scroll through in-between the two. I use this option a lot to select which photo I want to use for my final edit.

The settings screen gives you some very useful options as well. The self-timer option with a value of 1, 3, 5, and 10 seconds is very useful in reducing any camera shake from when you press the shutter button on the screen. You can also edit the Picture Quality to give you the best quality for motion blurs, or for reducing noise in low-light captures.

Slow Shutter Screen Capture

Slow Shutter Screen Capture

Prior to this app’s update release in early January 2015, the resulting image quality from this app had never been the sharpest. Whether this is just a limitation of the app, or if it’s caused by the layering of several images, it’s quite evident when comparing an image shot from the native camera app to one that’s been taken with this app.

Now, however, the results are as sharp as if you took the photo with the native camera, and I couldn’t be happier with this app!

User Interface

The camera interface is pretty straightforward with a large shutter button, and zoom slider that allows for digital zoom. The standard options of flash, and auto focus and exposure are listed on top, in addition to being able to lock the latter two options.

There’s nothing too confusing about this interface, which is likely why I kept with it. After you take the long exposure, the app allows you to change additional settings like Saturation, Hue, Brightness, and select which frame you would like to keep.

The navigation is smooth, responsive, and works well for as long as I’ve been using this.

Final Thoughts

This has always been—and will continue to be—my go-to app for long exposures on an iPhone. It’s clean interface and efficient workflow makes it just the right app for my workflow. And now with even better quality images coming out from the app, it really is the only app that you may ever need for long exposures on an iPhone.

Here’s just a sample of some long exposures that I’ve done with my iPhone and the Slow Shutter Cam app.

Long exposure on water

Long exposure on water

Long exposure on waterfalls

Long exposure on waterfalls

Long exposure does weird things to fish!

Long exposure does weird things to fish!

Long exposure on water

Long exposure on water

Long exposure on water

Long exposure on water

Long exposure allows us to see through the water

Long exposure allows us to see through the water

2 replies
  1. Sebastian
    Sebastian says:

    Hey Taku,

    first that for this article. Your photos show the real potential of this app.

    Could you share your “slow shutter app” settings. Especially for the “Long exposure does weird things to fish!” photo.

    I recently bought this app but i am still trying hard to figure out the best settings.

    I have a feeling that if i shoot, for example a stream of water, there isn’t much difference if i choose 1sek or 30sek

    cheers, sebastian

  2. Taku Kumabe
    Taku Kumabe says:

    Hey Sebastian, Thanks for dropping by. I replied to you on my Instagram account as you know, but I’ll write it here too for anyone else interested. The settings for the long exposure on the fish photo above are as follows: Motion Blur, Blur Strength: Very High, Shutter Speed: 4 sec.

    If you shoot 1 sec. and 30 sec. and there’s not much of a difference, then it’s likely that there’s very little movement in the stream itself. You can try increasing the Blur Strength to High or Very High so that it will show even the slightest of movement in the stream. I hope that helps!

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