I’ve seen many of my friends taking great photos using Samsung phones, sometimes even better than pictures taken from a DSLR. In some situations it’s quite inconvenient to take out my DSLR and capture the moment, so I use my phone most of the time as in moments I capture on the street.

I want to know whether there’s specific option or some other way which we can use an iPhone to take photos as good as photos taken manually from a DSLR?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you explain what you mean by "manually" and "almost manual kinda"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 7:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ As good as a photo taken using the manual mode from a DSLR \$\endgroup\$
    – pooza
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 7:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The photos from a DSLR are better because it's a better camera, not because they have manual exposure control. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 7:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I believe the downvotes are coming from the fact that you haven't defined "good" within the scope of your question - though it'd be nice if those downvoters would specify. That being said, you should clarify what you mean by "as good as" or, if you are curious about only M mode on an iPhone, cut the clutter from your question and focus on this aspect alone. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented Dec 31, 2017 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ As there are no mechanical parts to manually control or set in specific detail, the general answer would be "no." What you seem to be asking is whether there are software gimmicks that simulate the quality factors on a full on camera, which will depend on your understanding of photography, the hardware capabilities in emulating control, and whether the developer of said software equally understands photography. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 14:59

3 Answers 3


to take photos as good as photos taken manually from a DSLR?

Depends strongly on what "as good" means by your definition. If it's good enough for a tiny phone screen and you're shooting a well-lit scene with a low dynamic range, then yes. If you're trying to take a macro photo, a photo of an object at a distance, a photo with little (natural) depth of field, a wide-angle photo - basically anything outside the 35mm focal length of iPhones, then the answer is no, you cannot do it. A tiny 1/2.3" sensor in your phone would never beat an APS-C or Full-frame sensor, no matter how good technology gets. That being said...

Is there a way to take photos manually from iPhones?

There are numerous apps which help you take better-looking pictures with your phone: VSCO, Manual, Camera+, Procamera 11. Some do let you control the aperture, the ISO and the shutter speed manually. Others solve the problem by applying creative filters to the image. Give it a try and see what works for your style of photography.


I'm answering this using knowledge of an iPhone 6s running iOS 10.something.something.

As of this point, you cannot modify exposure using the native iOS camera app in something akin to M mode. This may change in either future software updates, phone updates, or both.

As Inkista points out, you do have a few stops of exposure compensation that can be applied by tapping and dragging up and down.

However, for full M control, your best bet is to scour the app marketplace to find an app that allows for these types of control. I've noticed that camera apps specifically designed for shooting the auroura borealis are great with long exposure settings. (Might come in handy when wanting to shoot moving water, etc)

As an aside - Apple prides itself on ease of use. Adding complex photography settings to their app doesn't feel in their nature to do; so, check the App Store.


There are various apps in the App Store that allow you to control the camera similar to M mode on a SLR. I’m personally using an app called Camera+.

screenshot of camera+

It allows you to control shutter time and ISO values and even allows you to pick focus points. There should be more apps available, but this is the one I use and I am happy with.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of phone cameras, aperture cannot be changed and you are stuck with the depth of field that it has. It also means that there is no real zoom, instead it uses a digital zoom, which is basically a crop.

I’m not affiliated with Camera+ in any way, I am simply a happy user.

  • \$\begingroup\$ is it just a Crop ?? Never optical zoom? \$\endgroup\$
    – nish1013
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 9:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nish1013 afaik no iPhone has a camera lens capable of optical zoom. To my knowledge actually the majority of phones do not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Belle
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 10:08

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