When Apple unveiled its new iOS 7 camera features, things like Instagram-ish square cropping, photo filters and image organization got the lion’s share of the attention, while another very cool feature got somewhat glossed over. (It’s not even featured on Apple’s website.)
If you’ve ever been annoyed at having to stop filming, just to zoom in closer on a subject, then there’s plenty of reason to be excited. The long-awaited zoom-while-recording function is about to grace your device via controls that show up during capture. Real-time zoom may seem like a small benefit, but in the hands of devoted iPhone videographers, it opens up more possibilities for tighter direction and a more emotional connection between subject and viewer. That’s something that full-fledged camcorders have had over the iPhone since the 3GS got video recording in 2009.
Here’s how it works: While shooting, pinch or tap to zero in on anything in the frame. You can zoom out by pinching outward on the screen or sliding the zoom bar, which appears when you engage the feature. The zoom also works for still photos during capture mode. Seems simple enough, except that the tapping could have users errantly focusing when they mean to zoom and vice versa. Maybe it’s better to stick with pinching or the slider bar instead. That way, there’s also no potential for camera shakes while shooting.
The changes that Apple has brought to iOS 7’s camera/photo features are definitely welcome. And who knows? Maybe they’ll arrive with some souped-up camera hardware in the very near future.