The Best Camera App You’re Not Using.

If you’re looking for a camera app to replace the native one on your iPhone, there are plenty. Many are better at a few things, some are better at most things but none are better at everything. Which means you’ll probably keep the Apple camera app as a backup. In that case, why not look for an app that complements, rather than replaces the old standby?

Great idea! So what’s the opposite of an Apple camera app? Microsoft Pix. Yes it exists, yes it’s made for iPhone, and here are four reasons to try it.

  1. Photosynth

This is great stitching technology that Microsoft pioneered and then open-sourced so others could improve it. It’s like pano mode everywhere so it builds the photo in any direction you move the camera. Create ultra-high-res images with freedom. Works best outdoors, where the most everywhere are.

  1. Facial Enhancement

Think automatic makeup. Not lipstick and eyeliner, but very natural skin smoothing.

  1. Comix

Shoot a short video and Pix will select a few of the best frames. You can even add text in thought bubbles. Works equally well on non-cat videos but that probably doesn’t matter does it?

  1. Style

Of course, you can add filters but these are something else entirely. The best are artistic brush-stroke re-rendering effects that make photos look like art. And, something that sounds unimpressive in the description but is actually mesmerizing in action: animations that redraw your stylized artwork into existence. Must see. Must share.


There you have it. The anti-camera app that is nothing like Apple is perfect for it!


Learn more and download Microsoft Pix on the App Store


Xtra Large Pics From iPhone XS

Xtra Large Pics From iPhone XS

It looks like iPhone cameras are comfortably settling in around the 12MP resolution. So what could be new and improved about a 12MP camera in the new iPhone XS? There are two of them! Not to mention a 7MP front-facing camera which is almost as good as the main camera on an iPhone 6s. But that thing was born in late 2015 so it’s practically a senior citizen in tech age.

What makes dual cameras awesome? The same thing that makes having two eyes awesome; depth perception! Software processes both images into one for higher effective resolution and also maps depth of the scene. It’s the key to portrait mode, where you can selectively blur or eliminate the background while maintaining sharp focus on your subject.

Unlike our eyes, one of the dual lenses on the iPhone XS is telephoto. When you zoom in, you’re switching from the normal lens to the zoom lens, rather than just enlarging the middle of the frame like single-lens devices do. For device cameras that have until now been stuck on the sidelines, this puts us in the game with zoomed images that use the camera’s full 12MP resolution!

Apple’s new HEIC image format is a clever container that combines these two images and depth map in raw form so that you can edit now or later without sacrificing quality no matter how you choose to display your photos.

And display them you will! The phone’s screen is as sharp and velvety as ever but for the first time, Apple’s cameras are outperforming even their own display devices. Even on Apple’s largest iMac displays, you’ll have to zoom in to experience actual size (1:1) resolution or view it in lower res at full-size.


In other words, fire up the photo lab, honey, it’s time to start printing again! With max output resolution up to 63MP in pano mode, (yes, 63 million pixels) these photos can rival the prints of any DSLR. You could be snapping an iPhone photo today and hanging a 5-foot wide panoramic gallery tomorrow!

Xtra Large Pics From iPhone XS


What the HEIF Happened to JPG?

Apple’s latest bombshell is a whole new image format and you may already be using it. HEIF stands for High Efficiency Image File and it replaces the JPG format in iOS 11.

Where did this come from?

Apple adopted it as a better way to save ever more complex images from iPhones, beginning with iOS 11. But they didn’t invent it. The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) did in 2015 and since it’s a universal standard, there will be lots of support for it. Photoshop® is already compatible.

Newer Apple devices already use HEIF and quietly convert to jpg when sharing with a platform that might not support it, like when attaching to an email. As for your old jpgs, they’ll stay that way. You’ll never need to convert them or use them differently than you do now.

Four Big Advantages

  1. High-Efficiency means lightweight. Images encoded in HEIF are about half the size of a jpg of comparable quality. That means faster processing and movement across networks which is important for mobile where increased battery life and decreased bandwidth use are paramount.
  2. It’s a container. One High Efficiency Image File can contain multiple images like Live Photos. Sure, a GIF can do that but not with the same quality. HEIFs support 16-bit color depth (256 times more than an 8-bit gif or jpg).
  3. It speaks 3D. Dual cameras on the latest iPhones capture depth data that enable enhanced capabilities like Portrait Mode. HEIF records depth layers and other metadata to preserve these features and increased editing capabilities for later.
  4. Simple rotation and cropping. Rotating jpeg 90 degrees requires that the entire image be resampled. It costs processing time and degrades image quality. But HEIF’s support orientation and cropping as outside instructions that don’t change the original pixel map. You can crop today and revert to the full image a year from now (in theory).

So, does this change everything?

Not at all. Existing formats like jpg, tif, gif, png and others aren’t going away. Each has strengths that will continue to suit their uses in a variety of capture and publishing platforms. When it comes to printing and sharing, we have no beef with HEIF either. Ordering high quality photo products from our website or in our store is just as easy as it is with a jpeg. If you do need to change a HEIF file to JPG, websites like can do it for free.

So, HEIF is here. But there’s nothing to fear. Mamma won’t take your jpg away.

If you have questions about saving, storing and printing your images, call us! Our experts are here to help.