Microsoft has launched a new photo-taking app on iPhone that it says offers big advantages over the stock Apple Camera app. Called Microsoft Pix, this app optimizes focus, color, and exposure automatically on the fly.
“Microsoft Pix has serious intelligence behind the lens, so it can automatically tweak settings for each shot, and immediately enhance your photos, to help people and scenes look their best,” Microsoft explains. “Now you can just enjoy the moment, instead of struggling to capture it! Point. Shoot. Perfect.”
OK, this one actually looks really impressive, but I’ll need to use it in the real world before I’m sure. For now, let’s look at the Pix features Microsoft is touting.
Smart settings. Pix automatically checks scene and lighting between each shutter tap, and updates settings between each shot.
Face recognition. When Pix detects a face in the shot, it automatically optimizes settings to help people look their best.
Moment capture. Pix captures a burst of frames every time you tap the shutter button, including frames before and after your tap, so you won’t miss the right moment.
Best Image(s). Pix automatically selects up to 3 of the best and most unique shots from the burst, and immediately deletes the rest, so you don’t waste your phone’s memory or your time comparing and storing similar frames.
Image quality. Pix uses discarded burst frames to enhance each Best Image, improving exposure and color, and reducing noise and blur.
Live Image. Pix automatically creates a short, looping video by stitching together the frames from the burst into a Live Image, but only when it senses motion in your shot, so it won’t waste a ton of your phone’s memory.
Hyperlapse. Videos shot with Microsoft Pix are automatically stabilized for smoother playback, and can be time lapsed and saved at many different speeds.
Auto-sync. Pix seamlessly syncs to your camera roll, so you don’t have to individually import or save your photos and videos to your camera roll.
Easy sharing. Pix uses iOS sharing, so you can seamlessly share to the apps already installed on your phone.
Looking at the app very quickly, it works simply enough, with no surprises or weird UIs. There are a few editing features—cropping and effects, basically—and it does a nice job of helping you find unique features.
For example, when Pix saves different versions of a photo, you can compare them and choose which you prefer.
Also, the photos you take with this app are added to the phone’s camera roll, meaning they will be backed up to whatever service you’ve configured. (I use Google Photos and OneDrive.)
You can download Microsoft Pix for free from the Apple App Store. It works with iPad as well, but no one should ever use an iPad to take photos. Ever.