Capture modes basics

In previous tutorials we have looked at how to configure the CameraPixels, what permissions are required and how to interact with CameraPixels in auto and manual modes. In this tutorial we’ll learn how to switch between capture modes and configure their parameters.

Capture modes

Depending on your device, CameraPixels may support up to 8 capture modes, including Photo, Video, and different types of Bracketing. Below is the list of capture modes supported for the back camera (wide and telephoto) on iPhone 11 Pro Max:

As we’ve seen in the first tutorial First launch, to switch between modes one should press the button Mode on the capture controls toolbar:

In the capture mode selector dialog scroll up and down to select the required capture mode. Each of the capture modes is optimised for a specific use case and therefore it’s important to understand when to use a specific mode.

Mode Description
Photo This is a default photo mode optimized to capture single or series of images with maximum quality. Use this mode when quality is more important than speed at which successive images are captured. This mode supports processed (JPG/HEIC/TIFF – depending on your device) and raw capture (only for devices and cameras that support it)
Portrait The portrait mode is available on dual and triple camera devices or devices with a TrueDepth camera. This mode allows to capture depth information alongside the color photo. The captured depth can be used to simulate different apertures
Burst This is a photo mode optimised for speed. The CameraPixels tries to capture images as fast as possible. Use this mode when capture speed is more important than quality of captured photos
Slow shutter This is a photo mode that uses a computational photography to simulate a slow shutter. The mode has two options that specify how captured images are combined to simulate different effects: blurring or light painting. Use this mode to achieve smooth water or light painting effects
Exposure bracket The mode is optimised to capture an exposure bracket with up to 15 images per bracket. Exposure bracket is used to create high-quality HDR images (requires 3d party software). You can also use this method to capture few images with different exposure and later choose the best one for further processing
Focus bracket The mode is designed to capture focus bracket with up 100 images per bracket. Focus bracket is used to simulate the extended depth of field when the native one is too shallow (occurs especially in macro photography) with a technique called focus stacking. Captured images can be stacked together in a specialized software to achieve the desired depth of field
Video This mode is optimised for captureing standard and high speed videos with up to 240 fps (the maximum speed depends on your device). The mode also supports different output codecs (the list depends on your device and camera in use)
Time lapse This mode allows to capture time lapses with user specified delays between successive frames. Use this mode to simulate the fast-video effect

The selected mode icon is displayed on the shutter button so you always know which capture mode is active. The on-screen controls are always in sync with the current capture mode, showing which features are accessible at any given time. For instance, on dual-camera devices, when Portrait capture mode is selected, the camera selector is hidden, because only one camera is available. On the iPhone 11 Pro (Max) the camera selector shows only 1x and 2x icons, suggesting that only wide and telephoto cameras are available in the Portrait capture mode.

Capture mode settings

Once the capture mode is selected you can adjust its certain parameters. For instance, the Photo capture mode allows you to adjust image resolution, crop, quality, whether to use enhanced processing (smart-HDR or Deep Fusion on supported devices), and image stabilization. You can also adjust the timer, which specifies for how long to delay the capture (useful when releasing shutter can cause camera shakes) and even use the full intervalometer feature to capture a series of images with a certain delay between successive captures.

To access the capture mode settings use the Set button on capture controls toolbar:

To adjust a certain setting, scroll up and down until you find it.

Tap on the setting itself and scroll left or right to select the appropriate value (for settings that support more than two values).

The list of settings in the capture mode settings dialog will depend on the camera and output format. For instance, when the DNG output format is selected in Photo capture mode, the Image section in settings will only have the Image stabilization setting available. All the other settings will be hidden because they are not supported for raw capture. On the other hand, if you select Create JPG/HEIC/TIFF image from RAW option in media output format, the capture mode settings dialog will have an additional section DNG to JPG (HEIC/TIFF) conversion that allows adjusting raw development parameters.

To reset all settings to their default values (this includes the media output format, flash/torch state and camera selection) press the Reset All button in capture settings dialog:

As was mentioned before in tutorial Configuring CameraPixels the app by default starts in Photo capture mode with default settings. You can enable persistent settings by turning Persistent capture settings option in the global settings dialog. Each capture mode has its own set of settings and they are not shared/transferred between capture modes.


In this tutorial, we learned how to select different capture modes and adjust their settings. In the next tutorial, we’ll learn how to create presets, that are capture modes with a particular set of settings.

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