Microsoft's Pix App: Trying to Replace Your iPhone's Native Camera

Microsoft Pix App Logo.

As a mobile photographer and one from Seattle, I had hoped that our hometown Microsoft would put its foot in the game when it came to the smart phone, specifically the mobile photography industry. When they had purchased Nokia in 2012, it looked promising. The 1020 was the phone that had the better camera than that of the iPhone and definitely any Android device. The issue that Microsoft had was not in its devices, it was in the app ecosystem.

The Windows Marketplace was too far behind the iPhone and Android app ecosystem. In less than a year of purchasing Nokia, Microsoft decided to focus its efforts outside of the device arena. The promise of the 1020 and the Nokia line fell behind even more. To this day, I still use the Lumia 1020 to capture images. Even though it has not released an update in years, it still takes amazing images.

Microsoft did have some noteworthy apps to throw in for the mobile photography game. There was a black and white app (no longer available), the native camera and Smart Phone app - which took bursts of photos and helped you choose the best from the series, and OneDrive - which was the first cloud platform (at least that I know of) that immediately uploaded from your device in full resolution. Soon after other cloud services did the same but Microsoft OneDrive led that push.I still use OneDrive for personal and business use.

First rolling out for Windows Phone after it rolled out onto the other platforms, it assured for me that they (Microsoft) was serious about keeping that service. 

Well, Microsoft is back in the mobile photography arena and in specifically for the iOS platform with the Android OS soon to come. The company has released a new camera app that focuses on taking better photos for people.

Microsoft has stated that this app will replace your native iPhone camera app. The app, called Pix, is available for the iPhone and iPad. The app works by constantly shooting a scene, saving 10 frames before and after the press of the shutter button. Like many apps that shoot in burst and help you choose the best shot, an algorithm analyzes all the shots taken, evaluates the technical characteristics of the image, and it also evaluates facial expressions from those in the photo. Once that algorithm decides its found the cream of the crop in that series, it then lets the user see the best three shots from that series. The app takes the best characteristics of all the photos to help enhance the top 3 photos and once it has decided what to use of all the images, the extra images are then deleted.  As I mentioned before, Microsoft had the Smart Phone app that did very similar to what Pix does. I assume that this is a better iteration of the older app that was exclusive to the native Nokia camera.

Pix also uses the similar images in the series and creates a Live Image which is similar to Gif creators, HTC's Zoey, or Apple's Live Photo. Along with this Pix can also choose from the series and create a time-lapse similar to Microsoft's Hyperlapse.

Microsoft says that in the latest update that you can also turn older series of images in your camera roll into time-lapses. 

So my question for all of you, how many beginner to intermediate smart phone shooters actually use a third party app to take pictures with their iPhone? Many people do not have the time or desire to do manual adjustments and so the native camera app is the best way to click and shoot. Sometimes you get a nice photo, sometimes you don't but the purpose of the snap to document and send to family and friends has been accomplished. Well that is where Pix wants to take over and do all the thinking for you.

This app does not have any filters or special modes or adjustment sliders. It is just a camera app that uses the native iPhone sensor and camera tech to take better pictures than that of - well the native camera app. 

I played around with the app and with a quick synopsis of what it does: I don't necessarily see the value in the app. Maybe in future updates you can see the value but as of right now I do not think there is one. If you still want to try it out which of course I think you should, go download the app here.

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