If you saw the news about Halide bringing a Macro Mode to all iPhones, then you looked at the price, you may have been confused, after reading six pages of comments on MacRumors there were lots of different opinions, many of them seem to misunderstand what the app was about. Was this a greedy developer charging 50 bucks (€49.99, £44.99), for just a macro feature, why is this so expensive, was it a rip-off?
I talked about the Halide update here already - iPhone Macro with Halide on all models but the main point being Halide requires a subscription since Halide Mark II was released in late October 2020. Those that previously had bought the original app, got a years worth of free updates, bringing us to this month's release with the new Macro Mode. If you are new to Halide, none of this matters, you can start with a free 7-day trial based on an annual subscription ($11.99, €12.49, £10.49), there is also the option of a monthly subscription or a one time purchase with the costs I mentioned in the first paragraph.
This brings us back to the title of the post, you are not paying just for a macro feature but a fully-featured camera app with lots of different functionality above what you get in the native camera app. If you are an enthusiast or a budding photographer, who is looking to push yourself with what you can do with an iPhone, Halide is a great choice.
Rather than try and sell you on Halide I'll just tell you what I like about it, the histograms can be super helpful to get the right exposure, the manual mode is great for those tricky compositions with focus peaking so you can set what is most in focus, the RAW and ProRAW options and tools are very good, if you like the sound of ProRAW but don't want the shots to take up so much storage Halide can help with that and much more besides.
The Halide interface is nifty, we are seeing the native camera app becoming a bit overwrought, with options buried away, Halide is more elegant and probably a nicer experience overall. That does not mean once you have Halide you'll stop using the native camera app both are useful and it will depend on the type of shot you are trying to take. Now we have new a Macro Mode in Halide adding more value, especially if you don't have an iPhone 13 Pro, that you would otherwise need to try out some macro features, Camera+ 2 notwithstanding or a clip-on lens for that matter. I also appreciate the level tool to make sure shots are straight, which is well implemented.
The App Store probably doesn't help explaining more clearly these subscription prices, the information is there if you look at the In-App Purchases section but it's easy enough to miss. Also, let's not forget subscriptions are common now for photo-based apps, VSCO charges £20 a year, PhotoRoom is £50 a year, Remini is almost £30 a year, Hipstamatic X is £23 a year and so forth. We may not like these costs sometimes and that's okay, there are usually alternatives and you just go elsewhere if that is the case.
Overall I think Halide is a good investment and to answer my own question it is worth it, start with a monthly subscription perhaps as a sort of an extended trial and if you like the features, the annual option is reasonably good value for money.
Featured image credit showing the new Macro Mode option - Halide/Lux.