iPhone Camera App Pearla Aims to Make Phone Photos Less ‘Phone-y’

A collage of photos shows images using the Pearla app's film resolutions feature.

iPhone cameras have come a long way, but a more hands-on app like Pearla can help mobile photographers more reliably incredible photos. And now with a new update, Pearla gives users even more tools to get the perfect shot.

A new version of the camera app released Wednesday allows iPhone users to take still photos in “log mode,” taking advantage of a greater dynamic range. In addition, Pearla introduced “a Color Space Transformation process to our image development pipeline (similar to Davinci Resolve) to enable users to transform our log profile (Pearl-Log) to Sony S-Log3, ARRI LogC3 or Blackmagic Design Film Gen 5,” according to a release from the company, House of Mars.

Typically, photos taken on smartphones have a distinct “this image was taken using a phone camera” quality about them, typically from digital over-sharpening. Because of this, they tend to need a little extra attention when processing. But with an app like Pearla, especially when utilizing its updated “log mode,” there’s a better chance of getting solid pre-edits.

A grid of four photos compares different log settings using the Pearla camera app.

Pearla says its use case is best for those who want a more “cinematic look,” content creators seeking to color-match posts, those looking to create behind-the-scenes footage with a matching feel, or filmmakers and photographers looking to test color grades using their phones on location.

The app further tries to mimic a standalone camera by offering presets, which it calls “recipes.” These can mimic the look of a particular aesthetic. It also has “film simulations” that “simulate film photography inspired by popular film stocks such as Portra 400, Portra 800, Kodak Gold 200, Lomochrome 92, Lomochrome Metropolis, and Fuji Velvia,” Pearla’s developer explains.

“It also includes two simulation profiles inspired by ‘classic chrome’ and ‘classic neg’ looks,” the company continues.

Plus, there are the usual camera app features. Different aspect ratios, portrait mode, white balance and histogram tweaking are all included. The interface can also be customized to suit the photographer’s needs, and Pearla says “each button in the interface can map to most actions from the settings page.”

Pearla is available via subscription, which costs $3 per month, $7 every three months, or $15 annually. The app also offers a three-day free trial.

Image credits: Pearla