If you’re looking for full manual control over your phone camera, then chances are you’ve heard of Camera+, Moment Pro, and Filmic Pro. But, have you heard of BEASTCAM?
The new pro camera app from Beastgrip provides full manual control for both photos and videos for just $15. While it is iPhone only, the app enters a marketplace that hasn’t really experienced a product that ticks all of the desired boxes. So, how does BEASTCAM fare?
BEASTCAM – Bust or Legit?
Are you looking for an app for both photos and videos? You want something that’s user-friendly, professional-quality, and doesn’t break the bank. You want BEASTCAM.
Go to Beastgrip’s site to learn more about the BEASTCAM Pro Camera App.
You’ll switch between photography and videography faster than you would on your native camera app. You’ll connect anamorphic lenses and DSLR lens adapters with ease.
While you won’t have the gimbal app-to-phone connectivity available from Filmic Pro, you’ll have multiple stabilization settings at your fingertips (great for mobile phone videography).
If you’re shooting with a modern quad-camera phone, then you’ll quickly switch between lenses. If you want a better understanding of the different types of smartphone camera lenses, then check this out.
In a jiff, you can change resolution, ratio, file format (you know that you should shoot in RAW, right?), frame rate, timer lengths, and output quality. The usability and the sheer number of customization here make content creation a dream.
There are seriously impressive options for audio controls too (for if you don’t have an external microphone, of course). In addition, BEASTCAM features nice options for file organization and savable presets for efficient shooting.
The BEASTCAM Pro Camera App – Manual Control for your Phone
And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. BEASTCAM’s manual controls include:
- White Balance – keep a white object in your wallet so that you can manually adjust your white balance for accuracy (adjust Kelvin and Tint). You can also use the app’s Gray Card white balance feature (just point it at something grey and the app does the rest) which is better than auto.
- Focus – be sure to lock focus and use Focus Peaking (get your subject outlined in green fuzzies). The Focus Peaking tool coats the areas of the image with high contrast – well-focused – with green fuzzies.
- Zoom – try the app’s Quick Zoom feature. While we don’t recommend zooming, it is a cool feature to play with and it doesn’t affect the end video when recording so you can check that your subject is crisply in focus on the fly.
- ISO – adjusting exposure is a learning process. Check with Zebra Stripes tool to ensure that your work is well exposed. Pro Tip: Crank up that ISO in low-light situations.
- Shutter Speed – this is the easiest metric to adjust for exposure because there are rules. The most important one, is that your shutter speed should be at twice your frame rate. So, if I’m shooting at 24fps, I’ll need to set my shutter speed to 1/48.
- Smart Exposure – simultaneously adjust exposure and ISO with BEASTCAM’s SE tool. This feature is useful if you’re in a hurry, but is not to be over-used.
Focus Peaking – detects the highest contrast areas in your photo or video and outlines it with some color (in our case, green). These high contrast areas indicate a subject that is crisp and in focus.
- Zebra Stripes – exposure aid that you can overlay over photos and videos to check exposure. Red is overexposed (washed out), and blue is underexposed (cast in shadow). Remember, underexposing is best as it maintains more detail in your images.
- False Color – exposure aid that shows your image on a color grade. Typically false color features come with some sort of reference guide, but BEASTCAM does not. As a result, unless you’re already a false color master, you should stick to using Zebras,
Problems with the Competition
So, before we get into what BEASTCAM gets right, we should first explain what the competition gets wrong. Then we’ll know what the bar is, savvy?
When testing BEASTCAM’s main competition, Filmic Pro, I experienced serious connectivity issues. While these issues stem from features BEASTCAM doesn’t have – Android and gimbal support – they make the app nearly unusable if you’re shooting for clients. The Moment Pro Camera app is slightly better, but still buggy.
In the case of Filmic Pro, you’ll spend $30 to unlock the full mobile videography suite of tools. You need to spend some additional cash on another app, though if you want to take photos too. Moment’s app is cheaper but will require an extra purchase to unlock all the tools. BEASTCAM is a one time purchase of $15 that gives you manual control for photos and videos.
For both Filmic Pro and Moment’s Pro Camera, there are well-documented issues with file loss. When I was shooting on Filmic Pro with my Google Pixel 3a, this was a common issue I had. Since switching to BEASTCAM, I’ve never lost a file. I have, however, had one file become corrupted (choppy video with unusable audio).
Beastgrip is all about solutions – it’s in their company’s DNA. If you want to learn more about what I mean, then check out our highlight of the company here.
So, Filmic Pro has been the staple for mobile content creation for a long time and the biggest gripe about the app has been the lack of photography capability. BEASTCAM solves that problem with its one app for a fraction of the cost. While the Moment Pro Camera app does both, it does have multiple buy-in points and several bugs.
BEASTCAM blows both out of the water when it comes to the app user interface (what you see and click on the screen) too. Filmic Pro has all its manual controls hidden, to the point where you have to click on multiple things to unlock them. In addition, the manual controls are on a slider that’s annoyingly inaccurate. What’s the point of having manual control if it’s a pain to use? BEASTCAM has the annoying sliders but also utilizes a clicker to hone in your settings.
The biggest issue for BEASTCAM, in my opinion, is the lack of gimbal connectivity. While the three stabilization modes are nice and fit in with Beastgrip’s phone rig philosophy, they don’t compare to that of a gimbal.
Another, albeit less serious, qualm I have with the app is that it’s designed more towards pros and less towards amateurs. It’s easier to use than Filmic Pro to be sure, but not quite as user friendly as the Moment Pro Camera app.
While my experience with BEASTCAM has been great, I have had one corrupted file. It does happen with all kinds of cameras, but it is also worth noting.
Are There Workarounds?
Because you’re unable to directly connect your gimbal to the app like with Filmic Pro or ZY Play, you’ll need to become proficient with a gimbal. At the same time, if you use both BEASTCAM and ZY Play (free), then your problems are solved. Unfortunately, I’m unaware of a workaround for non-Zhiyun products.
Be sure to lock both your focus and exposure reticles before shooting (do note that this true for all of the apps I’ve discussed). There’s nothing less professional than a video with auto-exposing going on.
Unfortunately, corrupted files happen; this is true with traditional cameras too. The best workaround for corrupted files is to adjust on the fly. Chances are you won’t know the footage got corrupted until you begin the editing process, so there’s really no way to catch it until it’s too late. You’ll need to be able to create something to take the place of the footage, so don’t pout and just make it happen.
Is BEASTCAM Worth It?
Absolutely. The usability of the app is superior to the others in the niche. It offers many of the same features but simply pulls them off better. While it lacks the gimbal to app connectivity available in Filmic Pro, BEASTCAM outdoes the longtime industry frontrunner on a number of functions.
Plus, the multiple stabilization settings make the need for a gimbal less than ever before.
Expect updates to the app that increase its functionality to the point that BEASTCAM can no longer be ignored – it’s here to stay.