Shoot Photos While Recording Video With The Apple iPhone 5

Hybrid Video and Photo Shooting With the iPhone 5

Over the last few years, Apple has steadily improved the quality and functionality of the built-in iPhone camera. The iPhone 4 and 4s were both designed to shoot either photos or HD video, but with the release of the iPhone 5, the phone has the ability to simultaneously shoot both.

Great shooting opportunities can present themselves at any moment. Sometimes you have to be willing to go out and find them but more often than not, the best shooting opportunity ends up being a slice of everyday life. It could be a photo opportunity on your way to work or the occasion of your best friend's birthday. You just need to pull out your iPhone and make a quick decision: shoot some video, take a few photos. With the iPhone 5, you can do both.

Learn more about mobile phone photography & mobile videography at the Adorama Learning Center's new iPhoneography department.

There are many hybrid camcorders that have this functionality but this is Apple's first foray into the exciting world of dual, hybrid video shooting. It promises the best of both worlds and blurs the line between mobile Photography and Videography. If you take a look at the comparison chart you see a highlevel overview of the camera and video recording improvements made since the launch of the iPhone 4. The iPhone 5 has added improved image stabilization, face detection & now the ability to take photos while shooting HD video.

Comparison Chart :- iPhone Camera & Video Recording


Capture Mode

When you start recording video, a camera icon appears in the top right hand corner of the screen. When you want to take a photo you just tap on the camera icon and a still photo is automatically saved to the camera roll. 

Screen capture taken on the street - shooting HD video and photos with the iPhone 5 native camera app.


Camera Replacement Apps for Hybrid Recording

Camera replacement apps are great if you need to use advanced features to control focus, exposure and white balance. Unfortunately, not all of these apps include the hybrid option to take still photos when recording. The two video camera apps that I use for hybrid recording are ProCamera and Movie Pro.


Pro Camera: $2.99

A great app for shooting photos and full HD videos. The anti-shake image stabilizer works pretty good and I like that exposure and focus can be set at the same time using two fingers. Videos are stored in the camera roll and they can be easily uploaded to dropbox online storage. 



Movie Pro: $2.99 

Movie Pro is one of the most feature-rich apps for video capture. While recording you can take stills but you can also switch between the front and back iPhone camera. It also has an option to pause the recording and continue within the same clip. 

Camera replacement and video editing app developers are beginning to step forward and fill the demand created by hybrid video and photo capabilities. It won't be long before we see video storytelliing apps that leverage the content created either while shooting or during the editing process.

Image Resolution

The biggest downside of shooting with the iPhone is the resolution or quality. For now, I'm happy to trade quality for speed, especially when most of the visual media I shoot is specifically for online or mobile consumption and engagement.

Let's look at the quality of the images that you get when shooting in hybrid mode. The iPhone 5 is capable of simultaneously recording a full HD video (1920X1080) and photo still capture, although the still images are captured at a lower resolution (1920X1080) and the aspect ratio is the same as the video recording (16x9). The still images are not as big as the native camera images 3264x2248 but they are higher quality than a screen capture (1136x640).

Got it? Good. If not, check out this chart and you'll see that the hybrid functionality reduces the resolution significantly. When shooting HD video and photos simultancesly the resolution of the photos drops from 8MP to 2MP. The drop in resolution is huge, but if you don't plan on printing the images, I'd say go for it. Dual hybrid functionality does give you acceptable resolution for sharing online and posting to Instagram, Flicker, Eyem, Facebook, or Google+.

Image Comparison Chart: Photos, Hybrid (Video & Photo) & Screen Capture.


Examples: Still Photos Taken While Recording Video with the iPhone 5 


 Sample Image 1 - Shooting HD Video and Photos with the iPhone 5. (Holding the iPhone still + Touch Focus)

Sample Image 2- Shooting HD Video & Photos with the iPhone 5. (Panning Left to Right)

Sample Image 3- Shooting HD Video & Photos with the iPhone 5. (Holding the iPhone + Auto Focus)


Need help or just a creative nudge? Check out the Adorama Learning Center for more articles on iPhone Photography & check out the lastest iPhoneography gear on the iPhone Toolshed.


iPhone Toolshed at Adorama


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