New in iOS 7: zooming during video capture

iOS 7 (Camera, Video capture 001)

As we continue to discover both the big features and smaller nice-to-haves in iOS 7 on an ongoing basis, it has just come to our knowledge that you can access the Camera’s zoom controls while shooting video.

Think twice before dismissing this feature because real-time zooming during video capture allows for some interesting possibilities normally associated with camcorders.

I can easily imagine this being even more useful on a 12-megapixel camera with improved night shooting rumored to make its way inside the iPhone 5S

The feature only got a passing mention during Monday’s WWDC 2013 keynote – Apple doesn’t even detail them on the iOS 7 features web page.

To use zoom during video capture, just set the Camera app to Video mode by swiping left or right.

Upon hitting the big red red button to start recording, simply use the pinch gesture to zoom in and out during video capture. You can also tap-to-focus on your closeups as you’re shooting video.

To zoom out footage, pinch out anywhere on the screen or use the handy slider at the bottom part of the interface. Unfortunately, the slider doesn’t appear until you zoom in on the video.

To be honest, I would have preferred a persistent slider in order to avoid accidentally focusing instead of zooming in on my video.

If you’d like to take a still image during video capture, just hit the white button on the left. Check it out on the screenshot below – I was shooting a nice beach scene here just a few moments ago. This is a feature that was already available in iOS 6.

iOS 7 (Camera, Stills while shooting video)

Stills get saved straight to the Camera Roll, without disrupting video capture in progress. You can take as many stills as you like and, of course, tap-to-focus or zoom in on the subject to frame your photo as you continue recording.

To be perfectly clear, Apple actually extracts a full HD frame from your video so these stills max out at 1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution. You just can’t have full HD video capture and eight-megapixel camera working simultaneously, at least not with the current state of technology.

Jeff has a more detailed article on other aspects of the Camera and Photos app in iOS 7, if you’re interested.