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Moment app
The Moment Pro Camera app is designed to make a smartphone function like a DSLR. (Moment Photo)

Moment has made a business out of creating hardware such as attachable lenses and cases meant to transform the way people take images with their smartphones. Now the Seattle-based startup is focusing on software, with a robust new app that gives more pro-style manual controls to mobile photographers.

With the release of the Moment Pro Camera app for iOS and Android, the company is creating a DSLR shooting experience in which users will be able to mess with everything from exposure, ISO and shutter speed to focus, white balance and image format.

It’s the latest move by a company that believes the best tool for creative types is one that they carry right in their pocket. Several lens attachments and cases for a variety of phones have so far served as Moment’s core product offering. A fourth Kickstarter campaign in May — for a collection of lenses for shooting video — met its goal in 41 minutes and eventually raised $1.5 million from more than 10,500 backers.

But CEO Marc Barros, whose previous company Contour lost in the action-sports-camera battle to GoPro, isn’t resting on just a single hardware offering again — even if it was good enough to win GeekWire’s Gadget of the Year honors in 2017.

“Moment is almost 5 years old and in that time we’ve learned an incredible amount about our customer: who they are, why they buy, where they go, how they shoot, etc.,” Barros told GeekWire. “And although our initial products were physical, we’re finding the problems [customers] care most about require amazing software.”

Moment Pro Camera app screen grabs as seen for IOS and Android devices. (Moment Photo)

Barros called the Pro Camera App one of the hardest products to build, but the company wanted to start with something that was on par with what it’s offering with lenses. It’s also their first attempt at an Android app. If the app — which is free to download and $3 to upgrade — gains traction, Barros can envision a family of photography inspired products.

That expanding view of the business is reminiscent of why Moment even became a business — to give mobile photographers different fields of view through their phones. Now the company has expanded ShopMoment to be more of a marketplace, even offering third-party products. And Moment Travel has launched to offer guided adventures for photographers.

The goal is to find out whether fans of the lenses and cases will trust Moment to deliver much more.

“The first four years was learning how to be a consumer product company,” Barros said. “Now we’re learning how to be a marketplace with gear, apps and travel. We are trying to build product categories into our DNA while serving the same customer. It’s a harder, slower path so we’ll see if it works.”

Here’e the full list of features for the Pro Camera App as described by Moment:

  • Full manual: Control exposure, ISO, shutter speed, focus, and white balance independently with easy to use sliders and double taps to reset.
  • 3D touch shutter: Control your shutter like a DSLR camera. Using Apple’s 3D Touch technology, we’ve brought the shooting experience of a pro shutter button to the touch screen. Half press to focus, full press to capture using the in-app shutter button.
  • RAW and TIFF: Shoot photos in RAW format for better editing, or TIFF for high-quality printing.
  • HEIF and HEVC: Seamless support for the latest Apple file formats across photo and video.
  • Dual lens control: Manually control which side of the dual lens you want to shoot with so you can use Moment lenses over either one.
  • Precise video: Change your resolution and frame rate on screen, without digging into a settings menu.
  • Live histogram: Get your exposure right every time.
  • Split focus and exposure: Take control of tricky lighting scenarios
  • Auto video stabilization: Make your videos buttery smooth.
  • Better with Moment cases: The only app specifically designed to work with the Moment Battery Photo Case and Original Photo Case. It allows you to use a DSLR-like shutter button on your phone, and add extra battery with the Battery Photo Case.
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