Halide has released update 2.11, which includes a new function called Neural Telephoto, which the company claims allows all iPhone photographers access to a high-end feature even if they don’t have the most recent smartphone. In the Halide app, Neural Telephoto adds new magnification settings for non-Pro iPhones without an actual telephoto lens. Although the manufacturer calls it a virtual telephoto lens, it is more than just digital zoom.
Halide says that when you use software to zoom in on an image, you typically end up with hazy results and diagonal lines that appear slightly jagged. “With Neural Telephoto, we enhance details in zoomed shots by applying the same machine-learning system that powers our acclaimed macro mode — giving you a new, virtual 2× lens for free,” says the company.
Obviously, a true telephoto lens like the one on the iPhone 14 Pro cannot be beaten, but Halide claims that its Neural Telephoto technology preserves details better than most software. This update is intended for regular iPhone users who are not professionals but require a little more detail in their images. Neural Telephoto images will capture an unedited, unzoomed full RAW file for photographers to tweak if they so choose, but will be zoomed and enhanced using machine learning in HEIC and JPEG. Halide will by default shoot in RAW plus JPEG mode, providing photographers with an unaltered RAW file and a zoomed-in and improved JPEG file.
Halide claims that this update includes minor design improvements for all users in addition to the new Neural Telephoto capability.
Halide costs $12 annually, but it is also available for a one-time payment of $60 to get lifelong access. All current Halide members and lifetime users can download this upgrade for free from the Apple App Store.