Pixelmator Photo and/or Halide user questions

I recently bought an iPad Pro. Want to do more with it than just streaming movies.

One thing I thought about was cleaning up my photo library which is a mess. Perhaps use something like Best Photos to help delete.

A while back, I used to take a lot of photos with my DSLR in RAW mode but that is pretty much over. My pics are generally now just from my regular iPhone 12 (not Pro) but I’ve never spent time learning to use the camera to take better pics or to look into better camera apps.

I was just doing some digging and had two separate questions. Hopefully, there are some Pixelmator and Halide users here.

  • How well does Pixelmator Pro work on iPhone JPEG or HEIF photos? Is it built for that? Or is it really geared towards RAW manipulation, in which case I would want to use a 3rd party app?

  • I was reading about Halide and I’m curious. Any users here? I’m wary of spending the money on Halide but will try it for a year for $12 to see if I would truly switch to using it over the stock camera app.



I assume you mean Pixelmator Photo here (Pro is Mac only though most of the functionality and UI are practically identical) - it’s great. I’ve been using it to trim down my photo editors (in the long wake of Aperture…), and I’ve settled on Pixelmator Photo on iPad Pro as my go-to editor beyond native Photos.

Halide’s helpful and worth a try but I don’t find myself using it a lot. My favorite iOS alternative camera app is probably Argentum, if you want to shoot B/W.

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Thanks. And yes, I meant Pixelmator Photo. So just to e clear, it works well on jpeg files? That is probably 90% of the photos I have.

Yes Pixelmator Photo can handle your JPEG well too aside from RAW images. I also use Halide Camera to shoot RAW and edit my photos with Pixelmator Photo. Halide Camera has some integration with Darkroom on the iPhone but I prefer doing my editing on the iPad Pro with Pencil with Pixelmator Pro.

Been using Halide Camera since version 1 and I am quite happy with it. But to take advantage of the full feature is to use it the same way as you use your manual camera. It can display Histogram and waveform and also allows you to have a real-time zebra display for exposure. It captures RAW+JPEG, as pictures taken with RAW format still needs to be processed in order to be used (they appear muddled and low contrast).

Both will be worth it if you decide to take pictures with RAW again as the stock camera and photo editing is already good enough.


I do a lot of photo editing on my iPad. Although my flow is usually from an external mirrorless camera.

What I dislike the most is that if you import to the photos library, that RAW files and normal files are mixed, and you can’t really distinguish them. It’s bad for quickly clearing out big files that you no longer need, but also to quickly see what files are processed and what aren’t.

Darkroom and Pixelmator Photo both act on the library but have options to ‘import from files’ but IMO it’s not very good. It’s very annoying to jump back and forth between photo library and files, and each file from the files app is acted on individually. You can’t easily just browse through a big folder full of RAW files like you can with stuff that’s in your library.

For editing, Pixelmator is much more advanced than Darkroom in what it can do, but there are still some things like Clarity, Structure, Spot Cleanup and lots of other tools that I’m missing.

So right now I am using… Lightroom. It sucks because of the subscription but it’s the only thing that gives me quick RAW processing in a big library that I can browse through, filter, delete what I don’t need and edit. Once I am done, I export to Pixelmator (not photo), Photoshop or Affinity for last touchups and things I can’t do in Lightroom. Lightroom also comes with the 1TB storage through the subscription which takes away my mental overhead from thinking how to back things up. It just syncs in the background and I can edit on my mac or iPad whenever I feel like it.

As for Halide… it’s certainly not bad, maybe one of the best advanced photo cameras on iPhone. If you are serious about it’s features and shooting RAW, I’d say get it. For me, I never really got into it and just snap normal pictures with my iPhone, and everything more serious with my bigger camera. I also own https://obscura.app which is fun to use. Usually go back and forth between it and Halide.
But in the end, the photo management of iOS is what I dislike the most about shooting RAW on iPhone

(But if apple would allow setting a different default camera, it would be halide for me)


Thanks for the feedback. I’m looking forward to checking out Pixelmator Photo. I also like that it is very reasonably priced.

Thanks for the feedback.

One thing that I’ve always thought I wanted was to be able to use the Apple Photos library instead of having a second library. But your point about that is helpful. And I also think that I’m going to walk and not run and simply start with cleaning up my photos first. Then playing with Pixelmator Photo. Maybe even research using the stock camera app better and then deciding later about using something like Halide.