Camera+ Review [iOS]

In 2011, TIME Magazine described Camera+ like so:

“If the iPhone’s standard camera is like a digital point-and-shoot, the Camera+ app is like a high-quality SLR lens.”

Which is probably the most apt description I’ve ever read about Camera+ for iPhone!

Camera+ then went on to be included in TIME’s ‘50 best iPhone apps of 2011,’ and when you consider that there were in excess of 500,000 apps available in the iTunes library at that time, that’s an achievement of epic proportions!

And when you use the app, it’s not surprising why it was included in TIME’s list, or was the recipient of ‘Best Visual Design, Best Photography App’ at the Best App Ever Awards, or the winner of countless other such coveted awards, ever since version 1.0 was released. Because Camera+ is the absolute king of iPhone camera apps, bar none!

Camera+ just came out with an all-new much improved version 3.0 recently, which we’ll be looking at today.

The app takes the picture-snapping experience on the iPhone to a completely different level, by giving the user a lot of control over each and every aspect of picture taking. Camera+ includes basic stuff such different shoot modes, the ability to change picture quality, and other options which frankly, should’ve been a part of the iPhone’s camera to begin with (take note Apple!). And then, the app takes it one step further by including a complete image-editing and manipulation suite as well. Making point-and-click shooting and editing a snap (pun intended)!

Once Camera+ launches and you allow it permission to access your location (so it can geo-tag your photos as soon as you take them), you are taken to what will instantly look like a buffed up version of the standard iPhone camera app. The layout is almost the same, with a few additions. For instance there’s a 3×3 grid on the Camera+ screen at all times, something that I personally feel is extremely important in order to ensure you get your photo’s frame right (can be turned off from the settings). And there’s more, like tapping the flash-icon at the top will reveal the standard, off/auto/on icons as well as a flashlight icon which turns the flashlight on permanently. Something that also missing in the standard app but included in Camera+ is a zoom-t-slide bar. While iOS5 improves the standard camera app 10 folds by adding a pinch-to-zoom to it (something which should’ve been there since the beginning), the slider bar offered by Camera+ is also very convenient, and can go up to 6.0x zoom (six times zoom).

Right away you’ll notice that you can either let Camera+ set the focus and exposure on auto, or both yourself, independently, using touch focus and exposure (focus can only be set manually when using the back-camera on the iPhone 4 since the front camera is not focus-enabled, but you still can set the exposure here). Simply tap the screen with two fingers, and slide around the two boxes to wherever you’d want to focus and exposure of your image to be (square box for focus, round one for exposure).

Another big improvement that Camera+ offers over the stock app, is multiple shooting modes: you have your normal mode, a stabilizer mode, timer mode and a burst mode.

The Camera+ Stabilizer mode makes sure your pictures never come out blurry and you always end up with the sharpest-looking pics! Press the shoot button and the app waits until your hand or whatever you’re using to snap is completely stable before taking the picture. It even shows you the level of instability using a combination of sounds and colors (red – very unstable, green – good to go).

The timer and burst modes are self-explanatory. The timer mode comes with a 5-second timer and tapping the ‘5’ displayed on the screen allows you to toggle this time between 5, 15 and 30 seconds. Burst mode in Camera+ allows you to take as many pictures as you want by tapping the snap button repeatedly and in quick succession.

The Camera+ settings let you choose to turn the likes of geotagging and zoom-in/out on or off, change the quality of photos (optimized for smaller sized photos, full for hi-res), and where to save your photos. By default, Camera+ saves all photos that you take using the app in its own Camera-Roll substitute called ‘Lightbox’. And this is where you can add post-processing effects to your photos or share them online (more on that in a bit). You can also add the already-present images from your phone into Camera+ Lightbox for editing purposes.

Simply tap a photo and choose edit. There are plenty of effects to choose from here. Scene effects such as Clarity, Flash, Backlit, Darken, Night, Portrait and a lot more allow you to touch-up your photos on a single-tap. Adjust has your usual rotation and flip options, Crops is self-explanatory and you can either freeform crop your photos, or crop them according to preset aspect ratios.

Then there’s the FX effects to choose from in Camera+. Stuff like changing the color (includes 9 cool color types), adding retro effects (once again, 9 effects), special effects, and an ‘I Love Analog’ effects tab which is actually an in-app purchase.

Lastly, there are 2 different sets of borders to choose from – simple and styled, each containing 9 border styles.

Once you’re done with the editing, you can quickly upload photos to your social networks, email them, send via MMS or even create a weblink of the photo (for this, Camera+ uploads the photo to its own host in the blink of an eye and gives you a short link on the screen). In addition, you can also save the photo (to the Lightbox or the Camera Roll, your call) and view information about the photo from here.

All things considered, Camera+ is probably the most powerful Camera-cum-editing app on the Apple App Store right now. And the cost of all this goodness is just $0.99!

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