Alternatives To Apple's Camera app: Camera+ vs Procamera vs Camera Awesome
* Warning: Too emotional expressions are included. There is “X” in the upper right corner, just in case.
“The better is the enemy of the good.”
You see 3 pics shot with iPhone. One is made by means of the standard Apple’s Camera application. The other two are taken with the help of the nifty third-party apps.
No difference, eh? So true. So what are those apps for? The basic Apple’s Camera has always been enough for me, an experienced owner of an iPhone within 4 years, in order to shoot everyday life.
Let's take a closer look.
First and foremost, few good words about the basic Camera app.
Like everything else released under the Apple’s title, this software has a completely simple, easy-to-understand interface.
You know what I do if I can't figure out how to use an app’s interface after a few minutes of useless clicking? Dripping with sweat and with shaky hands I close an app. Do you seriously expect me to sit down and RTFM? Screw this!
The Camera is a different story. You see all controls at once: the flash, the camera’s shift, the photo/video switch, what options to choose to focus and to shoot. Look up cornerwise, press few buttons and voila! - the tool is studied, understood, and doesn’t seem foreign any more.
So, why to look for the Camera’s alternatives? Well, the truth is that the basic Camera is a piece of crap:
- the shooting mode settings are not included. For example, the timer is absent. Even my microwave oven has one, and it costs much cheaper than 600 bucks I paid for an iPhone.
- the 1-second delay and the image fixation after shooting vex me a lot, especially when I need to take several pics running;
- there are only few editing options;
- the gallery’s functional is very limited.
That’s why I chose 3 third-party apps in a fishbowl:
- Camera Awesome
Interface & Shooting
Let's start with the bad news: this program can’t (more likely doesn’t want) shoot video. That is to say it can’t replace the standard Camera app entirely, and once in a while an iPhone user will have to appeal the basic program. And this sucks.
I would give to the main window’s interface a B+. A minimal number of buttons, it is easy to understand the function of every button and it is convenient to use all of them.
Yep. Here comes the first course – you can set up the shooting mode:
Timer - is used for shooting your good self with your beloved ones;
Burst Burst – is used for the automatic quick succession photos, unfortunately, with a bit of a quality loss;
and Stabilizer, – that is a hellishly powerful option helpful for shooting in motion. It waits for the moment when you stop shaking a phone, then takes a photo.
Not exactly a routine arsenal of camera app’s features, but definitely useful and helpful.
Also, there is a plus – the absence of the after-shot delay. However, the other 2 candidates have this advantage as well.
The main zest, according to the developers, is the ability to control not just focus but exposure as well. This is done by tap-and-dragging upon the viewfinder. To put it simply, you can adjust the shot's brightness (make it lighter/darker) by playing with this dial.
The Camera+ interface didn’t scare me with some unexplained shit difficult to figure out, thanks very much therefore.
Some doubtful features are still present, though:
1. The grid in the viewfinder and zoom are turned on by default. It seems, this was done on purpose to make the app look more professional. Well, I am glad these features can be turned off in the settings.
2. A dumbfuck sort-of graphics. The pathetic bold italic on its own can be tolerated, but the print itself has really pissed me off. Why on Earth the letter Z in “Stabilizer” is made in such manner that you need to look at it twice before reading it?
And there are other few irritating in the same way trifles.
But all that was about the main window. And after shooting the photos are saved to the Lightbox.
Lightbox is something like a temporary archive where you can mange and edit photos for the further saving of them to the major photo albums of your iPhone or to social networking sites. A pretty smart solution!
This interface is worse than the main window’s interface:
The urge for the ideal resemblance to real life objects frequently turns out to be a mess. As a result, slanting film’s negatives look as idiotic as a house in the shape of a teapot. If you are an app’s designer and reading this: don't do anything like that, ever.
The purposes of certain buttons become clear only after thoughtful clicking for a while. In whole, it is easy use it and you quickly get used to it.
Now let's talk about the main reason why all of us gathered here - explaining “plus” in the title of the app.
These are post-shooting editing options. There are a lot of them here you can use:
1. To rotate and flip photos in every possible way.
2. To frame photos in a shitload of different frames.
3. To crop images creatively and non-creatively.
4. To apply the basic filters in terms of more than 10 (“Flash”, “Concert”, “Beach”, etc.).
5. To apply few dozens of various FX effects plus a plenty of paid ones helping to simulate the resemblance of iPhone photos to analog shots.
Below is an example of the “Beach” effect at work.
Thinking whether you need Camera+?
If you are really into photo editing, and prefer to make photo looking less natural but instead more creative and aesthetically attractive, then this app is an excellent choice. There is a bunch of high-impact filters and effects - all available for $1.
If you simply like to snap some events of your life, giving more attention to WHAT in photos than HOW they look, then there is no need to spend this $1... although it's just $1 :)
P.S. BTW, the person responsible for these included FX effects is this pretty lady Lisa Bettany.
You can't tell what or who she is trying to photograph through that stale fence, but who actually pays attention to this, right?
Interface & Shooting
To my humble opinion, this interface is significantly worse than Camera+ interface, but not so bad to figure out how it works.
Look at this:
It is 2012 , WTF?
Let’s see now, what features it can offer:
1. The same options that the basic Camera app has.
2. The ability to switch between shooting modes: video, photo, qr-code.
3. The same shooting settings as in Camera+ (a timer, a stabilizer, the exposure control) and few new and mysterious ones.
Some necessary controls are stuffed in an asshole. You must fuck the app at least thrice to turn on the serial shooting mode. Eventually you will manage to do this but you will forget already why you needed it at the first time. Instead a user can in few clicks reach two types of grids and few other non-important features that a human may need only for once. For example, a compass.
However, there are two functional advantages over Camera+ in terms of shooting modes: the video mode and the qr-code.
Alright then. It is a kind of passable. But further…
Here comes the story of ProCamera’s epic fail.
The program has no its own buffer memory for storing photos. The app is basically just an interface with the access to iPhone’s standard Photo Gallery with few extra photo editing functions.
Oops. Epic fail. Fuck it is even impossible to delete a photo from the gallery. Impossible. To delete. A photo.
After getting a closer look a user has every right to delete this app once and for all, priory rating it with -13984 stars. But wait, we will dance on its grave a little bit more.
In general, the interface is inconvenient, hard to understand and ugly.
Perhaps, someone will enjoy the idea the app allows to set up such controls as brightness, contrast, temperature, saturation, etc.
As for the rest, there is no significant difference in functionality if to compare it with Camera+.
The same cropping, rotation, flipping and graphic effects (the sets are a bit different, though). But the realization here is much-much worse.
For whom can ProCamera be useful?
Nobody needs a shit like that.
Interface & Shooting
Now this is awesome! This main window’s interface is the best of all three. Stylish, convenient and functional. There are not many buttons but each icon is created with love and sings loudly about its purpose. Besides, its interface resembles the Apple Camera’s interface more than other camera apps’ interfaces do and this makes studying the app even easier.
The most useful settings can be reached from one place: the stabilizer, the timer, the rapid shooting modes and some other know-how features:
1) The BIG button, which lets you take a shot simply by tapping the screen. Convenient for simple photo shooting in difficult conditions.
2) Interval shooting. This is a type of a timer able to shoot every n seconds. Can be useful when you need to switch relatives few times during a big family photo session.
In addition, there is a top drop-down menu that allows controlling the composition of each shot, sending the photo at once to social networking sites, and, for some reason or other, applying FX effects (maybe to send already pimped up photo to Twitter). In my opinion, it is a bit too much but, nevertheless, it is not in the way. And someone may find it useful.
The good news – there is a buffer memory option, a sort of a temporary gallery.
Everything is done awesome: the well-thought gallery functional and easy-to-understand icons.
The features are generally the same: an ability to publish photos in the Internet and online service, import/export from/to the main Photo Gallery and post-shooting editing.
It is possible to edit photos this way and every way (though, without significant differences from other apps in the list):
1. Enhance the image trusting the automatic tool’s “Awesomize” setting.
2. Set up sharpness, resonance, temperature and contrast controls.
3. Cut, crop and flip.
4. Use FX effects and filters selected by a good photographer (this time, a male one). This time the majority of them are paid ones.
5. Add a frame. There are free frames plus plenty of paid ones.
So what? Is this the fuck-them-all app?
For me, yes. I see no sense in using the standard Camera app when there is such free, nice, nifty and eye-catching app as Camera Awesome. If you see sense – please, feel free to share in comments.
I am not a hard-to-please user in terms of creative characteristics of a photo, for me it is more important to use the variety of shooting modes that is why I currently use Camera Awesome.
For someone who prefers to use various effects and filters, Сamera+ might look more interesting due to a significantly huger set of immediately available tools. And only for them you pay.
BTW, I think Camera+ is quicker than others. But only a bit quicker.
ProCamera is a half burp. Do not buy it.
See y'all, my dear lazybones (because if you are reading this fucking review, you must have a lot of free time).
Apple strikes back. iOS 5.1 allows you reaching the camera with a nice gesture straight from the lock screen. Well... who is going to use these nifty apps now?