More Apps for iPhone Cameras

By Graham K. Rogers


Yes We Camera Although I carry an SLR camera about with me, I find that increasingly I use the iPhone 3G to take pictures, partly because there are now so many apps, allowing special effects to be used easily. I reviewed several last August in Post Database and several more in my Bangkok Diary blog. Recently there was a surge of photo apps.

A neat little download was Tripod [App Store link], which really addresses the problem of iPhone camera shake. It is already part of Camera Genius [App Store link] ($1.99), from CodeGoo which has several other features like zoom, sound capture and a timer. Tripod is now released as a free, standalone. As part of the installation there is a useful manual with hints on taking pictures.

Photo Timer [App Store link], another part of Camera Genius, is also available as a free download: the App Store has several of these component parts available. In their free format, they are used alone. Camera Genius allows combinations, such as Zoom, Timer and Sounds.

I closely followed the US election at the end of 2008 and one of the iconic images was the "Hope" poster in grainy red, blue and cream. They have an app for that. Nevercenter, whose excellent app, Camerabag [App Store link] I have been using since it appeared, now have a free app called, "Yes We Camera" [App Store link]. Like many photo apps, we can use an image already saved or take a new one via the app.

Yes We Can If the camera is in landscape mode, the image is suitably cropped. We can email an image directly or save it to the camera roll for import to the computer when connected.

[Note: when I wrote the Post article, I looked at the icon on the iPhone and as not all characters are shown, I misread the name as Yes We Can.]

When looking at panorama software last November, I tried Autostitch ($1.99) [App Store link] for the iPhone which loaded images already taken. I now have Pano ($1.99 [now $2.99]) [App Store link], which has a different approach and walks one through the process of taking photos and aligning on the fly. It does this by displaying a semi-transparent sliver of the previous capture to allow images to be matched. In my early attempts the stitched image had sections leaning in different ways, but with some practice the results soon improve. Panoramas may be taken in portrait or landscape mode.

If part of an image is out of focus, a small area in sharp focus will stand out and have more effect. TiltShift [App Store link] is an app that applies this effect to photos. It opens displaying a picture from several pre-installed images. In each is a red oval which can be stretched, turned and moved. It is this that is used to select size and shape of the section in focus. The oval can also be changed to a solid area with graded edges or to a rectangle (lines or solid).

TiltShift TiltShift TiltShift TiltShift

We can use the camera, in which case pictures can be moved and scaled, or select from images in the library. A slider bar at the bottom of the screen determines the amount of blur in the rest of the image, ranging from totally in focus (left side) to seriously blurred on the right.

Photo Philter [App Store link] from Laan Labs is a free app that uses the camera or the library and allows the use of 10 filters: singly or combined. Preview must be used before effects are applied and the image can be saved and exported in a number of ways. There are three size settings and images are saved to the camera roll or sent directly to FaceBook or Twitter.

Laan Labs also have iTimeLapse Pro ($2.99) [App Store link] a promising app which creates time-lapse files in .MOV format. The array of settings is large including time between shots (from 1 second to a 23 hours, 58 mins, 59 secs), plus Manual, and a Sound setting; when to start and when to stop; and resolution. Once set, a Start Time Lapse button is pressed. A problem is finding somewhere to rest the iPhone (I used a bowl of oranges).

Time Lapse Time Lapse

However, a more serious problem that must be ironed out, and soon, concerns export. There are several options (YouTube, FaceBook, Vimeo) plus the camera roll and email. However, while the video works on the iPhone, once on the Mac examples were unwatchable. This was the same in another Laan Labs product, iVideoCamera ($0.99). I was told that the problem was due to certain computer graphic cards being unable to play the video as it is set to an odd timebase. Other video apps for the 3G iPhone (Camcorder and iVidCam) do not exhibit this trait. One hopes that this will soon be rectified. [Note: iVideoCamera was indeed updated and the video problem has now been fixed. I hope (13 Jan) that TimeLapse will soon follow.]

Aisu Sepia [App Store link] is a free app from Sticky Ice that changes any image to sepia. With the iPod touch or iPhone we can use the camera roll; but only with the iPhone can we use the camera. This will save the sepia image first, but there is an undo icon, so the original can also be saved.

Retro Retro

On the theme of older style images, I also found Retro Camera Free [App Store link]. This has a wide array of effects that can be applied to images (from camera or library), but in its free version all saved images have a large watermark at the bottom. There is also a version for $1.99 that does not have the watermark on images. Access to each feature brings up a Javascript help screen, but the developers CLBITZ need some help with the English, which also has a retro feel.

Splash Splash

Splash Color [App Store link] (free) edits images already in the library, so originals are retained. A selected photo appears onscreen in greyscale and by use of a brush, the colour is restored leaving specific areas in the picture coloured. I found it easy to go outside the area I wanted, even with the ability to adjust brush size, but there is an undo feature. Images are saved to the camera roll for later use.

CAMERAsan [App Store link] is a free app that takes a picture and then applies one of 9 colour filters. Like other apps this does not save any original image. Its subtitle on the opening panel is Toy Camera, but the filters do allow some interesting effects.

Toy Camera Toy Camera

One wonders how some of these would work were they to be scaled up. . . .



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