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The App Store is saturated with camera apps, so why would you need another one? Despite the many, many photo and filter apps out there, Camera Plus (currently discounted at $0.99) still manages to bring a few fresh features to the table. A long-standing App Store favourite, the app now looks slicker than ever after an update to version 3.0 which melds beautifully with iOS 7’s svelte aesthetic.
In the same way a photographer can never have too many cameras, a smartphone photographer can never have too many apps – right? Let’s find out.
We’re also giving away 10 copies of Camera Plus! Read through our review, then join the competition!
Power to the iPhoneographer
If there’s one thing a surplus of photography apps has created, it’s the need to be different. With so many apps out there, Apple’s surprisingly powerful camera API and the popularity of the iPhone as a shoot and share device, there are a huge number of developers out there trying to be different. Sometimes this leads to innovation, and often it leads to imitation.
Camera Plus 3.0 does indeed try to be different, and some of those differences take the form of genuinely useful features – the most notable of which is the way in which you focus your shots. In addition to the usual touch-to-focus mechanisms seen in the stock camera app, Camera Plus allows you to touch and drag your finger to select one of three focus modes: macro, normal and far.
This essentially locks the plane of focus, forcing the app to focus on either a close-up (macro) object, a standard roughly portrait (normal) subject and distant objects (far). While it seems like a bit of a gimmick, it reduces the requirement to be quite so accurate with your taps, something a number of competing apps struggle with. My main criticism of the feature is when I forget it exists or I’ve left macro on and nothing will focus, but you do get used to it.
Predictably, touch-to-focus also acts as touch-to-expose. The area you choose will prompt the app to compensate for proper exposure wherever you touch, and unlike other apps like taptaptap’s (very similarly named) Camera+, you can’t use multitouch to set focus and exposure separately.
Instead, Camera Plus uses a sliding dial labelled Lumy which is presumably short for luminosity. It allows you to alter the exposure value to let in more or less light, allowing you to fine-tune a shot even after you’ve told the app where to focus and expose for. Whether or not it makes up for the lack of separate exposure controls will be down to personal opinion and it’s a nice idea for sure, though things tend to get a bit murky and flat at the low end.
Photo Tools & Video Mode
Camera Plus does of course come with the usual array of bells and whistles most have come to expect from iOS photography apps. Flash options include a burst mode which fires the flash continually, ideal for close-up macro shots where over-exposure is a problem and there are grid lines and a level for gauging how straight your shot is. Rather frustratingly, it’s not possible to use both the grid and level at the same time in this current version.
Next to the inviting white trigger button is a smaller settings button, which reveals a couple of extra tools for taking better-than-average photos. Big Button turns the whole screen into a shutter. Stabilize uses the old trick of waiting till your phone is still to take the shot, while burst and timer modes are fairly self-explanatory but not taken for granted.
It is here where you can also choose whether or not to geotag your photos (by default this setting is off, so remember to enable it if you want it), choose between three sizes and enable Volume Snap which lets you take pictures using the volume controls. It’s possible to switch between front and rear-facing cameras, and all of these controls (aside from the flash) are accessible in either.
Unlike many camera apps Camera Plus lets you shoot video too, in your choice of full-HD and 480p resolutions. If you opt to shoot in 480p, you’ll be able to use Lumy to modify exposure (or brightness, depending on what’s really going on there) while you shoot.
Like most iPhone camera apps, there are a couple of useful editing features to be found here too. Camera Plus actually saves all images to the Camera Roll directly, rather than using a lightbox (or even the option of one). Tapping on the thumbnail of your last shot image takes you to this list of memories, and allows you to apply an auto-enhance algorithm via the Pix’d button quickly.
If you prefer to do it manually, you can hit Edit to reveal Tweak, Crop and Rotate options. Tweaks include the usual brightness, contrast and saturation controls as well as an option for altering the temperature of the image. Once done, it’s possible to share your photo to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram as well as via email or message.
One additional feature is Locked Roll, accessible by swiping right-to-left on your list of Camera Roll shots. This isn’t included with Camera Plus, and instead requires an in-app purchase of $0.99. The Locked Roll allows you to take private moments and hide them in the app by tapping and holding an image before choosing Lock.
The Bottom Line
Camera Plus is a capable camera app that’s packed with the usual array of features we’ve come to expect from phones that do everything. The ability to restrict focus is handy, and Lumy does make it easy to fine-tune your shots. The included editing features are basic but always welcome, and it’s nice to be able to quickly switch to video with a tap, rather than switching apps like so many other iPhone cameras.
I’m really not sure whether it’s going to replace my go-to camera app, but it definitely introduces some improvements over the stock Apple offering.
Buy it now for just $0.99 at a 50% discount for a limited time only.
How do I win a copy of Camera Plus?
You may enter by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.
After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning! You will receive 5 additional entries into the giveaway for every successful referral via your shared links.
This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, November 22. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.
Submit your apps and software to be reviewed. Contact Jackson Chung for further details.