One of the reasons I use my iPhone camera more than my more expensive Canon DSLR is because of the wide range of possibilities and features that third-party apps provide. Camera apps like Camera Awesome
and ProCamera address many of the limitations of the default iPhone camera app without a huge learning curve.
But when it comes to high speed photography, iPhone camera apps typically allow you to snap a single photo at a time. Apps like SuperFast Camera and FastCamera, which can fire off up to 800 pictures per minute, can capture action shots that most point-and-shoot cameras can’t handle. Though these two apps are fast enough for any iPhone camera hobbyist, the recently released SnappyCam ($0.99) is even faster, at an amazing 60 photos per second at its lowest resolution.
Getting the Perfect Shot
In most cases, you won’t need to shoot 60 photos per second to get a good shot, but just imagine if you use SnappyCam to take a simple group photo, and it fires off just 20 photos per second. In that collection of shots, you will probably find at least one photo in which everyone’s eyes are open at the same time.
At 20 photos per second, you’ll definitely be able to take awesome shots of children playing or hitting a ball without the subjects being totally blurred. With a high speed shutter, you can get at least three or four good shots of someone blowing out birthday candles.
The SnappyCam website includes a variety of examples of just what its fast shooting app can do. And it’s only when you download and use the app that you’ll scratch your head in wonder after seeing its unbelievable speed.
You should be aware that no iPhone camera app enables you to adjust the aperture wide enough to get well-lit shots at high shutter speeds. The best way to capture fast moving shots is to shoot in well lit situations. The worse the lighting conditions, the more blurry your shots will appear. SnappyCam can fire the flash which may be useful in low light settings, but it’s limited in its application.
Other Camera Controls
John Papandriopoulos, the developer of SnappyCam, didn’t just stop at creating a high speed camera, he also found a way to include other controls useful for shooting good photos. Most of the features you will need to access are displayed on the home screen itself, so you don’t have to tap to a second page to fiddle with buttons.
Much like the default iPhone camera, tap on the viewfinder to manually focus a shot, or double-tap to have it auto-focus. On the left side of the screen are three controls for enabling the flash, displaying the composition guide, and turning on the front-facing camera.
The right side of the display includes a digital zoom button, for up to 6x magnification. Understand, however, that digital zoom is sort of a misnomer. This feature does not really zoom in on a subject; instead, it enlarges a section of the subject in the frame, like a magnifying glass. Tim Brookes’s article explains more about zoom and lens tips for your smartphone.
I strongly suggest when using SnappyCam that you zoom in with your feet, and get as close to the subject as possible, rather than relying on dismal digital zoom.
Finally, to fire off multiple high-speed shots, simply press and hold on the center shutter button. You should, of course, hold your iPhone as steady as possible and incorporate some of our other smartphone camera tips for taking great shots. When possible, you should also mount your iPhone on a tripod to get steady and sharper photos.
More Controls and Features
When you tap on the button on the right side of the shutter, you are given access to another set of controls. You can adjust the camera lens and speed of the shots, but you’re probably better off keeping the settings where they are for normal shooting situations.
The higher the burst of shots, the lower the quality of photos you will get. SnappyCam is capable of taking up 3600 photos per minute on iPhone 4S and iOS 5, and up to 1800 photos/minute on all other devices. SnappyCam also allows you to shoot time-lapse photos at a lowest speed of 1 photo/hour.
There are other controls for setting the aspect ration of photos, turning off the sound effect that SnappyCam makes when the app launches, and selecting from one of eight composition grids. If, for example, you shoot a lot of Instagram photos, you might switch to the square 1:1 aspect ratio.
Though SnappyCam can fire up to 60 shots/second, thankfully all the photos are not saved to your iPhone Camera Roll, as it would be very tedious to have to delete them. Instead, SnappyCam saves photos to its own camera roll, and you can browse, delete, and share photos from there. You get the option for deleting one photo at a time, or the nice red All of it button that trashes an entire sequence of shots.
There’s even a button for deleting all shots in the sequence except for your best selected shot. You can also export shots to your Camera Roll, Email, or Instagram.
SnappyCam can’t replace a full fledged pro DSLR camera, and it doesn’t include post production features for editing exposures or adding fancy, retro filters. There are plenty of apps that do that already. SnappyCam may well be the fastest smartphone camera app on the planet, and for the price tag of .99 cents, that’s a lot of advanced technology.
Download: SnappyCamw ($1.99)
Let us know what you think of SnappyCam. What other features you would like to see added? Are there any other similar apps you recommend?
Image credit: Placeit.Breezi.com