iPhone and iPad

3 Unique iPhone Camera Apps That Are Worth Paying Extra For

James Bruce 23-03-2012

Until now, I’ve never really seen a reason to use anything other than the default camera app that comes with the iPhone. However, recently frustrated by the lack of a timer and wanting to use my iPad as a remote viewfinder, I went in search of some better premium options.


Bakari recently showed you an app called Camera Awesome Take More Awesome Photos With Camera Awesome [iPhone] Just when I think there's more than enough iPhone camera apps in the iTunes Store, I stumble upon yet another one that builds off previous camera apps and includes photography features not found in point-and-shoot... Read More , but I’m going to go two better than that – here are 3 unique camera apps that each add some different features I think you’ll love.

Remote Shutter ($1.99 iTunes)

If you’ve ever wanted to take a picture from your iPhone but use the iPad as a remote viewfinder, then this is exactly what you’re looking for. It works over Bluetooth between any recent iOS devices.

After unlocking the premium version (don’t worry about doing this on multiple devices – you’ll only be charged once assuming it’s under the same iTunes account), simply click on the Bluetooth symbol on both devices, and choose which one will act as the remote and which one as the camera. Obviously, a first generation iPad can’t act as the camera because it doesn’t have one.

The remote device will then be able to see what the camera on the other device is seeing – though grainy live preview transmitted over Bluetooth isn’t representative of the quality of the final saved image.

iphone camera app


In addition to the basic camera controls, timed and burst shot are also available; images are then saved onto both devices.

The are some Instagram-style filters available from the dial in the top right, but changing it is fiddly and the live preview doesn’t adjust.

Simply being able to use the iPad as a huge viewfinder is great though, and there are no alternatives available that works as reliably or with the addition of regular camera controls (Camera A and Camera B is a no-frills alternative).

Top Camera ($2.99 iTunes)

This is about as feature packed as you can get with a camera app, with a comprehensive photo editor and obligatory filters built-in too.


Ignoring the video functionality (it has zoom – anyone?), on the camera side of things it has a stabilizer, adjustable timer, is capable of good quality HDR, burst mode, and slow shutter (which I gather can be used to make incredible light-trail photographs).

iphone camera app

My top feature pick of Top Camera  – sound activated shutter. Set up your iPhone; then whistle, clap, or shout at it to take the picture. I suggest you use this only with timed mode though, or you’re going to end up with photo’s of you open-mouthed or clapping.

Frames ($2.99 iTunes)

Frames is a dead simple stop-motion animation app from the creators of the Glif, the most popular iPhone tripod mounting bracket.


Stop-motion 15 Of The Coolest Stop Motion Videos On YouTube Read More  – for those of you who don’t know – means combining thousands of individually snapped photographs to make a single animation. Typically it’s used to create claymation titles such as Wallace and Grommit, or internet Lego memes.

For me, the appeal of Frames specifically is in it’s sheer simplicity of use and option to do automated frame capture in the case of time lapse video – you needn’t sit there pressing the button each time. Set the timer, hit go, and gradually create your movie one frame every 5 seconds. The interface is incredibly responsive, and you needn’t finish your whole project in one sitting. Preview the project at any speed you like, and then export to the phones’ camera roll.

Here’s a demo video from Studio Neat themselves:

Frames UI Walkthrough from Studio Neat on Vimeo.


Personally, I think Frames would a great project for the kids – and don’t forget the other creative projects you can do on your Mac 4 Creative Projects To Do On Your Mac [OSX] With summer still way off and spring only just poking its head out, there's still time to get some creative juices flowing while stuck in front of your computer. If you still haven't done anything... Read More .

If the iPad is more your thing, consider iStopMotion instead ($4.99).


All three of these fantastic little apps now sit proudly in my new Photos app folder, and I can’t see myself using the default Camera for any purpose other than a flashlight to be honest. If you only want one camera app to rule them all, make it Top Camera. Remote Shutter is a certainly a niche app, but it does what it’s designed for and it does it better than any others. And Frames is fun for all ages!

What do you think of these iPhone camera apps? Is there a feature you’re missing on your mobile camera app? We’d love to hear from you in the comments – and please post a link if you upload any stop-motion masterpieces!

Related topics: Digital Camera, Photography, Smartphone Photography.

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  1. dorothy quinn
    May 29, 2016 at 2:42 am

    Is there a camera app that can open your eyes and the next time close your eyes?

  2. Rod
    April 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I've been searching for an app like Remote Shutter to make video music lessons for my students. It's important for me to see the video image as I move around a lot to show my instrument playing from slightly different angles, move in for closeup view, etc, so I need to see what the camera sees. I've been using the Facetime camera, but with the Remote Shutter app I can now use the HD camera on my iPhone 4S to make my vids. Thanks, James!

    • Rod
      April 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      James, do you know of an app that works like Remote Shutter, but will let me use my MacBook as the remote viewfinder?

      • muotechguy
        May 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm

        Afraid not. Theres one for certain DSLR cameras, but I haven't seen one for the iPhone/Mac. I suppose you could use the app that relays iPad screen to a Mac in a roundabout and totally inefficient kind of way...

  3. Mike Lawrence
    March 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I probably have more camera apps on my iPhone than any one person has a right to own. Do I use them? Some, yes... others, no... One of the main reasons that I don't use them is due to the fact that I don't know how, nor do I have the time to learn. That is an excuse, I know, but still... The reality is, that I am a sucker when it comes to camera apps. I'm always looking for one that is easy to use, or has all the bells and whistles that make using it fun. I may already have found that without knowing about it because I don't know how to use it. Having said all of this, I wil take a look at these three apps and see if they work for me. I downloaded iPhoto the other day, and I was wondering what you thought about it.