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    February 17, 2011

    Top 5 Camera and Imaging Apps for iPhone

    So the latest iPhone does have a pretty remarkable camera with great detail, and also brilliant low light performance. But sometimes all that image accuracy does not quite translate into pictures with the right “feel”. Yes, you have much more control over the images by just uploading them to your PC and editing them from there, but where is the fun in that? These apps allow you to be creative with your images, and instantly share the pictures right from your phone. After all, isnt that what a smartphone is all about?

    So here is BB’s list of the best camera apps you can find on iPhone right now:

    Instagram: (Free)

    Instagram follows pretty much the same idea as Hipstamatic (see below), its only free. However, the service is reliant on you signing up for the Instagr.am service which is not as bad as it sounds. The Instagram app comes with numerous filters which also give the same “analog” feel as Hipstamatic, only you do not pay extra for additional filters. The instagr.am web integration is actually the better part – once you sign up it checks for friends (from facebook or twitter) to see who also has instagram installed on their phones. It then creates a very cool timeline of images taken by your friends. Still one of my favourite iPhone apps.

    Colorsplash: ($1)

    The concept behind this app is simple – you take a colour photo, it creates a grayscale image, then you simply touch the portions of the image you want to return to colour. The effect is actually pretty great – you can accentuate certain portions of a image, which you can send off, or if you have additional image editors on your phone, edit it further.

    Path: (Free)

    Path follows a similiar idea to Instagr.am in that you and your friends share moments from your life with each other. Whereas an app like Facebook just allows random photo uploads, Path encourages you to tag your photos with captions, emotions, locations and other people. The interface is stunning – in fact many apps can take a few pointers from Path. You are limited to sharing with only 50 friends, making it much more personal than using something like Facebook (hands up the people who have friends on Facebook they hardly know…). Like Wired Magazine put it: “…posting on Path is not an act of broadcasting or self-promotion, but sharing a moment with someone who really knows you.”  The only issue I have with Path is that at the moment it does not look as popular as Instagr.am, so not many of my friends were using the app already.  If you want a better idea, I recommend you look at the video below.

    360 Panorama: ($2)

    Click the next image to enlarge:

    This is one of my favourites as well. While I do not use it all the time, sometimes a certain scene simply cannot be captured with a standard photo. Using the iPhone 4’s gyro meter, Pano 360 senses your phone’s position is 3 dimensions, enabling you to stitch together images which creates large panoramic scenes. The images can then be sent in an email, or can be reopened by the app, and you can still move the phone around to get a sense of direction. While great for landscapes, it is particularly handy for anything you need to get a sense of 3D space as well – for example, property surveying. Well worth the cost.

    Adobe Photoshop Express: (Free)

    First off – do not let the name fool you. This is not the Photoshop you have on your PC, with its almost limitless array of intimidating functions. The app is actually super simple to use – simply snap a few images, or select an image from your Library. The interface is very intuitive – you simply select icons from the screen which give you Crop, Straighten, Rotate, Flip, Exposure, Saturation, Tint, B&W, Contrast, Sketch, Soft Focus, Sharpen, Effects (of which there are many) and different borders. Most of those options have gradial control – you simply shift your finger left and right on the screen to select how much effect on the photo you need. While this Top 5 list is primarily for the iPhone Adobe Photoshop Express is a universal app that is even better on the iPad. All that screen real estate does make for some great image editing. I highly recommend this app – in fact, its free, so its a must have…

    Honourable Mention:

    Hipstamatic: ($2)

    Hipstamatic tries to mimic old toy cameras, and the “analog” feel of the photos do really make them look great. You can easily switch between lenses, films and flashes -which all modify the images. The app comes with quite a few of these, but the user can purchase additional “hipstapacks” – which typically includes a themed pack of a lens, film and flash. I like using this app, but the need to purchase additional effects does bother me a bit. I see the use of in-app purchases with free apps, but dont make me spend additional money on an app I already purchased…


    Related: If you want to be able download Apps, Music, Movies, TV Series etc from the US iTunes store, even if you live in SA, here is how to do it.

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    • Anonymous

      Good article. Path and 360 are apps that I use quite often.

      I have to disagree with you about Colorsplash. As a visual artist, this effect produces exactly the type of images that makes me want to lose my lunch. But if that’s what you’re into, maybe you should follow this article up with a “Top 5 scrapbooking apps” article.

      • Hehe – thanks. That is of course your opinion. I am by no means a “creative” like you… I enjoy colorsplash because its easy to use and does make some cool images, provided you use it properly…

        • Anonymous

          But how awesome is 360 View? I love using that app. I have 2 gripes about it though. Sometimes I want to capture a vertical panorama, but there is no room to be able to do so. Second is that the image can distort if I’m not on completely level ground, making my photo look like I took it on a boat – all crests and troughs.

    • Erich Lutz

      Instead of 360 i use Photosynth.  Better control…  Who says MS can’t…