The Latest In Smart Phone Photography Apps

Posted by David Ozanich — 2 May 2011


Cell phones are the most popular cameras on the planet. While they're not the best cameras, they are the ones we most often have with us. With that in mind, technology critic David Pogue, who writes for the New York Times, has given some thought to the best apps for your smartphone camera. And I don't think I read the word "hipstamatic" once. Of the estimated 6,500 available apps in the iTunes store for a couple of bucks (or free), Pogue suggests:

The iPhone's camera-taking app is fine. But it's slow to start up, slow to save a photo, slow to focus. Turning the flash on or off is clumsy, requiring two taps on transparent, hard-to-read buttons.

If you replace it with an app like QuickPix ($2), all of those problems go away. The app opens much faster than Apple's, takes photos much faster and can even snap stills while you're shooting video. The flash is a single icon that you tap on or off. Put this on your home screen where Apple's Camera app sits, drag Camera into a folder somewhere, and you'll miss a lot fewer shots.

People also rave about Camera+ ($2) -- not because it's faster, but because it does so much more. The Stabilization feature, for example, ends blurry shots, because it doesn't fire the shutter until the phone's motion sensor detects that you're holding it still for a split second. There's a self-timer and two-a-second burst mode. It features a 6X digital zoom and allows users to set independent focus and exposure points by tapping the screen. You can crop, rotate or sharpen a photo, add a border and apply effects to it (black-and-white, sepia, and so on) -- and unlike most of the effects apps, this one lets you control the effect intensity.

When you're finished toying, you can send your masterpiece directly to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or e-mail. Pro Camera ($2) a similar, more crisply designed, more sprawling app, adds things like independent focus and exposure points (tap the screen), full color-correction tools and a 6X digital zoom that works surprisingly well. The high-end crowd swears by it.

He goes on to recommend the best filter apps along with special photography apps that are designed for time-lapse, tilt-shift and panorama effects. Check it out if, like me, your iPhone is your constant companion.

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