Published on May 18th, 2012 | by Matthew Murray15
Mobile photography with Camera+ app
As any visitor to my Instagam feed will know, Hipstamatic has been my app of choice for iPhoneography for sometime now. Although I still love it, over the last 2 months I have become a huge fan of Camera+.
During a recent trip to the UK via Dubai, I took over 1200 photos using the Camera+ app, way more images than any other app and even more than I took on my Fuji X100 digital camera. In this post I review the features of Camera+ and showcase some of the images I’ve taken with it.
Separate focus and exposure controls
One of the great features of Camera+ is that it has separate focus and exposure controls, unlike the native camera app on the iPhone where focus and exposure points are bundled together.
Tap two fingers simultaneously on the screen and both a focus point (square) and an exposure point (circle) appear. When you move the exposure point around the scene it lightens or darkens the exposure of the image depending on where the exposure point is placed (see below). When composing an image I put the focus point exactly where I want it and then experiment by moving the exposure point around the screen.
To take a photo you can either press the shutter button on the screen, use the volume buttons on the side of your iPhone, or for the ultimate in candid street photography, plug in some headphones with volume buttons and use it to trigger the shutter.
Tapping the cog symbol next to the shutter button brings up options for stablizer, timer and burst shooting modes – all of which come in handy. In the settings menu, you can turn on gridlines that are helpful when composing an image.
Also available on the shooting screen are the 6x digital zoom and the ability to use the front facing camera.
Camera+ also manages to better the native iPhone camera app when it comes to the flash options available. As well as the standard on / off / auto options, there is a torch mode – the iPhone LED acts like a torch on your subject and remains on until you click the shutter button, giving you an iPhone version of continuous lighting.
After using Hipstamastic, taking photos with Camera+ is fast and furious with barely any delay between taking a photo and Camera+ being ready to take the next. (Though now I have over 1400 photos in my Lightbox, things have slowed down a little, time to clear out some photos I think!)
All images taken with Camera+ are stored in a scrollable filmstrip called Lightbox. Images are saved here by default, though you can change this and save them to your camera roll, or if you don’t mind slightly slower shooting you can save to both your camera roll and lightbox.
As you scroll through your images in lightbox, you can tap on an image to edit it, share it, save it to your camera roll or view info about the image. I really like the info screen (below) – it gives a great overview of all technical details associated with the image, and even a map of where you took it if you have enabled geotagging in the menu.
Editing images with Camera+
Camera+ has some amazing editing features. As well as the usual rotate and crop, there are lots of different scene modes and borders you can apply to images.
It’s worth having a play around with all of the different scene modes, but the best of the bunch is clarity. On certain photos – especially those that have areas of underexposure – the clarity setting brings a fantastic improvement to the brightness and contrast of an image. I wouldn’t advise using it on all images though, sometimes it’s too over the top for me.
Camera+ features a good range of 27 built-in filters plus 9 more “I heart analog” filters which are an in-app purchase for 99 cents.
I quite like some of the filters, though after using Hipstamatic for so long, I’m rather enjoying seeing my images without a lofi or toy camera effect.
What I don’t like about Camera+
Slow retrieval of old photos
Okay, I admit it – this is an issue I have brought upon myself. I love Camera+ so much I’ve taken over 1400 photos with it. The downside of this is that scrolling through the lightbox to see older photos is now a nightmare. I scrolled to the bottom of lightbox and then waited for over 3 minutes until the photos loaded. It must be time to clear out and save photos off the app I think!
Copying / duplicating photos
Copying / duplicating a photo is something I am used to doing from working with Adobe Lightroom. When I held a photo and the copy command appeared, I tapped on it expecting to see a duplicate appear alongside as it does in Lightroom. When nothing happened, I actually thought it was a bug and the copy command didn’t work, until I realised you had to tap somewhere else on the screen and tap ‘paste’ when it was displayed.
Although iPhone users are used to this functionality for text, I don’t think it is very intuitive when working with images. Especially as no matter where you paste your image in lightbox, the duplicate image automatically ends up as your most recent photo at the top and not next to the original image where I would’ve expected it.
After editing a photo once I accidentally hit the delete button. The photo I had been working on disappeared off the screen instantly. I was panic stricken, thinking that my image was now gone forever! The next image in the lightbox appeared on screen and there was no undo button. I went back to the filmstrip view of the lightbox and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the undo button.
Camera+ is a fantastic app, I love it so much it has won a place on the home screen of my iPhone. I took more photos with it on holiday than any other app and even more than my Fuji X100 digital camera. There are a few minor issues that could be improved, but otherwise this is an app I would recommend to all iPhoneographers.
You can see more of my Camera+ photos on EyeEm – search for user mattbrisvegas.