Next to its lack of true cut and paste, the iPhone’s camera is probably its most coulda-shoulda-woulda feature that third-party app developers are addressing. We’ve already looked at software solutions like Flickr’s iPhone front end, CameraBag, and ClearCam, as well as hardware solutions such as add-on lenses and external flashes. Let’s browse through the App Store and see what else in on the shelves, shall we?
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Picture Safe goes beyond simple image viewing and categorization — it allows you to password protect those NSFW images you don’t want your parents, boss, or significant other to stumble upon. (Not to mention more benign, society-approved uses — y’know, like preventing important images from being accidentally deleted or lost.) Some of Picture Safe’s features include a quick double-tap to hide a potentially offending image and a three-strikes-and-you’re-out password system that then completely hides even the suggestion that there are any less-than-kosher images on your handset. (Now on sale for US$1.99)
If you’ve ever utilized Photoshop for what it was “designed” to do (i.e. put someone’s face/head on a TOTALLY inappropriate body!), you’ll appreciate what 2Pixel’s Oldbooth does: it drops the photographed face of your choice into an old-fashioned portrait. How would YOU look with a 40’s hairdo? Or in a 70’s suit and tie? This is where you can find out. The “lite” version (with a handful of portrait masks) is free, but for a limited time get the full-blown app with dozens of masks for only US$0.99!
The above motion-blur effect is only one of thirty-two filters packed into Photonasis — and when you realize that the other thirty-one range from grey-scale to oil painting to both color AND black and white cartoon effects, you start to respect developer Mohamed Moshrif’s boast “This is the best image processing package on the app store ever.” Available in an ad-supported free version — but like Oldbooth, the full app’s only US$0.99, so go for the gusto!
Like the aforementioned ClearCam, Stepcase’s Darkroom (formerly SteadyCam) uses your iPhone’s accelerometer to actually snap the picture when your hand — and hence, the iPhone it’s holding — stop moving. Especially good for low-light shots like the beauty shown here. But Darkroom has two distinct advantages over ClearCam: (1) it’s 100% App Store legal (no pwnage required) and (2) at US$0.99, it’s 90% cheaper. And yes, there’s a free “lite” version as well.
Another way to capture the freaks comin’ out at night: Kirill Satchkov brings the Paris Hilton home-porn aesthetic with Night Vision. “[N]ot just an image filter or ‘snake oil,'” he insists, claiming “a patent pending algorithm [that can] extract detail out of images that are seemingly ‘too dark.'” Night Vision offers both traditional green mode and a new infrared effect. Check out the YouTube demo on his page, and if you like what you see, cough up US$0.99 and go take a walk on the dark side…
Speaking of video memories: if you’d like to warp someone’s face like they did in the video for Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” grab a copy of Nico Becherer’s Face Melter (which we previously looked at back in September ’08). Works on any saved or camera-taken image on your iPhone. (And since you’re already on YouTube — you DID watch that Soundgarden vid, right? — watch this demo of the app in action.) Good goofy fun for the introductory price of US$1.99.
Another “oldie but goodie” is Snapture 2.0, which beefed up the stock iPhone photo app featuring a cleaner interface, multi-language support, multi-touch zoom, and a delay timer. If you spring for the US$7.99 pay version, you also get the Quick View functionality, which lets you manage the photo roll from within Snapture itself. (FYI, unlike the apps we’ve reviewed so far, Snapture DOES require installation via Cydia or Installer to a jailbroken phone.)
And last but not least is PanoLab, which lets you stitch between two and thirty snapshots together into a panoramic whole. Try out the free version, or get the US$4.99 version and take advantage of autosave, manual or automatic exposure/white balance adjustments, and a variety of output resolutions up to 1920×1080 pixels.
Granted, the iPhone has a long way to go before it can compete with even the most basic digicams, much less a good DSLR. But as your can see, there’s already lots of ways available to improve your “iPhotography.” Maybe enough to convince the House of Jobs to enhance the camera hardware and software in subsequent iPhones…