There’s nothing wrong with Apple’s camera app for the iPhone, but if you fancy yourself more than a casual snapper, it’s a little under-powered. Fortunately, there’s an app for that, too.
Easily one of the more impressive camera apps we’ve seen recently, Camera+ takes the existing camera app and applies a little more control, allowing you to change focus and metering points.
You don’t have to do this, mind you, and can generally just take pictures with an automatic mode engaged, but if you feel like you want more light and speed control, Camera+ lets you get into the nitty gritty, disconnecting the exposure control and focus points and moving them around, allowing you to meter based on a different part of the scene and yet focus in a different region.
Once you’ve started doing this, you’ll find the controls start to open up, with a slide wheel on the screen allowing you to change exposure values, sensitivity settings, or timing values, all of which add up to offering the controls photographic enthusiasts and professionals have come to expect out of modern day cameras.
With the right settings employed, you can fire the shot, saving it to the Camera+ system, where the real fun begins.
You see Camera+ is a little more than just a camera replacement, offering a modicum of control for how the image is exported in the end.
Keen to have colour more like a different time of day? Change it.
After a little more clarity? Increase that definition and bring the image to life.
A fan of Instagram and VSCO but are after more of a photographic and film-like quality? Throw that in, too.
When it comes to features, Camera+ certainly has them in abundance, offering layered filters including a “clarity” mode that acts as both an HDR filter and a sharpening tool, post-shot scene modes to change the way the colour and light responds, borders, captions, and more than just your standard square cropping tools.
Camera+ doesn’t quite offer the same complexity as apps like Snapseed, that said, so if you’re expecting to do some targeted changes to your image in this tool, forget about it. Rather, this is about enhancing the camera significantly for people who want to amp up the colour, the clarity, and the feeling that the iPhone camera could be used for more than just the casual snap or two.
Testing it over the past couple of weeks, we’ve found it can enhance a standard iPhone image to be one where the colour is a little more pronounced and the sharpness more obvious, something you don’t always find with the iPhone camera, as good as it is without this app.
Even iPhone 6S and 6S Plus owners will find a bit of touch control in there for them, with the extra heavy icon push opening up a menu allowing you to jump straight into taking standard photos, selfies, macro images, or just go into the Camera+ editing lightbox.
Camera+ also offers a few in-app purchases if you need to use them, with the app delivering extra filters to emulate film if that’s the sort of look you’re after and Instagram isn’t quite cutting it for you.
What we do wish Camera+ did a little better, though, was store images after exporting.
Essentially, every photo you edit inside Camera+ is stored in its own little lightbox, almost as if to separate from your regular photo gallery shot by the iPhone camera.
When you’ve taken a photo, you can jump into this little album and edit the photos individually, staying inside the app but using the Camera+ functionality to change the scene type, colour, contrast, brightness, clarity, and so on, until you’re well and truly happy with an image.
After you’ve finished working on the photo, you can save to your camera roll, but at this point, the image disappears from your photo library inside Camera+, menaing you can’t edit it again.
That’s a shame as the edits appear fairly non-destructive during the time that you edit the photos inside Camera+, allowing you to go back and change crops or cut back on filtration as you like.
We’re sure most people won’t be bothered by the idea that the original image goes away, but given how friendly the tools are for Camera+, it’s a little surprising you don’t get the option of keeping the image around for a little longer, at least until you choose to get rid of it.
That said, despite this flaw, Camera+ is well worth checking out, if only because the camera offers more control than Apple tends to impart on its customers. For photographers, this is a big deal, and if you know what we mean, you’ll know why — for that reason alone — Camera+ is a must-have app.
Camera+ is available now for the iPhone for $4.49, though a free trial mode can also be found as “Camera+ Free”.