Once upon a time, I bought a compact digital camera so that I didn’t have to cart my DSLR out and about when I was just likely to be taking snapshots or didn’t want to risk taking the Big ‘I’m A Target’ Camera with me. Now I rarely use it, as it’s been supplanted in my pocket/bag by the iPhone 4 (yes yes, I know, the Big ‘I’m a Target’ Phone – there is still a role for the compact camera in my life, I know…)
In the last 16 months, according to iTunes, I have experimented with at least 19 different apps (and that’s not counting the two I just put on the phone, ahem). So I thought I would try and put up some photos from a bunch of them along with my thoughts.
Best Camera – the photographer Chase Jarvis’ app, it spins off the idea that the Best Camera you have is the camera you have with you. Which is nice – and this was one of the first camera apps I ever got and played with – but the app’s only so-so in comparison to others for me nowadays. I use Camera+ instead, because I find it has a greater variety of options.
Camera Bag – some fun filters to play with, and you simply tap the photo to change the colour balances. I still keep this one on the phone, though I’ve not used it as much recently. I like the cinema filter a lot (so does Scott Pilgrim, though his face doesn’t suggest he likes anything).
Swankolab – another of the ‘lets make filters and processing that do just about everything’ apps. But it’s a serious faff to remember all the different options and what they do, so I got rid of it.
If it’s quick and simple you want:
ShakeIt – the wonderful world of fake polaroid. This is literally all this app does – and other apps have polaroid filters or frames. If you want to replicate the polaroid experience to the extent of the ‘shaking the image to make it develop faster’ feature, go for it, just don’t chuck your phone across the room while you do…
Old Camera – bizarrely, this was recommended by the film director Mark Romanek (back in the day, when he was working on Never Let Me Go and taking a lot of photos of Andrew Garfield, as you would, ahem). It’s really nice and simple for black and whites and sepias. It goes on and off the phone, randomly.
Hipstamatic – probably still my very favourite camera app, though there are almost too many options for it now and I end up sticking with a few favourite settings. But once you have those worked out it’s a joy, I tell you. Be hipster (the silly, miserable, hipsters are just spoiling it for the rest of us who like cameras and notebooks and big black rimmed glasses).
See also, Instagram! My new favourite app. So quick and easy, it has replaced hipstamatic in my usage, if not in my affections (quite yet). It has fewer options, so is easier to use on the go, and is a social media fiend.
In the ‘disappeared from the phone’ app camp – Lo-fi, retro-i-ness. Pretty, but also pretty much given up on by me, because it was such a pain scrolling through all the possible filters.
In the ‘I’m a narcissist’ app camp – IncrediBooth. Now with slightly odd ‘bokeh lights in front of the face’ possibilities for the shy narcissist.
Quiption – for those who want to make photo postcards with text. Very limited options though, so it’s unlikely to hang around.