Over the last year I’ve been playing a lot with my smart phone camera. I have to confess that I’ve actually taken photographs with it that I’ve later used as part of my client projects. Of course, I would never tell the client that. Given what they’re paying for the end product, it’s probably best that they believe that all the final images were originally taken with some high-tech, expensive piece of equipment.
So why would I choose a smart phone camera over all my other equipment? The simple answer is “because it’s there” – I always have it with me – AND there are times that it’s the only camera I have with me when I need one.
Given this ugly little truth, what smart phone camera do I use? Well, first, I have an iPhone, so you’d think that I’d use the built-in camera – and I do . . . . . sort of. However, I’ve found an “improved model” so to speak – by using one of the newer camera apps that works through my phone camera. The app is called “Camera +” and, if I remember correctly, it was either a free app or cost only ninety-nine cents. It’s available for iPhones – not sure about “droids”.
So, what makes this cheap app so worthwhile? Let’s start with one of the most important features that you see when you first open it up. When you touch the screen you’ll have your “auto focus: square [just like on the iPhone camera] but notice that there is a small “+” sign at the top right corner. touch this and you have an “exposure” measurement that you can drag anywhere within the image. What this does is to allow you to sample the light separately from the focus point. It allows you to easily brighten or darken your image to its most effective level. Simple – but it’s a big deal to get better photographs.
The next thing you’ll notice is the wheel just to the right of the center “camera” icon that you touch to take the photograph. Touch the wheel and you’ll see that you have a built-in “stabilizer”, timer and “burst” feature.
- I’ve found that the stabilizer is really effective for doing close-up photography. It allows me to get much sharper images when I’m trying to get up close and personal with a small object.
- The timer lets me preset the camera to a 5, 15 or 30 second delay in taking the picture. Haven’t used this feature yet – but it’s there.
- The “burst” feature is really cool – in that it allows you to take pictures at somewhere around 5-6 frames per second. Really incredible for those action shots!
While all these are great features – there’s even more! After you’ve taken a photograph you can go to the “edit” feature and apply 15 different picture styles – what they call “scenes” – including flash, backlight, cloudy, fluorescent, night, portrait, landscape and others. There’s also a great “clarity” feature that opens up and sharpens the mid-tones and shadows without affecting the highlights [shades of Camera RAW!].
In addition to all this, you’ll also have the ability to crop and tilt the image as well as 27 artsy “effects” and 18 different “borders”. While these are neat – they really aren’t the reason to get this app – though they do offer added fun.
While I’ve touched on many of the great features of this app there’s even more to discover as you go through “menu” feature. I won’t go into all of it here – but take a look and see what it has to offer.
So, if you have an iPhone, I’d recommend that you get this app. If you’re like me, once you try it, it will become your “go-to” smart phone camera.