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Free app Friday: Camera Awesome

On Monday I looked at dumb mistakes that people make when taking photos and one of the key points is the camera app. Although the iPhone camera application gets a lot more right than most android stock photo apps (though photo spheres are pretty cool) but there are some really useful functions that can advance your photos before you even click shoot and which no matter how good your photo editor is, will never get right.

Camera awesome includes some of these features and improves the stock camera app in some ways.

Split focus and exposure points

Normally, in a camera app you can set your focus point and exposure point by tapping on a point on the screen. The thing is that most apps will have both the focus and exposure point as the same. It’s pretty standard practice as the point you want in focus needs to have enough light to be visible and not so much that it is over exposed. However, sometimes this will result in certain parts of the screen being hard to see due to low or high light levels. By tapping with two fingers on the screen you can set alternative focus and exposure points to have a truly custom photos.

Guidelines

Remember the rule of thirds? Well there are a few other common guidelines like the golden, a square grid focus and even the ever so strange trisec layout that would make most photogrid apps proud. Having a useful reference on screen can really help you to frame your shots well.

camera awesome golden circle

Spirit level

Ever taken a photo and on your small screen it looks to be in line with the horizon but when you see it on a larger computer screen you realize that it’s ever so slightly off. Not much but just enough to be annoying! The spirit level places a circle in the middle of the screen with two bars to show the horizon, with two fixed lines in the grids next to the centre. By lining them up you know it’s level.

Pinch to zoom

Pinching to zoom isn’t that uncommon but one really nice feature is the zoom bar at the bottom moves showing how far you’ve zoomed. However as I’ve mentioned before you should never use your zoom to take a photo, it just lowers the quality of the image. The only possible use for this feature is to check what. Is in the distance.

Filters

Yup filters are here to stay and you have Instagram/hipster magic to thank for that. Personally I prefer to post edit with filters rather than add it as I take the picture as you can then use different filters at different times, plus export to different apps and experiment with their filters. You can apply the filters as you take the photo or afterwards.

camera awesome filters

Burst modes

This was recently added to the stock photo app but camera awesome has two versions of this feature. The first is a “slow burst” the other is a “fast burst” with a lower resolution. These are perfect for sporting events or fast moving moments where you want to get a particular moment but you don’t know exactly when it will come, or taking a group shot where you can guarantee that if you take one photo, someone will look bad in it. sneezing, closed eyes or maybe just pulling a face, if you take a group picture, one person will look terrible.

Timers and intervals

Sometimes we want to be In our photos as well. Camera awesome provides two different functions for this. The first is a timer to take a single photo and the other takes multiple photos at. Different intervals.

Post production

Personally, I don’t mind having a separate app for post production from my main photo taking app but camera awesome does have some nice features that are worth mentioning. In particular is the “awesomeizer” which will adjust your photos sharpness, saturation and contrast to help get the most from the photo you took. All you need to do is move the slider to the level you like. If you know nothing about photos then this is the post production tool for you.

There are also options to change the size and crop the photo as well as apply presents, filters, textures and frames to your pics. These vary from the instagram side of things to more off the wall creations that make your photos look like they are on cave walls…for example.

camera awesome screenshot

Purchased upgrades

However, it is in the post production that we come across the many in app purchases. I haven’t done the maths myself but I’ve been informed that all of them in total would come to $29. YIKES! Just looking at the iTunes page shows items that are listed for purchase as “everything” which cost £6.99 (and then two other “everythings” as well which is a bit confusing to say the least, though presumably is a separate “everything” for the filters, textures and frames.)

Whilst the very fact that there are in app purchases may put you off (especially with the grand sum of $29) and the fact that the Android app cost $2.99 (or £1.87) but comes with every in app purchase may also be equally off putting. Personally, I use camera awesome for the separate exposure and focus points and occasionally for the awesomeizer. I actually had to search out how to buy the in app purchases for the purpose of this review. I just didn’t feel I needed them and I’m sure you could find alternatives if you do.

What’s missing?

Although camera awesome is a really great camera (the split focus and exposure points alone make it a brilliant tool) it is missing some now very common features as well as  some of the more gimmicky actions like photospheres, gifs, cinemgraphs, etc but nor can many other camera apps. . The main one being HDR where two or more photos with different lighting points are mixed together to provider greater highs and lows in the color spectrum.

If camera awesome had HDR then I’d probably never need to use another camera app again (except for the occasional 360 photo), unfortunately it doesn’t and so it hasn’t yet replaced my main camera app.

Check out camera awesome for free on iTunes. 

About Chris Wilson

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