Camera+ is a photography application for iPhone by tap tap tap.  It is currently $1.99, which is 60% off the regular price.

Camera+ combines several interesting features in one application, making it versatile and fun at the same time. It is a camera, a basic photo editing app (cropping and exposure fixes), a photo effects app, and a photo sharing app.

Zoom function

Camera Features.  Camera+ can serve as a replacement for Apple’s camera app on your iPhone . . . sort of. Unlike the default camera app, Camera+ does not offer video capabilities. It does, however, offer a 5x digital zoom, a camera stabilization feature, and a grid for composing your photos. The zoom feature is a little unwieldy, simply because you have to use the slider bar on the screen in order to zoom in. Plus, like all digital zooms, the more you zoom in the more shaky (and pixelated) the picture becomes. The camera stabilization can be turned on via a little button next to the camera icon. When on, the stabilizer will show red, orange, or yellow until the camera is steady enough for a good shot, then it turns green and the photo is automatically taken.

Editing and Sharing Features.  Camera+ helps you make your iPhone pictures even better by offering several editing capabilities.  Editing takes place in the “lightbox” portion of the app.  All of your photos are stored here immediately after you shoot them. After you edit them and/or share them (more on that below), you can save the pictures to your camera roll.  Once they are saved to the camera roll, they are removed from the lightbox, though you can always retrieve them using the photo icon.

If the exposure on your photos isn’t exactly right, Camera+ provides several lighting effects (called “scenes”) which you can use to improve your image.

"Scene" (exposure) options

You are not in control, however, of exposure in any real sense.  You can’t work with RGB levels, exposure (using a slide bar), saturation, shadows, etc., like you can in Photogene and other photography apps.  But, often you can use the preset “scene” options with good results, making your photos look much better.

Camera+ also allows you to crop your pictures using freeform sliders or preset dimensions.

You can also apply numerous special effects to your pictures, using the “color,” “retro,” or “special” effects categories, and/or add frames to your pictures.

Another handy feature of Camera+ is sharing.  You can share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr directly from the app.  Just choose “share” after you click on a photo in the Lightbox, and the app will load the picture, offer you the opportunity to add a caption, and then upload it to the social site of your choice.  In addition, you can choose multiple photographs in the lightbox to upload all at once.

What’s Macgasmic:  Camera+ allows you to take photos, edit them, and share them all from one application. Although its editing capabilities are not on par with some other iPhone apps, Camera+ has the advantage of simplicity and speed. I really like the fact that all the pictures I take within the app are stored in the lightbox until I’m ready to work with them.  I don’t have to go hunt them down on the camera roll first.  I’ve found that many of the preset exposure options work pretty well and make my pictures look much better.  You don’t have to mess with confusing exposure or color controls—the application does that for you.

Landscape photo before applying scene effect
Landscape photo after applying scene effect

The photo effects are fun to play with, and you can use them for dramatic and artsy iPhone pics.

Sepia effect
70s effect

My favorite aspect of Camera+ is the sharing feature. On our recent vacation, I took some pics and uploaded them with Camera+ to share with friends on Facebook. Uploading is fast (if you have access to 3G or wireless; on Edge uploading takes forever), and I found it to be flawless.

What’s Not: As an all-in-one application, Camera+ works quite capably.  However, it is definitely not a photo-editing app for the more discriminating iPhone photographers out there. If you want true editing capabilities, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Camera+ does not afford much control over the effects it provides for your photos.  Often, when I tried fixing an under or over-exposed picture in Camera+, I got less than satisfactory results. Sometimes, I simply couldn’t improve a photo enough to make it useable.

Original Landscape pic
Auto exposure "fix"
Back lit "fix"
Tiny pics on lightbox screen

Although I like the lightbox concept, the picture previews you see there are teeny-tiny.  With my middle-aged eyes, I had to choose “edit” before I could see the pictures reasonably well.  Perhaps the developers could offer an option to turn off the graphic filmstrips surrounding the pictures (so that the pictures themselves are bigger) and/or allow users to choose the size of previews in the lightbox.

As for the camera features themselves, I wasn’t particularly impressed.  I never use the image stabilization because I can’t get my hands steady enough to get a green light (even when seated on a solid surface!).  The zoom is useable, but pictures come out better without it.  The other thing that is annoying is you can’t shoot video with Camera+. So, if you want to shoot both pictures and video, you have to switch between the Camera app and Camera+ which is a bit of a pain.

For many people, Camera+ will work quite well as a replacement for the default camera app. It offers a few nice camera features, makes editing and sharing easy, and gives you numerous photographic effects.  If, however, you are a photographer who wants to have control over editing your photos, you probably won’t be much impressed with Camera+.  It seems to be geared toward the “instant photo” iPhone user rather than those who want to do more with their pictures.  And, that’s okay, because I suspect most iPhone users just want a decent camera to take easy shots of friends and family.  Camera+ will help them do that and more.