So, you are sitting there, flicking through the latest images in your Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr timeline. Some of the photos fit into “human interest” – these photos usually include someone else’s meal – and others are mediocre views of a sunset from the inside of a car. On the face of it, you’d think that these pictures have little in common. Look and think again, though, and you will realize that there is a theme which runs through vast swathes of the photos you see. That’s right, you’ve got it; filters. Photos, it would seem, are nowadays regarded as being dull unless they’ve been doused with a squeeze of zingy Lomography, or made musty with some aged, scratched, sepia.
This popularity, you would think, should drive innovation, and an improvement in the quality and diversity of the filter apps on offer. In reality, however, most apps are just happy to be regarded as competent Instagram clones. Not so with the new Android app Camera 2. Not only has the developer, JFDP Labs, packed 28 effects into its $2.99 offering, but it has also been brave enough to try something different – live, pre-capture filtering. Depending on your outlook, this either sounds like a brilliant, killer feature, or a fast-track route to mobile-computing meltdown. Let’s find out which it is…
Android owners are blessed with a great operating system, which many feel is better than iOS. I think even the most ardent Google fanboys would have to concede though, that photography is one area in which Apple’s App Store holds many of the trump cards. Whilst Instagram has made its way over to Android, many brilliant photographic apps like Afterlight and Hipstamatic have not.
Where Instagram leads, though, some others have followed, and with the increasing competence of Android device camera hardware, it’s little wonder that the quality of the photography section of the Google Play store is on the rise.
Looking to add to that trend is Camera360, which has just been updated to version 4, known as the Ultimate edition. Camera360 looks to provide a complete photographic package, from the taking of a photo through to sharing, with a few edits along the way.
But is it just another generic snap-and-filter affair? It’s time to find out…
As we approach the Holiday season even more, one question has been recurring on my mind more frequently – should I get my Kodak camera out of its hiding place in my drawer and charge it up for the next few weeks, or do I simply keep taking photos with my phones like I have been for the past year?
See, my dilemma stems from the fact that I carry on a daily basis two really good cameraphones, a Samsung Galaxy SIII and an Optimus 4x HD, both with 8MP cameras, longer battery life and simple microUSB charging, HDR mode, always on availability, plenty of options, bigger screen, and most importantly easy bluetooth transfers, editing and internet uploads. The only two advantages my Kodak camera has are the Xenon flash for better pictures indoors at night, and optical zoom.
And I shouldn’t be alone in my dilemma. Cameraphones have gotten so much better over the last few years that we no longer question using them in everyday situations. But holidays and family gatherings remain a special event, and would normally demand better memory-keeping equipment. The question though is whether cameraphones have gotten to a point where they can replace a standalone camera even in the important moments of life.
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I’ll stick with my phones. For one, I can’t be bothered with another gadget to carry and charge, and for two the phones offer a lot more convenience. What about you?
Originally an iOS app, Snapseed garnered quite a following for its powerful photo editing capabilities and also won a few “App of the Year” awards from Apple. In September 2012, Google bought Nik Software, the developer company behind the app and a mere three months later, we have an Android version of the app available to us for free. On a side note, Google also made the iOS version of the app free along with the Android release.
But before I delve into this review, let me get one obvious explanation out of the way – Snapseed is not an Instagram competitor from Google. Instagram, if you didn’t know, is a photo sharing app that lets you apply color effects to your photos and share them directly from your mobile devices. It thrives on its social sharing and community feature, while Snapseed does not have any social features of its own. It is also a more extensive photo editing app than a way to apply readymade filters to your photos.
So with that out of the way, let’s dig into what this latest offering from Google that everyone is talking about really is.
When you first buy a DSLR camera, you may not get a lot of great shots but you will get a ton of advice from everybody you encounter. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but budding photographers need to learn at their own pace when it comes to both photographic principles and operating a camera. And if you’re starting to learn by yourself, you’ll find a handy guide in Right Click.
Right Click is a simple tutorial app that contains useful information about the basics of photography, a few styles and modes of shooting and finally, a simulator for various manual camera settings found on DSLRs and even some compact models. Let’s take a look at what we can learn from it, and see what’s still missing.
Any android user knows the joys of taking pictures with their phone. As a matter of fact, many people don’t even carry regular point-and-shoot cameras with them anymore because phone cameras have improved so much in the last few years, not to mention the added value of having the ability to quickly and easily enhance those photos before they even leave the phone.
A good app for auto-enhancing then quickly and easily tweaking those enhancements is a gem when it’s found. One such gem is the Perfectly Clear app that offers all these options along with sharing or saving your photos like a champ.
The humble infographic has gone from the boardroom projector to online viral fame in the last few years. There’s no easier way to represent data to interest a person than by making it look pretty. Good infographics are simple to interpret and often cross language barriers effortlessly.
InFoto aims to tap into this, by converting the hundreds of photos you undoubtedly have stewing on your SD card into a pretty infographic that’ll probably get more likes on Facebook than your original snaps.
When I first heard the idea I thought it was a college student’s half-baked end of year assignment he decided to throw up on the Google Play Store, but it turns out photos actually have a ton of data stored within them. The question is: does the app make impressive use of it?
When was the last time you saw a new mobile phone without a camera? Tough one, isn’t it? From a mere gimmick just a few years ago, to a necessarily underpowered addon, to a full-fledged feature, cameras on mobile phones have come a long way. While the iPhone has graduated to become the most used camera amongst Flickr users, every new Android phone that comes out boasts of some new camera technology unique to itself.
Unfortunately, camera apps haven’t really kept in sync with the advances in mobile phone camera technology over the years. So although your phone may be technically capable of a lot of things, the app you use to shoot your photos is most probably showcasing only a fraction of its abilities. And even if it can take advantage of everything available to it, it hides all that control deep within its settings in an attempt to keep the user interface clean and simple to use.
Except for Shot Control, that is.
Pudding Camera is yet another tantalizing Android app for budding photographers. While it lacks some of the extensive features of paid alternatives, it’s a sleek and simple application, featuring a number of filters and camera styles to spice up your snaps. But is it worth giving a go?
If you’re tired of taking mediocre photos on your mobile, this could turn out to be your new favourite app. You won’t need knowledge of photography or even much common sense to use it; and what’s more, it’s completely free.