Camera+ makes a fantastic replacement for the built-in iPhone camera application

The built-in camera and camcorder have truly been one of the best parts of having an iPhone.  Like many parents with young children, I often find myself stumbling over “aw, isn’t that cute” moments that I want to share on Facebook or email to grandparents.  Having a camera right there in my pocket means I can grab the shot and send it off without missing the moment.  Our regular point-and-shoot camera is starting to feel downright lonely.  Aviva likes it so much she is desperate to get a newer phone just for the better camera.

Despite all of those benefits, I find the Camera application that ships with the iPhone really annoying.  The problem is that it is a fire-and-forget camera – you snap the shot, and then it is automatically exiled to the camera roll, regardless of whether it is worth saving or not.  The camera roll soon becomes cluttered with hundreds of useless photos, making it very hard to find photos you generally want to save forever. It fills up primarily with three types of junk:

1.       A slew of nearly identical bad shots: in these cases, I am trying to capture my kids doing something cute, but they are not looking at the camera, or in mid-jump, or have their eyes closed, etc.  I was just snapping shots until I got the one that I wanted, and I’m left with all these bad ones.

2.       Accidental videos: the camera leaves itself on either camcorder or camera, depending on how you last used it, and unless you look closely at the slider, it’s hard to tell which.  Many times I want to snap a photo quickly, only to discover that it was last on video, and I am recording a movie by accident.  I stop it a few seconds later and switch it, but it leaves a 3-4 second movie floating in the camera roll.

3.       One-Use Photos: a lot of times I want to take a photo of something quickly just so I can email it, like when I write a check but don’t want to take the time to open up Quicken and enter the check.  I just snap a photo of the check and email it to myself so I can record it later.  I have no need to hold onto the image in the camera roll.

Sure, you can go into the camera roll and delete these, but it’s a pain.  If you are in the camera app itself, you have to hit the icon to switch to the photo viewer, then hit the delete button, then confirm the delete, and then switch back.  I’m in the middle of trying to take a photo, and I don’t want to take the 10 seconds.  And who ever remembers to go back into the camera roll and clean it up?

I have recently discovered Camera+ (currently just $0.99) and discovered that it is a huge improvement over the built-in Camera application.  The key improvement is that it does not assume every photo is a keeper.  As you snap photos, it just accumulates them in a local roll, leaving you free to focus on getting the shot you want.

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When you finally get the one you want, you have the option to:

·         Save it to the “real” camera roll for permanent storage

·         Email it

·         Share it on a social media site

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A few taps can save them all or dump the remainder.

It also has some nice features for taking the photos themselves.  When you snap a photo, rather than holding it on screen for a few seconds, it just moves on and is immediately ready to take the next one.  This makes it much easier if you are trying to grab just the right smile or moment.  It also provides grid lines for artistic framing.

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Lastly, since it only takes photos (not video), I no longer have problems with accidentally taking a video when I wanted a photo or vice-versa.  I use Camera+ for photos, and the built-in Camera application for video.  Since I’m no longer switching the setting, it’s always on video, right where I want it.

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