I tried a little experiment comparing the collection of iPhone photography apps I have. I picked a vase sitting on a dresser in front of a mirror for a subject instead of trying to capture my rambunctious dog whose immediate reaction to having any form of a camera pointed at him is to either run towards me or start turning his head back and forth.
I learned some lessons I didn’t expect to learn from this test. First, no metadata is captured in the photos that identifies which app was used to take them. This made it difficult to identify which photos were taken with which app. Maybe when someone starts paying me to test iPhone photo apps I’ll do that.
While I did my best to reconstruct this (and in some cases it was obvious), I can’t guarantee I’ve accurately matched unedited photos with apps. I did, however, do editing one photo at a time so I could keep track.
Another surprise lesson was that some apps don’t save the image you’ve created automatically. HDR Pro was one that I tested, but then lost the image when I tried to find it after the fact. Same problem with Camera Plus. Or else I just couldn’t find the images because of the aforementioned problem.
Tisen did not, as usual, enjoy my photographic experiment. He started out lying in his bed at my feet undoubtedly thinking I was there for the purpose of giving him a belly rub. When I ignored him, he decided to try ignoring me and moved into the living room. When this didn’t result in me following him to the living room, he came back in to check on what in the heck I was doing.
I made amends by taking a few shots of him when I was done with my test. He seemed grateful enough for the attention to hold relatively still.
Here is my summary:
I tested 5 Apps: The iPhone default camera app, Camera+, Camera!, Hipstamatic, Pro HDR and Camera Plus. Since I lost the photos from Pro HDR and Camera Plus and Hipstamatic is more of an “instant photo editing” app than an enhanced camera, I haven’t included images from those two.
There is little difference in the quality of the unedited image from one app to the next with the exception of the Camera! app. This may be because I turned on image stabilization in this app. That feature does make a difference.
The experience of getting the image is made harder or easier by the overlays available for framing the image. I like the Golden Rule overlay in Camera! the best.
The exposure control in Camera+ is minimal and I found it takes quite a bit more time to adjust the exposure and then have to reframe the subject because the act of changing the exposure causes me to move the camera all over the place.
Frankly, I think a tripod might help more than an app.