Smartphone photography apps 2012

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Smartphone photography is attractive not because of the quality of the cameras — although they are getting much better — but because of software applications that allow users to stylize and share the images they take. There are many apps, ranging from comprehensive editing suites to tools for putting fake beards on dogs. It is enough to overwhelm anyone, but digging through this haystack will benefit those who plan on taking photos with their phone.

Camera + ($0.99 on the iPhone) replaces the camera application that comes with the iPhone and offers much more control over shooting and editing. The app is better than the native camera in every way. Users can alter what the camera focuses on and which part of the frame it adjusts exposure for. In addition to the flash, there is a flashlight setting for users who are not concerned about running down their batteries. The sliding zoom control also works better than Apple’s pinch-and-zoom system.

Camera+ has a host of options to edit photos. A choice of scenes adjusts for different situations, like overexposed photos or portraits. The app has a one-touch clarity option that analyzes a photograph and decides what it needs. The app also has filters that create various nostalgic or bizarre effects. Once the photo is ready, images can be shared via e-mail, text message, Web link, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

For iPhone users who don’t want to part with the dollar, a free app called Camera Awesome offers similar features. It also has one option whose absence from the iPhone’s own camera app is baffling: a setting that allows a user to snap a photo by touching the screen anywhere, rather than touching just the virtual shutter release. Camera Awesome has an enormous number of filters and other effects, but many of them cost extra.

For Android users looking for a more complete camera app, ProCapture ($0.99) allows for wide control over focus and exposure. It has a built-in timer and a burst mode, which takes a quick sequence of photographs but does not accommodate video. A free version takes lower-resolution images, so users can test it before they buy it.

Almost every app allows users to share photos via established social networks, and some have their own social networks. Instagram (free for Apple and Android) is the standard-bearer for this kind of app, and for good reason. It is not the most full-featured photography app, offering only a handful of filters and some rudimentary editing tools. But it is elegant and easy to use, and perhaps most important for any social network, it already has a lot of users.

For those who unhappy with Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram, or for general contrarians, there are several other photo-based social networks that serve as solid alternatives. Picplz (free for Apple and Android) offers far more editing options, including the ability to add text and drawings. And there are plenty of people posting beautiful images using the app, so users have something to look at, too.

If you want to be more playful, stocking up on apps that are not so straightforward is a good, cheap way to have some fun. Those looking for something silly may like Juxtaposer (free for Apple), which allows users to mix elements from different photographs — putting someone’s face on top of someone else’s shoulders, for instance. One of the neatest is Paper Camera ($0.99 for Apple; $1.99 for Android), which turns photos into a cartoon as they are taken. It is a neat effect for photos and may be even better on video.

Of course, the more whimsical apps tend to get old quickly as the novelty wears off. Apps that allow users to make collages, however, may have a longer shelf life. For this task, Frametastic (free for Apple) stands out. (For Android, PicFrame, $0.99, is a reasonable alternative). Frametastic allows users to select different layouts and place images from their photo libraries into collages. Images can be run through various filters, resized and manipulated in ways that any photographer could use to kill gobs of idle time. If the standard options are not enough, additional layouts are available for purchase.

Frametastic also makes it easy to share images on social media. And in addition to the standard selection of sharing options, the app also lets users send images as a postcard. You know, through the mail.On top of the NEX-5R announcement, Sony has unveiled new camera apps that will grace the rear screen of the aforementioned WiFi-enabled shooter first when it arrives in October. PlayMemories will feature downloadable software that can be installed on your Sony kit after purchase, offering new functionality for the device. The set of applications will feature the following options at launch: Picture Effect+, Bracket Pro, Multi Frame NR, Smart Remote Control and Direct Upload. The outfit plans add Photo Retouch alongside the Time-lapse and Cinematic Photo apps mentioned in today’s presser sometime after the initial offerings roll out. When paired with PlayMemories Online, Mobile or Studio, you can view and transfer captured photos and videos on compatible TVs, smartphones, tablets and PS3 consoles. If more information is what you’re after, consult the PR below to gather some more details.Recently bought my mum a Sony 7″ digital picture frame that uses WiFi to connect to Sony PlayMemories web service and it is in fact just what the doctor ordered. We can upload pics from anywhere (including from iOS and Android phones) and she gets to see the latest family photos without lifting a finger – they pop up on the picture frame on her mantlepiece within the hour. Superb easy to use touch screen interface, displays weather and time in large characters below the photos and can be made to switch off and on automatically every day. Also takes feeds from FaceBook and you can email photos to it too.
Beyond this digital picture frame done right, Sony’s announcements today show they are back, and blending some great industrial design with robust cloud services.Be interesting to see how this fairs against Apple’s forthcoming announcements.because instagram photos and like apps from your cell produce crap photos… cell phones are no substitute for a real camera… i hate people that buy a cell phone based off its camera… i own two of the top phones on the market and i own a nex 5n i promise you i grab my camera for photos 100 out of 100 times because its light takes great photos in low light, speed shots, and can change lenses easily… these cameras are aimed at people who want and know what a quality photo is, not for your average point and shoot user who takes shots of their food everytime they eat

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