As promised earlier this month, Realmac Software has just released Analog Camera for iPhone. The new photography app, which promises a fast and intuitive UI, hit the App Store this morning at the very reasonable $.99 price point. But there are already hundreds of camera apps available in the App Store and Analog Camera faces stiff competition from the likes of Instagram, Camera+, and many others. Does Analog Camera manage to stand out? Read on to find out.
When you open Analog Camera, you’re presented with the virtual viewfinder and shutter button. A horizon guide in the form of a dotted line across the middle of the viewfinder helps you make sure your shot is even. You can tap once to set a combined focus and exposure point or tap with two fingers to set separate focus and exposure points, while double tapping puts you in full auto mode.
Above the viewfinder are thumbnail images of the photos in your iPhone’s Camera Roll. Swiping down from these thumbnails shows you more of your Camera Roll. Swiping from left to right takes you to a view of your Photo Stream. Swiping up from any of these views takes you back to the virtual viewfinder and shutter button.
To capture a new photo, all you need to do is tap on the shutter button. You can keep taking pictures in rapid succession to your heart’s content (every photo you take is saved to the Camera Roll) and when you’re ready to edit one, just tap on its thumbnail. From there, you’ll be taken to a grid view that shows a preview of your selected photo with each of the eight available filters applied. Tapping on one will show you a larger view. Large buttons below this grid let you save the edited picture to your iPhone’s Camera Roll, email it, or send it to another app, like Instagram, Process, or any other photo or other type of app you have that will import images. And sharing to Facebook and Twitter is easy with the larger, appropriately colored and icon-ed buttons at the very bottom.
If you change your mind about sharing that picture, all you need to do is drag down on the grid view which will reveal the pinwheel-shaped iris shutter in Analog Camera’s icon. As you drag down, the iris fills with color to the accompaniment of some cute, xylophone-like notes and you’ll be brought back to the viewfinder once the iris is filled.
To appreciate Analog Camera, it helps to take a step back and think about how you normally take pictures that you plan to share through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever your preferred medium is, and edit them. For me, it usually takes several shots first to get just the right picture. When I finally get the perfect shot, I want to edit it and then share it as quickly as possible through Instagram and Twitter. With Instagram, this can take several taps since you’re taken to a new screen to begin the editing process after every picture you capture. With the built-in Camera app I can take multiple pictures in a row but there are no filters so it takes a trip to Instagram, where I have to find that perfect shot in my Camera Roll and then edit it. Here again, multiple taps are in order.
With its streamlined approach to taking pictures (or finding ones you’ve already taken) and then editing and sharing them, Analog Camera gets everything right – it beats Instagram and other camera apps in requiring very few steps to get your pictures out in front of the public or to friends and family. If you’re looking for an all-around camera app with strong editing capabilities, Analog Camera is not for you, though. It automatically crops all photos to squares so you don’t need to mess around with that once you get to Instagram and it offers a limited number of filters to keep everything simple. There is no red-eye fix, blurring to mimic a shallow depth of field, or other fancy editing effects. If you want to take panoramic photos, capture in landscape orientation, or even use the iPhone’s front-facing camera, you’ll need to look elsewhere. But if quick and easy sharing is your goal, Analog Camera is the way to go.