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Useful iPhone Camera Apps

December 4th, 2008

Steadycam-IcnSteadyCam is available for the first 3000 users free; it just came out, so I don’t know how long it’ll last. But it works. As advertised, it allows you to take sharper, more in-focus shots under dark or difficult circumstances. It probably won’t help for action shots, though–it steadies the shot by waiting for your hand to stop shaking, then grabbing that frame as an image.

Here’s a shot, reduced from the original size, to show you what I was shooting–the cityscape at night out my balcony window:


I took six images–three with the SteadyCam app, and three with the native Camera app. Here are the same part of all six images; click to see a blow-up:


The three on the left were taken with the SteadyCam app. The first and third images were with intentional hand shaking–though neither image shows it. The ones on the right were taken with the regular camera app–the first one with a strong effort to keep the camera still, the second and third with hand shaking similar to what I did with the SteadyCam app. As you can see, even my best effort holding the camera still with the native app did not do as well as any of the shots taken with the new app.

In short, as I said, it seems to work.

Ieasy-IcnAnother app I got recently is iEasyCamera, which addresses another problem with the iPhone’s built-in camera software: the small “take photo” button. It’s hard enough to take regular photos, making sure you’re tapping the tiny button right. But what about when you want to take a self-portrait, or take an image of you and your sweetie together without asking a total stranger? Not having any screen real estate on the same side of the phone as the camera already makes framing a hit-and-miss proposition, but touching the “take photo” button blind? Almost impossible.

This app makes it so that touching the screen anywhere triggers the camera, meaning you don’t have to guess where the button is anymore. Not a perfect fix–framing is still a problem–but the worst difficulty is nicely eliminated.

Luxt-IcnThis isn’t a camera-related app, but I like it enough to want to tack it on somewhere. I like those Risk games, but it’s nearly impossible to find good ones for free (even the paid versions are usually not very good). I had one for a while, but it was a pre-OS X app, and is no longer playable on my Intel Macs. But there’s a decent one for the iPhone for free: Lux Touch.


The good points: it’s easy to use and doesn’t get in your way by trying to fancy things up–it’s a straight, old-fashioned Risk game. The down side: you can’t set up the game. There are always five players, you are always blue, you always go last, and the countries you start with and the initial allocation of troops is random and usually not at all what you want. Sometimes, I have had troubles with tap-commands going non-stop, in that I tap and release, but the app continues to act as if I were holding the tap. You wind up with all your troops in one place that way… but it doesn’t happen too often.

Anyway, a few good apps there.

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