Seller: Jens Daemgen
Â© 2008-2011 daemgen.net
ProCamera is a beautifully designed photography app by Jens Dämgen. More than just an excellent camera replacement app with an awesome name, ProCamera is a champion in educating users on basic photography skills including arrangement and composition, capturing the perfect image, and post processing creative work. The design of the menus makes the app simple to use, easy to understand and fun to play with. Other tools in the Photo-Studio module like Pro Lab for color-correction and Pro Cut for cropping images is the icing on the cake. In just playing with this app for a short time, it is easy to see why ProCamera won the Gizmodo Photo App Award Gold Medal in 2010, and Best App Development at the iPhone DevCon 2010. On its App Store page it is said to be an "Apple staff favorite", and it's one of mine as well.
Like every other iPhone Camera replacement app, ProCamera enables you to take better photos. Activating features like full screen trigger (where you tap anywhere on the screen to snap the photo) and anti-shake (where the app enables the iPhone gyroscope to sense when the the device is steady before snapping the photo) are two great and easy ways to improve the quality of your photos.
I love the grid guides on this app. Grid guides are used to help the photographer align and compose the shot. ProCamera has three built in grid guides to choose from. The standard Rule-Of-Thirds-Grid divides the shot up into 9 equal segments using 3 vertical and 3 horizontal dividing lines. The Golden-Mean-Grid designed by Leonardo da Vinci and the ProGrid which overlays a large 8x10 grid across the entire screen can also help you balance and compose your shots.
The virtual horizon is also a neat tool. I have not figured out exactly how to use it to help me as a photographer, but it's still cool. The user's manual says it is useful for "panoramic landscape photography". I can neither confirm or deny this claim, but for what it's worth, my friend's nephew used it for about 5 minutes imagining he was a pilot on Top Gun. Good times.
Other features for the camera include auto-save, 5x Full-Resolution Zoom, Timer (0.5-20 seconds).
Use the Tips and Tricks guide in the Settings menu as a way to educate yourself on how to utilize the Grids, Virtual Horizon, and other features in the app to help you take better photos.
So now that we have used the app to help us take better photos, let's refine our photos even more in the Photo-Studio module. You can load any photo from your camera roll into the ProCamera Photo-Studio. The images do not have to be taken from within the app to be manipulated in the ProCamera Photo-Studio. The Photo-Studio module has 4 major functions. Email sharing, EXIF data viewing, Pro Lab, and Pro Cut (**there are more advanced features in newer iPhone devices, see below).
There is a wealth of EXIF data embedded in the images you create on your iPhone. Using ProCamera you can see practically ALL of this data. Pretty sweet. ProCamera also lets you see a map of the location from where the image was taken (if available). Awesome. I have yet to find an app that displays EXIF information with such clarity and detail as the ProCamera app.
In the Pro Lab we can adjust Brightness, Contrast, Gamma, Saturation, Color-Temperture, as well as applying an Auto-Contrast and Auto-Color Balance filter. Many of these filters pack quite a punch. As expected all tweaks from the Pro Lab are undoable, non-destructive to your original image, and save at full resolution.
There are many good apps out there for cropping your images. Crop Suey is a specific one I love that comes to mind. But Pro Cut is an excellent cropping tool in and of itself. You can freely crop your image to any desired aspect ratio or dimension, or you can lock the crop tool to 5 pre-determined aspect ratios. Locking to a specific aspect ratio is great for prepping your iPhone or iPad artwork for printing. The 5 aspect ratios inside Pro Cut are 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and my personal favorite - the golden ratio.
You can also easily flip, flop, or rotate your images 90 degrees with the tap of a finger. There is a fine tuning rotation feature similar to the straighten image feature in Crop Suey which lets you rotate your image in small increments, automatically zooming the image so there are no black edges. It will be nice to see the straighten image tool and the golden ratio cropping option with a grid overlay of some kind in future updates.
Read the User's Manual and the Tips and Tricks document in the ProCamera app. There is a wealth of knowledge in there! Not only does it help you understand some of the technology behind the great features in the app, but it helps you get a solid grasp on mobile photography in general. It educates artists (especially beginners or novice photographers) on how to use the features, not just this app, but in many other art and photography apps. It will help artists create great artwork.
Commitment to Education
I feel like the developers of ProCamera has put teaching and instruction at the forefront and I admire their commitment to education, which I guess should not be surprising coming from the developer of the free iCademey app - an extensive "lost tutorial" for the iPhone - packed with tons of tips and tricks teaching you the most effective and efficient ways to use your device. iCademy also has a ProCamera tutorial that can probably help illustrate the great features of the app better than this review can. It feels nice when developers who create art apps genuinely want to help you learn the craft and don't just want to take your money, and move on to the next paying customer. As an artist, I am happy to pay for quality art apps and support developers who are invested in educating the art community like the creators of ProCamera.
I definitely give ProCamera a big thumbs up, but there were a few minor issues I ran into. ProCamera never sleeps when the app is open and this can suck the life out of your battery if you leave the app running. My iPhone died while I was in the middle of writing this review because I left the app running. ProCamera will also take a few seconds longer to save your images. Long saves were pretty standard on my iPhone 3G (granted "long saves" equals a few seconds as opposed to instantly, and saves for pictures taken with the camera are done in the background.)
ProCamera has limited sharing options. The current version has email only. It would be nice to see Twitter, Facebook, and iPhoneArt sharing options in future releases of the app.
I tested this app on my older iPhone 3G, where many of the more advanced features are not available (like Expert Mode, 720p HD video recording, extended geotagging, and Pro FX Studio just to name a few). For a full list of features available for your device, visit the ProCamera website. I'm looking forward to updating this review once I update my hardware and give the advanced features a try!
This app review was written and submitted by Nathaniel Park. If you would like to submit an app review to be featured in the App Critiques section, email django@iPhoneArt.com.
To purchase this app at the iTunes store click here: