Best Camera is actually just okay

The Best Camera app available at Apple’s iTunes AppStore uses the iPhone’s camera and can be used to add rudimentary special effects to a photograph. It works well enough for its limited ambitions, but it has serious drawbacks.

With Best Camera you can desaturate colors, add contrast, change the tone, and frame your photos among other basic tasks. A few of these features, such as Warm, make a good iPhone photo rather gaudy. But some, like the ability to frame a photo can be useful to remove objects on the edge of the picture you don’t want. Being able to turn a mediocre color shot into black & white (Desaturate) can be useful, especially for images of people.

But let’s face it, you’re not going to be taking world-class images with your iPhone. And even if you did want to try, you’d probably manipulate them in Photoshop not Best Camera.

The idea behind the app is the company’s tagline: The Best Camera is Is The One That’s With You. And for millions of people, says Chase Jarvis, the mind behind the app, that camera will be their iPhone.

The cool concept behind this and other similar apps, though, is the ability to instantly post photos to social media sites and to the company’s own photo site. In that regard, I find it works pretty well. First, you need to setup an account, whether you want to or not in order to post to, say, your Twitter account. If you already have a Flickr account and don’t want to use yet another, you’re out of luck.

Also, given that the concept is to post pix of things while you’re on the go with the iPhone, I found the default settings worked against you. For example, when you launch Best Camera it takes you to your most recently taken photo, which means you have to fumble around until you can get the camera operating to take your next image. But by then your serendipitous shot has probably been lost. You have to go to Settings to change the default to open camera at launch, which should be the default.

Another complaint is that Best Camera does not save every photo to the iPhone Camera Roll. If you take a photo and view it in the Preview mode you must choose Use before it can be saved. Even then you need to apply the Send function to save it to the Camera Roll.

But you need to be conscious that you don’t accidently send a photo not ready for posting to other online sites that you have set up in advance because if you don’t, that “work in progress” shot will go out to the world. It also means that every time you save something just to the iPhone’s Camera Roll, you need to re-do your settings to send to your online sites.

In other words, it’s a user interface mess.

I suppose the idea is that you will take photos with the iPhone camera, then import them into Best Camera, which is easy, then manipulate them and send them later. But you’re going to go to that bother, you’re most likely going to take that masterpiece image and download it to your PC or Mac and toy with it in a real image management tool.

But for $2.99 it’s an okay app to have for those moments when you’re not in a rush, want to play with an image, and then send it along to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.