Everyone pretty much agrees that the iPhone camera, at least through the 3G, was a pretty poor excuse for a camera…and, of course, being the iPhone, that gave rise to a large number of apps for that. One class aimed primarily at overcoming user error…most obviously the inability to hold the iPhone straight or still enough to take a decent picture. Another class attempted to disguise the poor image quality by dressing the pics up with fancy filters and frames and effects…turning a poor image into questionable art. A final class actually attempted to do something about the poor image quality by providing basic editing tools to crop, straighten, adjust exposure, sharpness, color balance, etc.
My favorite of the editing class has always been Photogene. With a recent update to version 2.5 Photogene has, imho, pulled well ahead of the pack.
It always got the basic job done. Now it does it with panache. It always got the job done. Now it does it faster. And, with this version, Photogene moves beyond emailing the pic to contacts: you can now simply and elegantly post direct to Twitter and Facebook from within the app.
(There is also a Photogene specific gallery accessible from the splash page when you open Photogene. You can register for the Hall of Fame and add your images for other Photogene users to enjoy (and to vote on).)
You can take a pic from within the app, or work on one from your Photo Library.
The editing tools are impressive:
- filter: sharpen/blur, but also Pencil, B&W, Posterize, Sepia, Nightvision, and Heatmap (for a nod to the questionable art class)
- Levels, Exposure, Saturation, Color temperature, and RGB sliders
- Cartoon cutouts
- Frames and effects: a good selection of attractive frame presets, custom, background color, a mirror effect, and vignette.
A simple enumeration of the features like that does not convey the power of the app. You have to take a pic with the phone, and then edit it in Photogene to understand how well designed and how able this little app is. Unless I am pressed for time, I always shot from with Photogene, because I know that I am going to want to sharpen and adjust exposure on just about every pic I take. Photogene makes it easy and does it quickly. And now that it posts directly to Twitter and Facebook…which represents the majority of my iPhone camera usage, it has become even more attractive.
The screen shots below are pretty much self-explanatory and include the features I use the most.
Photogene will not completely overcome the limitations of the iPhone camera, but judicious use of its set of editing tools will make every iPhone photo better, and make the iPhone a viable tool, at least for social network imaging. What more could you ask?…oh…well, yes, there is already mention of a real 5mp camera in the iPhone 4G…but even so, Apple would have to show more understanding of the way folks use a camera phone than they have so far, or we just have the same image quality at higher pixel count. I have a feeling Photogene will survive Apple’s best attempts at a better camera. And by then we will undoubtedly be at version 3.0 and who know what power will be packed into Photogene by then!