Are you ready to replace your digital camera with your phone?


A famous saying goes along the lines of “The best camera is the one you have with you”, and with so many of us carrying a camera embedded in our mobile phones, this saying has never been more true. From its humble beginnings over a decade ago, with a meagre 0.1 mega-pixels to the modern multi mega pixel snappers of today the camera phone has thrived and is beginning to see itself become the de-facto standard for taking pictures of and sharing our most valued moments.



Recent developments in mobile phones have seen the introduction of Nokia’s N8 with a 12 mega pixel camera, carl zeiss lens and xenon flash – features which would be taken for guaranteed on a modern digital camera. Apple recently unveiled their latest iPhone, the 4S featuring a 8 mega pixel camera and 1080p HD video recording, with instant upload to our social networks. Apple is not alone in their endeavours to bring the greatest snapshots to our social circles, as many android phone manufacturers have been kitting their devices with 8 megapixels and higher cameras for some time now. As photo processing technology gets faster, smaller and cheaper, manufacturers and developers are beginning to squeeze a lot more features into our mobile devices.


Many professional photographers are beginning to replace their secondary cameras with their phones, and casual photographers are using their phones as their sole photography tool at weddings and other social events. In fact the online photo sharing site, Flickr, reports the iPhone 4 as one of their most popular cameras used to take and upload images on. Many of our top news is often accompanied by a snapshot taken by a mobile phone. There is even a growing trend labelled as ‘iPhoneography’ which is used by many iPhone owners trying to make their photography as artistic as possible using the apps available on their phones.


Smartphone owners are quite privileged to have access to a large market of professional apps that allow users to take and edit photos in real time before choosing to share it on a number of photo sharing sites. Various effects can be applied, from sharpening and blurring images to giving them a retro look, and for the ardent photography enthusiasts there’s a whole slew of DSLR level effects such as tilt-shifts, bokeh or HDR photography.



Some apps of particular significance are listed below.


Camera Plus, (iPhone only, free and pro version) improves the feature set of the default iPhone camera to add anti-shake and burst mode, both of which are an welcome addition for anyone trying to avoid blurry photos or take action shots.


Camera ZOOM FX, (android only, paid) is one of the most best photography apps on the android market, this app delivers plenty of functionality before you take a picture as well as plenty of post processing effects to keep you occupied for a long time.

Hipsatamatic (iPhone only, paid) is a configurable camera app, that lets you buy virtual lenses, flashes and film types to get the the desired effect for your photo’s. And judging by their flickr group, they seem to have a busy community of avid photographers who love sharing examples of their work.
Although not as configurable as hipstamatic, the android market sports a selection of similar apps for free, most noteworthy are FxCamera, Pudding Camera, Camera360 and Retro Camera.


Photoshop Express (cross-platform, free) brings simple image editing, such as the ability to rotate and crop, as well as run simple filters on images with its innovative touch interface. This is not a specific photography app, but it works well for basic post processing work.


Pixlr-o-matic (cross platform, free) lets users add plenty of vintage effects, light enhancements, and borders and frames, with instant sharing to your friends and family.


Other applications are not as generic, and will only appeal to users looking to fill a niche requirement, such as panoramic photography with Pano (cross platform, paid), or tilt-shift apps like TiltShift (iPhone, paid) or Tilt-Shift Maker (android, paid) to create amazing toy like tilt shift images of overhead and landscape photos. High dynamic range photography, involves composition of different shots taken at different light levels to compose a single well lit image, and although the feature is only beginning to be seen in consumer cameras, apps like Pro HDR (iPhone, paid) and HDR Camera (android, free) already implement these features.


While some of us only take out our cameras whilst on holiday, having a mobile camera in your pocket is handy in a variety of instances. And there is no reason to not have any fun with your mobile phone camera as there is a growing community of mobile photography enthusiasts to share with and learn from; plus there is a whole plethora of apps out there that will let you get comical with pictures of friends or help you capture that perfect shot.


Tell us in the comments below if we’ve missed any apps, what apps you use and what you like about them. If you have any of your mobile photography online why not take a moment to share the links with your fellow readers?


By Husman Ahmed, Justsayplease


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