Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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Note: I know very little of photography.

I will be doing some extensive traveling in the coming months in Europe. Since I absolutely need to pack light, I've opted not to purchase a point-and-shoot camera. Instead, I'll simply be using my iPhone 5; I am absolutely aware that this will result in many compromises. However, to minimize this, I would like to know what apps are available for the iPhone that will allow me to take better pictures.

I don't expect to be taking any action shots -- it is still a camera phone after all. But things I will be taking pictures of are:

  • nature scenery (wide shots); I will be visiting some national parks. I will
  • art (in museums, if allowed)

What apps are recommended or what should I look for in an app to take better pictures?

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As an aside, Apple just launched a Photography 101 in the iTunes store... –  John Cavan Aug 9 '13 at 19:53
    
@JohnCavan There are many "Photography 101" on the iTunes store. Which one were you speaking of? –  MarkE Aug 9 '13 at 20:11
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@MarkE This isn't a specific app — it's a curated collection by Apple. (Probably temporary.) –  mattdm Aug 9 '13 at 20:29
    
I was about ready to answer this, but honestly I think this is a duplicate of a previously closed question - Photography Apps –  dpollitt Aug 9 '13 at 20:36
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Is this question about apps to take a picture, additional hardware to use with the iPhone for pictures, post processing images on the iPhone, image stitching on the iPhone, image sharing, how to use the iPhone built in camera app, all of the above? The title makes me think all of the above, but the last line in the detail makes me think just stick with apps to actually take the picture, a single picture. Entire websites are dedicated to picture taking with the iPhone. iTunes has it's own category just for these apps, because so many exist. –  dpollitt Aug 9 '13 at 20:45
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are two that I use semi-regularly:

Camera+ offers some pretty noticeable improvements in features over the main camera app. Some good ones include separated focus and exposure, digital zoom, levels, and more. For $1.99, it's pretty good.

645 PRO MkII has nice features, tries to handle like a dSLR and emulates a number of films out there.

Don't forget Instagram is the king of cellphone shooting.

Also, worth reading tips in How do I get the best results with a cell phone camera?

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You may want a panorama app, since you mentioned wide nature shots. Photosynth is a beautiful app. The iPhone 5 camera has a built in pano feature, but it's very basic and Photosynth does a better job in my experience. And is free.

Snapseed and Photoshop Express are good, free apps if you want to edit any images directly on the phone.

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In addition to the software John Cavan mentioned, you should also look into getting some photography lenses for your iPhone. There are a number of high quality optical lens attachments you can physically add to your phone, to give you additional functional features like zoom, creative optical features like fisheye, etc. You can even get some pretty long telephoto lenses, if that kind of thing fills a need.

You can find a host of these items at Amazon.com in an iPhone Lenses search. Make sure you read the reviews. The way these lenses attach is often an important aspect of the item. Some lenses attach well and are easy to use, some do not attach well and can be a pain to keep on the phone. It should also be noted that these lenses are optical, so they should function for stills or video.

Finally, these items are TINY. A small fraction of the size of the iPhone itself in most cases, and even in the case of some of the larger telephoto lenses, they are still smaller overall than the iPhone. That should make the viable for light weight travel.

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Wow...I just barely posted this...whats with the down vote?? –  jrista Aug 9 '13 at 20:42
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I voted this down because I do not agree that they are high quality options. Half of the linked to examples cost under $10USD, they are not high quality and I would suggest against the use of them. –  dpollitt Aug 9 '13 at 20:44
    
I just linked a search (simply as an IDEA), I had no intention of offering specific examples. There are items that are $10, and items that are $40 or more. I don't own any, so I honestly cannot say how they perform. That said, for some of the higher quality ones, they certainly can't perform worse than the lens built into the phone. I would also point out that quite a few people seem thoroughly satisfied with them, and even if these lenses are not as high quality as you get with a DSLR, they add capabilities to what is otherwise a fixed lens camera phone, which can be useful for travel. –  jrista Aug 9 '13 at 20:46
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"they certainly can't perform worse than the lens built into the phone", I do not agree with. The iPhone 5 has great optics built in, certainly putting something additional in front of that can degrade the quality. I've researched quite a few of the ones available and the quality varies widely. Just sayin, I downvoted because I do not agree. Sorry it was so fast, but we can agree to disagree :-P –  dpollitt Aug 9 '13 at 20:49
    
@dpollitt: "Quality varies widely", yup. I am not offering up any specific lenses. The OP can decide on a high quality one for himself, I am offering an additional avenue of options for making his iPhone his go-to choice for travel photography, which can be done with more than just software. I would dispute the notion that every single one of the lenses out of 20 pages worth is unworthy of even being mentioned as an option. –  jrista Aug 9 '13 at 20:52
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