Leme Camera is back with yet another revision, but unlike the update that prompted Marty to give them a justified smackdown last spring (while I lambasted it elsewhere) this update is a decided improvement that brought Leme Camera back onto my dock.
What’s New (& Awesome)
- Background processing! Leme Camera now has a 9 photo buffer that lets you keep snapping rather than waiting for each photo to process. Given how cumbersome the user experience for reviewing and saving a photo was this is a HUGE improvement.
- Always high resolution. Every photo is saved in full resolution, so the twitchy UI toggle that always reset itself to small photos is gone. Instead full res images are saved within the app, while “sharing” size images are saved to the camera roll automatically.
- Leaner, meaner download size. Leme Camera has trimmed some fat and is down to under 20 megs (hello 3G downloads!). This is accomplished by only including the default camera (plus all lenses and frames) in the initial download. You can optionally download some or all other cameras for free.
- Ugly frames are gone. The postage stamp and other hideous frames that were introduced in the last incarnation of Leme Camera have been removed. Total frame options have been reduced, but the remaining frames are all quite attractive. This release even introduces a “no frame” option.
- Re-vamped UI. The generaly layout is the same, but the screens within the app’s own camera roll and sharing options have a new look and feel. The “Leme Wall” social sharing network also includes some great search options, useful if you’re looking for inspiration or just to get a feel for a specific lens without snapping a ton of trial photos yourself.
What’s Still Great
- The filters. I will admit a bias here, as I am a huge fan of Lomo-type effects in general. The lenses in Leme Camera offer a great range of tones and colours, and include a couple lovely black & white choices. If you’re a new user I recommend shooting in random mode for a while, or spending a bit of time surfing the Leme Wall to get the flavour of the various lenses.
- Tap to focus & expose. Single tap to select a focus point, and double-tap to select a separate exposure point. After having all the Hipstamatic shots I took on the St. Lawrence River this past weekend dramatically underexpose everything but the sky I have a whole new level of appreciation for manual exposure control.
What’s (Still) Annoying
- Exporting photos to the camera roll. Yay, every photo is saved in full resolution. But… only the “sharing size” is saved to the camera roll by default. You’ll have to manually export photos one-by-one if you want max res on your camera roll.
- Instability and crashes. While exporting my photos Leme Camera crashed a couple times on me. Better during export than capture, but it’s still a hassle that slows down an already awkward process. The real downside is that if Leme Camera crashes during an export in some cases the photo data was corrupted and subsequent exports were incomplete.
- General slowness. Navigating the UI and changing options feels sluggish. Part of that is no doubt due to my old iPhone 3GS, but even allowing for hardware the app moves slowly compared to several other “toy camera” type apps with similar graphical UIs and options (such as Hipstamatic and ClassicTOY).
Should you give Leme Camera a shot? (Horrible pun definitely intended.) Absolutely.It’s free and includes multiple cameras such as “standard” square format, action samplers, fisheye, light leak and colour splash. This newest version removes most of the frustration of using the app as a camera rather than simply post-processing your photos in it, and the filters are very nicely rendered.
If for some reason you liked the previous version and are on the fence about the update, you can snag its clone Leme Camera-Caribbean and have access to the older version (complete with wider selection of frames).
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.