Photo App Review: CamCam

Version: 1.1
Price: $2.99

Rating 3 1/2 stars

Bottom Line: Good, but not very good. Great looking filters for both stills and video. Supports full-res. Needs more frames. It’s not a fast app.

Camera+Camcorder = CamCam. I get it. Catchy name. And I like the icon.

CamCam is a new effects camera from CnC with 30 film, camera and color effects and 7 frames. See below for a list of all 30 effects. All effects preview in speedy realtime, which is pretty cool. The rest of the app doesn’t feel as snappy, but it’s still an interesting app.

CamCam has 30 different film and color effects. You can either swipe through them onscreen or choose them from a pop up menu — complete with a live preview. The live preview gives you a splitscreen-style look at several effects at once.

The effects are named after an impressive collection of retro analog cameras, including many that aren’t often found in photo apps, such as the SMENA Symbol, Luvitel 166+, as well as the standard Holga and Diana cameras. There are several vintage looks as well, as well as several other color tweaks. It’s a good collection of effects. Overall, effects are what you’d expect from a retro camera, but a few effects to me are less accurate than others in digitally recreating their analog counterparts. For instance, photographs I’ve seen from a real-world SMENA aren’t nearly as sepia-heavy…. Some of the filters aren’t accurate “recreations” per se, but more like “tributes.”

Colors are good, though. They’re rich and nicely saturated. Some of the filters even have really cool randomly applied dust, grain and scratches.

Frames are well rendered. Sadly, there are only seven of them. I hope future updates add a greater variety of frames to match the effects.

All effects and all frames are available on all three cameras — rear, front and video. Video, when using one of the filters, even has a retro 8mm style flickering frame which looks good, especially for video, but adds a little needed randomness to the stills as well.

CamCam is slow slow. It takes a few seconds longer to load than most photo apps. Refresh time is pretty long, too. On my iPhone 4, refresh time was about 5 seconds between snaps — despite the fact that CamCam buffers images to complete processing in the background. Also, the app was sometimes cranky, sometimes locking up while processing a large video.

The separate focus and exposure targets are a little crankier than other apps. I didn’t really figure it out so much as I got lucky when I was able to get a lock. Target locks don’t stick when you change filters.

Also, it’s a camera only. You can’t load images from your camera roll to take advantage of its great filters. CamCam saves to its own library, much in the same way Camera+ does. I like that particular workflow as it lets me thin out images and helps to reduce camera roll clutter.

CamCam supports full 5MP iPhone 4 resolution and saves a bunch of EXIF data. The onscreen controls adjust to any orientations, making CamCam compatible with any iPhone tripod available, including the left-handed Gymbl tripod.

It’s fun but flawed. The filters look good and I like the live preview. It’s not a fast shooter. I don’t think it was intended to be. Like many of the classic Lo-Fi and toy cameras it mimics. For some, it might not be worth the three dollars. For others, it’s a fun diversion.

We’ll keep an eye on this one and let you know if it goes on sale.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Requires iOS 4.1 or later.

CamCam - CnC


Baby Face effect
Darken effect
Color Dodge effect
Faded effect
Text effect
Cross Process effect
Redscale effect
Lomographic effect
Goth effect
Duo Sepia effect
Silver Gelatin effect
Diana effect
Kieb 16a effect
Ronda effect
SMENA 35 effect
HOLGA effect
Luvitel 166+ effect
Aqua Sapphire effect
Nashville effect
Early Bird effect
Newage effect
Skyline effect
Cyanotype effect
1920 effect
XPro effect
Super 8mm effect
‘70s effect
Golden Age effect
Pinhole effect

Full Frame
Square frame
White frame
Date frame
Vignetting frame
Flickering frame


About Marty Yawnick 1826 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Steve

    why, why, why do people still insist on camera only apps? next to useless if you can't load from camera roll. Worst offender – Hipstamatic, just so they can charge double for the ok-ish but far too fussy Swank-o-matic…

  • I think you're missing the point of Hipstamatic Steve.

  • Steve

    Not really…it's a great app, and I do use it from time to time. Perfectly good filters which you need to fiddle about with and whoops…the moment has passed, opportunity missed OR you use the random filter, photo turns out rubbish, again too late moment has passed. Each filter suits a certain type of picture, I'm all for the random-lucky-shot-old-skool approach but is it really asking too much to add in an import from camera roll option to compliment this? And final thought – try using it at night…

    • SME

      No, you really are missing the point of the Hipstamatic. The random chance IS the point. If you apply a filter afterwards, you're retouching. If you're doing it as you take the photo, it's a much closer approximation of the toy camera "wonder what'll happen next?" experience. It's fine that you're not a fan of the Hipstamatic approach – it's certainly not for everyone. But as they explicitly state on their website, to do what you're suggesting defeats the entire point of the experience.

      • I tend to agree with SME. I'll edit a Hipsta shot further in some cases (the same way I'd play with a film negative from an analog toy camera in a darkroom). The one thing that drives me nuts about Hipstamatic, though, is lack of tap to focus/expose. I didn't get a single useable shot from Hipstamatic while boating the St. Lawrence on Labour Day weekend because it opted to expose for the sky rather than the rest of the shot. Sad times.

        Marty's right about CamCam's tap to focus/expose being kind of clunky, but the fact that it exists at all is lovely.

  • Rob

    Did you say this app give a live preview? In other words, are we seeing the effect when taking a shot? That’s a huge plus.

    It drives me crazy when every camera app creates its own image library. I hate when trying to sync my iPhone with my Mac, I have to go into all sorts of different apps first to find and move my photos.

    • Hey Rob. There's a setting to save to both the internal lightbox & the phone's camera roll. That's the option I use for both CamCam and Camera+ (that way if I totally bugger up an edit within the app I still have a pristine version on my camera roll).

  • vsrus

    This is a great app. I played with it for hours after downloading it. I love the filters and effects. I have hundreds of photo apps on my iPhone 4, and this gets a place in my top fifteen for sure.

  • It’s on sale now for $.99.

  • Anna

    could anyone help?
    is there an error for my camcam app
    as I can’t preview the actual image in camera mode
    it’s all dark @@”
    but fine for video mode!!!!!