Camera+ updated. We waited 5 months for this?

camera plus, camera+, tap tap tapTo clear up any confusion, this post is mostly about Camera+ for iPhone. I hope to cover the new Camera+ for iPad in a separate post soon.

Since its release, Camera+ by tap tap tap has spent most of its time in the App Store at or near the very top of the charts in the Photo and Video category. Until this update, the quality of this app warranted this success.

After five months, Camera+ has finally been updated. We’ll all download it, but overall it’s a very disappointing update for me. I expected more from a half-a-version update from this app.

Old Camera+ version 3.1 viewfinder
Longer, thinner, Camera+ version 3.5 viewfinder

The biggest problem for me in this update is the new, longer viewfinder. When I saw that Camera+ was updated for the larger screen of the iPhone 5, I cringed a little bit inside but thought that surely the developers of Camera+ wouldn’t make the same mistake that Apple did with the updated Camera app.

Sadly, my fears were justified. Camera+ has the same, thinner, inaccurate viewfinder that Camera has, making it useless for precision in-app cropping and framing on an iPhone 5. The aspect ratio of the Camera+ viewfinder is the same as Apple Camera’s — almost 3:2. iPhone 5 images, including those shot with Camera+ are still the less elongated 4:3. This means you won’t see everything you shoot. Surprise — that means you get unwanted objects on the long edges of your image. This problem could be easily fixed by adding a matte bar to the top of the viewfinder.

The viewfinder is still close enough for snapshots where precise composition isn’t critical. But a lot of iPhoneographers use Camera+ and they’ll either need to shoot around the viewfinder, crop their images a lot, or use another camera app.

Camera+ viewfinder is still accurate on iPhone 4S and older devices.

There are really no new features to get excited about if you don’t have an iPad. The new iCloud sync only works with another copy of Camera+ on another device using your iCloud login, including iPad or a second iPhone. It won’t otherwise automatically sync to your iCloud Photo Stream. The new larger screen of the iPhone 5 really doesn’t give you that much more room to work with.

There’s still a lot to like about the app. It’s still got the same great workflow. The new version is very fast, but I’m not sure how much of the speed gains for me are because of the faster hardware of the iPhone 5. VolumeSnap is still there — Apple hasn’t required the feature to be removed yet.

I really liked Camera+ and used to recommend it as an excellent camera replacement app, but the new, inaccurate viewfinder kills it for me for the iPhone 5. The rest of the update is pretty lackluster. This should have been just an unexciting maintenance update.

In short, there are no new killer features (unless you have the iPad version as well) and the viewfinder is now broken. I won’t be using Camera+ as a camera app until it’s fixed. If you’re using an iPhone 4S, 4 or older, version 3.5 should work great for you and will feel pretty much like the same version you’re shooting with now. I don’t recommend this update for iPhone 5 owners.

If you need help reverting back to the previous version, you can find it here.

Camera+ is on sale now for only $0.99. Its regular price is $1.99. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Camera+ - tap tap tap



UPDATE: Added note about clarifying the focus of this post. =M=

About Marty Yawnick 1808 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.
  • @michelleist

    Well, I have the same impression about this update. It seems the innovation is gone for a while now. They more concentrated on the iPad version, where I ask how many people really take pictures with an iPad?? If not the standard Apple camrea app I do recommend Procamera app which is currently not optimised for iPhone 5 screen but they release regularly updates and will fix this soon!

  • @robertpaul

    What is there to update when the app is working and has no bugs? It's really a great service of devs to regurlary update an app with new features. This means once you paid $ 0.99 you get lifetime support and new versions for free.

    Camera+ is a great app and didn't need an update (I don't own an iPhone 5, wrong ratio would really be annoying).

    TapTapTap has made an iPad app which is working very well and iCloud support with it to get those iPhone photos from iPhone to iPad. iCloud is a drag and needs a lot of work to get around bugs and to get it to work. I've heard this from several devs already.

    The iPad app has got some really nice new features like straightening, red-eye removal, exposure, brightness, contrast and saturation controls, layers, brushes, etcetera. Too bad this wasn't mentioned in the review.

    Also, if you know TapTapTap a bit, you'd know they constantly improve their app and I can't imagine they won't implement the same features as the iPad version in new iPhone versions as well. For free.

    • Miki

      I feel a bit cheated that the iPad version has some exclusive versions that the iPhone version does not. I think I understand the reasoning behind such an exclusion (perhaps more room to work on an iPad?), but I always hate it when developers do that. Just because I own an iPhone does not mean I own an iPad, or want to edit on an iPad.

      Also, while I wasn't expecting anything too major from Camera+ in this update, I am disappointed that the viewfinder is now inaccurate. Camera+ was a perfect app, now it's regressed a little!

    • lifeinlofiblog

      Hi, RP,

      Just to be fair, this post only really concerns the iPhone version of the app. I have another post in the works covering the iPad version.

      I'm in agreement with Zouny below. We've been teased for 5 months about a killer update to Camera+ and what iPhone users got a few days ago is pretty "meh" overall.

      For me, it was a mistake for Apple to release a Camera with an inaccurate viewfinder. It's inexcusable for third-party app developers to follow suit.There is absolutely no reason for the digital viewfinder of a digital camera to not show everything that's in frame.

      Otherwise, I'd have been fine with this update, despite the overall lack of new features.


      • @robertpaul


        Haven't even seen an iPhone 5 "live" but I totally agree on the inaccurate viewfinder.

        And the updates for the iPhone app are small, especially when you don't have an iPad. But iCloud is the right step into the future and a great way to link the iPad and iPhone app. Good thing you are making a seperate post about the iPad app.


  • @leosia

    I agree with @robertpaul For me this is a great update because suddenly all my Lightbox photos are available on my iPad to edit. For the extra cost of $1 it's s a steal. I never take photos with an iPad, but editing photos taken on an iPhone which appear within seconds is superb.

  • Constance

    The one thing I've been hoping for in a Camera+ update is the ability to adjust the strength of the clarity. Often it is just a tad too strong and would be perfect if it could be toned down. Sadly, it still isn't there. ;(

    • AlanH

      Amen!! I sent taptaptap an e-mail shortly after Clarity was introduced suggesting that they include an intensity slider for this effect. I'm sure many others have asked for same, too. How hard could it be? After all, they have an intensity slider on so many effects it's obviously something they know how to do! :) But, we all keep waiting…

    • Josh Hofer

      I have left comments on their blog posts suggesting this, @replied to the main Twitter account as well as the developers accounts, and sent an email to support also suggesting this same thing when Clarity came out. Never heard a single thing from them, only heard more people agreeing with us that controlling the strength is a great idea. Not holding my breath for this ha

  • @zouny1

    I’ve expressed the same opinion elsewhere. I feel they dropped the ball on this one! They’ve been teasing for 5 months as stated above about big updates that camera+ users are going to love, then implement them only for the iPad! I don’t believe it’s a matter of more screen real estate at all. I think it’s a shameless money grab to get people to buy another version of the app. Surely at least the adjustment features could have been implemented into the iPhone app! Especially when so many others already have them you can’t say it’s not feasible! When King Camera came out with an update that new users had to pay for but established users got for free, they were crucified, and that’s an all in one shooting and editing package. Yet taptaptap totally forget about the iPhone users( we don’t all have nor want an iPad) and even if you do you have to buy the app again! That’s a much lamer business model than King Camera were slaughtered for! Why the double standard? Yes it was and still is a decent app, but most of the features introduced could easily have been put into the phone app, and it would have blown the competion away! If we’re going to call out other developers for money grabs, it should be across the board…not just the less popular ones!

  • Fredrik Nilsson

    @RobertPaul, I normally agree 100% with you, but in this case I honestly haven’t got a clue what you talk about. I don’t want to offend you, so I’m sorry if I seem rude.

    I haven’t got an iPhone 5, so the ratio problem was new for me. My main critiscism is that the app lacks several stuff that I believe you can expect from a “one app for the entire editing process” app. Some examples of functions that I believe you can expect are straighten, post to Instagram, grain and adjustable vignette. Even VSCO Cam has the majority of the functions, despite primarily being a colour adjustment app. If I want to use Camera+ I almost always has to use some other app to fill the “gap” (adding unwanted noise due to having to save in JPG one extra time).

    When they released a request on Twitter for experienced iPhoneographers, I didn’t expect the update to be this lame. The iCloud update is great even on one device (it helped me through the iOS6 update), but did they really need the help from guys like Sion Fullana to test it?

    Besides, prior to the last couple of updates Camera+ was the app the other apps tried to emulate. Now Camera+ is always a few updates after the other. When you speak to experienced iPhoneographers they usually state 645 Pro, ProCamera or Mattebox as the best camera at the moment. When King Camera was released some time ago Camera+ was the app to beat.

    • @robertpaul

      thanks for the reply, and don't worry I am not offended that fast 😉

      I am one of the betatesters for this app, and we were asked to test the iPad app and the iCloud feature in the iPhone app. I don't agree that Camera+ is always a few updates behind other apps. The iCloud feature is working great and can be a great help for people with an iPhone and iPad.

      And like I said, the iPhone app didn't get a great update this time, but it's working great for me, like it has done last two years. And like I said, taptaptap allways have been the company with the new features and options and I don't think this will stop when they release an iPad app.

  • Fredrik Nilsson

    @Constance If you want to have a slider for the clarity filter, here’s a work around:

    1. Add clarity to an image.
    2. Save it to the camera roll.
    3. Open an app that allows image blending (for example, DXP, Photoforge2, Filterstorm or Image Blender).
    4. Blend the filtered image with the unfiltered image, using the normal blend mode.
    5. The layer opacity now acts as a form of effect slider.

    • Constance

      Thanks, Fredrik! That is what I have done and it works fine. Just wish it could be done within Camera+. And, I like to add some of the other Camera+ filters on occasion and it would be nice to have the ability to do both in one trip to Camera+. I was hopeful when they added the intensity slider to the effects filters that it wouldn't be that big of a leap to include it for the clarity adjustment. 😉

  • Daniel Winn

    I notice something that previous paid filters (I luv Analog) are free now. Is it update on recent 3.5 version?

  • Barbara

    You are correct Fredrik, I have done that very thing using image blender, works great

  • Rob

    "Sadly, my fears were justified. Camera+ has the same, thinner, inaccurate viewfinder that Camera has, making it useless for precision in-app cropping and framing on an iPhone 5. "

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks those details matter. I like Camera+. No other app has such fast and easy to use focus and exposure selection. It's a joy to shoot with, but hoe lee cow do I hate the editing side. I save photos directly to the camera roll. When it comes to editing, I don't want a silly lightbox. I want to choose a shot from the camera roll and edit the thing. But Camera+ wants me to use it like it's iPhoto or Aperture for the Mac, with its own library to work in. I hate that workflow. I can't believe how many extra steps there are just to open a photo to edit.

    I really hope they fix the viewfinder issue soon. I'd be thrilled if they also eliminated the lightbox for those of us who save to the camera roll (leaving the lightbox for those who save to it), but I doubt that'll ever happen. I suspect Tap Tap Tap thinks having a lightbox somehow makes their app more "professional." I think it's needless clicks with a poorly designed UI.

  • Fredrik Nilsson

    Regarding the Lightbox, I think you are missing two important points:

    1. The editing in the Lightbox doesn’t change the picture until you export the image. That means that you can play around, without having to say a lot of version.

    2. The image in the Lightbox doesn’t suffer from JPG compression noise with each save (unless you export the image).

    That means that you lose some of the point with using Camera+ buying skipping the Lightbox. If I were to use the camera the way you use it, I would probably prefer Camera Genius.

  • Rob

    I understand all that. My main gripe is that I hate how many steps it takes to get to edit a photo with Camera+. I want to click a photo thumbnail and immediately be taken to an editor rather than taken to a page of other thumbnail. That workflow is needlessly click intensive to get to the point where you can edit a photo. It makes sense for those who save to the lightbox. But for those who save to the camera roll, it doesn't. The actual process of editing with Camera+ is fine, but the lightbox itself is an annoyance. I love shooting with Camera+, but I never edit with it. If I'm going to go through that many clicks to get to the editing page, I might as well open a better editing app (which is exactly what I do).

    The reason I don't save to a lightbox is that I shoot with many different apps. I don't want to deal with having to remember which app I used to take which photos. I want them all in one unified camera roll, and I'm glad Camera+ offers that as an option.

  • platinumveil

    I'm disappointed that none of the iPad only editing features are available in the iPhone version, but then I always got the impression that Camera+ was designed for casual photographers who would use shooting modes instead of manual controls on a DSLR, so perhaps the developers don't see it as a priority. Going by the comments on iTunes, their customers are happy with the small selection of filters they offer and don't miss "real" editing tools like brightness, exposure etc. Hopefully if the iPad version becomes popular enough they will consider adding those tools to the iPhone version as well. Until then, the only use I have for Camera+ Lightbox sync is when I shoot all day and don't upload my photos until later, but I rarely have time for that. Most of my editing is done on the spot on my phone with half a dozen different apps.

  • @zouny1

    I don’t believe they will make the changes available
    for iPhone. What they’ve done essentially is make it so
    older users have to pay again for the app. I wouldn’t mind
    paying more for these upgrades if they were at least universal.
    I get the feeling if they release these updates for the phone, you’ll
    have to pay for THEM again as well. That’s a pretty hefty
    money spinner for them! And I’ll say it again, but King Camera
    was criticized with its last update for showing scant regard to its old
    users, even though they didn’t have to pay for the new update,yet camera+
    is making everyone pay again and no one seems to bat an eyelid at it.
    And as mentioned above by Josh, I also have sent them countless queries and have
    not had one single response from them! Compare that with the King Camera guys who’ve
    answered every querie I’ve sent them, most times within the hour and you’ll start to see
    why I’m so cynical now about taptaptap! I don’t mind paying for developers to continue updating
    the apps I use, but I expect not to be ignored in the support department.
    To me it seems like a lot of developers lately foster a relationship with what they perceive are
    the “big” names in iphonography, and completely ignore the rest of us, but its those thousands of
    “Rest of us” that have made them all they’re money!
    Shame on you taptaptap. You’ve lost my support on this one…and your not the only top notch
    alternative in the App Store anymore.

  • @macounette

    I fully agree. I'm also disappointed by this update, and since I'm about to switch to an iPhone 5, Camera+ is losing its interest for me (and for many iphoneographers out there).

    Personally, I would have hoped for a couple of necessary adjustments such as an intensity slider for Clarity, new or improved filters and, most of all, the ability to do some manual photo editing (curves, brightness, saturation, highlight/darkness, white balance, exposure…). This would truly make Camera+ stand out of the crowd – for beginners and advanced users alike.

    I still consider Camera+ to be a very good app and use it essentially for photo editing (together with a couple other apps). But beware, taptaptap ! You're "sleeping on the crowns of your success", as we say it in my part of the world. Don't get blinded by the fact that you guys make a great app – others are already catching up. Listen to your users.

    • @macounette

      Addendum: I don't own the iPad application (yet). But it seems that some of my requests are taken into account in the iPad version, so I'm looking forward to it.

      Actually, I bought an iPad because I wanted to be able to edit my photos on a larger screen. But so far I've kept my editing mostly to the iPhone because e.g. Camera+ was not available. By implementing their own cloud-based storage which works across devices this could really be an interesting feature. I'll go and test the iPad version before giving my definitive appraisal! 😉