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Home » Reviews

Photo App Review: CameraBag 2 Is One of the Best Freemium Apps Available

Submitted by on December 20, 2012 – 12:02 am 16 Comments

camerabag 2

CameraBag 2
Version reviewed: 2.0.0
Price: Free, with an in-app upgrade

Rating 4 stars. It's very good!

Bottom Line: Highly recommended. One of the best “free” apps available. An available Pro upgrade significantly improves an already great app

camerabag 2 for iPhoneCameraBag was the original, premium iPhoneography app. It was the first photo app with a full set of filters that replicated several different camera, film and paper styles.

The app has been updated. The update is so significant that it’s an entirely new app. CameraBag 2 is the successor to the original CameraBag. It’s now also a “freemium” photo app, but it’s excellent as is without any add ons. Without the upgrade, it’s a fantastic app on its own, but you may still want to keep a copy of the original handy.

The original CameraBag was the very first photo effects that really got me excited about iPhoneography. With the camera on my original iPhone 2G, it was really nice having a camera with me at all times to capture images and moments that would otherwise be lost. But CameraBag was the first photo app I had that applied really cool effects to my images. It was the first photo app that made me start to realize the potential of the iPhone as a camera and creative device.

camerabag2-screen-01-1212

CameraBag 2 borrows many of the same filters and looks from its predecessor, a few frames from its cousin Infinicam, and adds many great new looks of its own. The app now comes standard with 23 presets, most of which replicate vintage and current analog film styles. There’s also a Basics setting which lets you manually apply several effects to the raw image. for $1.99, you can upgrade to Pro and get over 30 more.

CameraBag 2 has much more functionality than its predecessor. You can adjust the intensity of each filter as well as several other settings for each effect. There are also several crop and frame styles that Classic CameraBag doesn’t have.

Like CameraBag and Infinicam, the filters and looks are incredible. The classic effects are authentic looking recreations. Many of the newer effects like Blueburn, Forest, and Slide look like cross-processed film. Others look like LOMO variations. There are a few new retro film styles as well. And that’s just in the basic, free version.

CameraBag 2 sports a new hi-fidelity 32-bit rendering engine that is supposed to reduce the banding in gradations that are found in many other photo apps. Although many of the effects are very much lo-fi, images pop. Colors are vivid and lush, contrasts are stark. The effects look like the films and print styles they were created to emulate.

The app is more powerful than the classic version, but is still easy to use. Tools are hidden away with flyaway access from the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. CameraBag 2 gives you way more editing options than the previous version has. All of them are customized and relevant to the current preset.

Many of CameraBag 2's Pro filters

Many of CameraBag 2′s Pro filters

The Pro upgrade not only includes over 30 more filters and borders, but also lets you save customized looks like Infinicam’s presets and gives you the ability to import styles from the desktop version of CameraBag. The additional film styles of the Pro upgrade are worth the two dollars alone. There’s a greater assortment of vintage photo styles as well as a very nice selection of retro analog film recreations. On of the best is the Leaky Helga which combines excellent lofi retro color and tones, great vignette, and killer randomized light leaks.

The Pro upgrade also restores the excellent randomizer that the original CameraBag has. After upgrading, many of the filters, including the standard ones, let you tap the screen to randomize subtle details of shading, vignettes, light leaks and other qualities, helping to make each image unique. Both of these extended features make the upgrade well worth the purchase.

If you’re not planning to upgrade, you might want to keep the Classic CameraBag on your iPhone. Several of the original versions filters are only available as part of the Pro upgrade.

CameraBag 2 supports the full 8MP resolution of the latest iPhones. There is a bug (or a feature) that only saves up to 4MP when adding a frame to the image. The app strips out EXIF data including Geotags.

Even without the Pro upgrade, CameraBag 2 is one of the best free apps available in the App Store. This is a full-featured app; there’s nothing limited about it. There are no banner ads and very few subtle nudges — more like reminders — to get you to upgrade. The upgrade adds a lot of function and value and is reasonably priced. This is the model that all freemium apps should follow.

The original CameraBag is still available in the App Store for the same $1.99 that gives you so much more in this latest version. No word on how long the original version will be supported. Quite honestly, any functionality that didn’t make it to the upgrade (I couldn’t find any) shouldn’t be missed with all the great new features the app now has.

I have a nostalgic soft spot for Classic CameraBag, but CameraBag 2 gets me excited about the app all over again.

CameraBag 2 is free and comes very nicely stocked. There’s a $1.99 in-app purchase that adds even more to the app. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + 4G, iPad (4th generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4th generation), iPad mini and iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

CameraBag 2 - Nevercenter Ltd. Co.

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camerabag2-screen-03-1212

camerabag2-sample-02-1212

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Marty Yawnick

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.

  • Digital Artist

    Very impressive iPhoneography app!!!

    The company released some really nice creative stuff, a must have for the toolbox.

    • Debendra

      I have bought camerabag2 software 2 on 12 Oct 2013 and today
      is 22 Oct 2013, since 12th oct I am doing following up with support
      people because I am not able to use it due application error.

      First time when I sent email with my issue then their
      support has replied back very quickly with their standard email, uninstall and
      install the application.

      After wards I am sending email with “any updates” , “please
      look into” & “ money back” but not getting any response from CameraBag2
      people (support@nevercenter.com).

      Hence its my suggestion thing 10 times before buying this
      software.

      Regards

      Debendra

  • Brandon

    The randomizer, or remix, button is present even without the Pro upgrade.

  • Pepijn

    Yes, finally, tres cool!

  • Miki

    really loving this. and the IAP is definitely worth the money!

  • http://vintageseason.com M. David Blake

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone compiled a list of iOS photo apps that use 32-bit rendering? Aside from this one, I know Mattebox does, and I suspect 645Pro does (although I haven’t it, so I can’t say for sure…), but other than those two I’m not certain of which other go-to apps might qualify.

  • http://twitter.com/smlombardi @smlombardi

    The Pro pack is more than worth the $1.99, and it's good to support developers so we should all buy it.

  • Luxtra

    I bought it! :) Loved the original CameraBag and love 2 even more!!

  • MiniBlueDragon

    SOO tempted to in-app purchase this. Problem is despite never having removed CameraBag (original) since it was first released I still rarely over-process images now. I tend to prefer subtle boosts on a regular image, e.g. 1 or 2 steps up/down in VSCO Cam's editing suite. I do occasionally play with excessive filters though so maybe in the new year.

    • Miki

      There is a slider so you can apply more or less of the filter to your photo, so you can always choose between too much and too little! A lot of the filters include din the IAP are really nice :)

  • http://twitter.com/skiphunt @skiphunt

    @Marty, I have the original Camerabag and like what they've done with Camerabag2. But I see there's no Camerabag2 for iPad, but there is for the original Camerabag. So, if I buy the upgrade to Camerabag2, will I have everything that the original Camerabag offered and can delete it?

    Also, do you know if they're going to update Camerabag2 universal with a layout for iPad? Or, are they going to release another version of Camerbag2 for ipad that would have to be purchased separately? If this yet another milking scheme, ie. instead of just updating an existing app, release a "2" version as a new purchase, then milk it again for the iPad… I think I'll bail out on this app. I don't new revenue streams from an app that's already been purchased once, but some of these devs start nickel and dimeing to the point you wish you'd never supported them to begin with.

    • Miki

      On their twitter feed they said the iPad version will be released later. It will be paid and feature all the pro features of the iPhone version. I believe the iPad version is under review.

  • http://www.iphoneart.com/users/995/galleries?page=2 gara

    QUESTION— I’ve updated several apps at various times that we’re supposed to be the bomb….then I’m disappointed and end up deleting them and wasting money if it was a paid version.
    Does this new CameraBag delete the old one when it loads? I’m rather attached to the old one because I used it a lot on my 2G… like the reviewer did…& said how he discovered what possibilities this new iPhone had!!

    • Miki

      Camerabag and Camerabag2 are two different apps, so downloading one will not affect the other.

      • gara

        Thanks Miki.

  • muddyh20

    purchased this app for my mac pro….love it….is there a process to connect/transfer the app to my mini without repurchase?