Version 2.0

Bottom Line: Recommend!

Long before the App Store, Snapture by SnaptureLabs was the premier camera app for jailbroken iPhones. Even back then, Snapture had features that camera apps in The Store are only now catching up to. Of course, being free at the time of the constraints of Apple’s approved APIs probably helped. My friends were jealous of the true digital zoom and the level guide that I was able to use in my camera.

Among the many innovative features that Snapture-Jailbroken had was a true digital zoom. Unlike nearly all of the camera apps available currently in the App Store, Snapture has always had full-resolution digital zoom, not in-camera cropping. While resampling your images to a higher resolution is never the ideal solution, I find the results better than the small 400×300 pixel images most digital zoom apps produce. Until BitWink’s Zoom Lens was released, Snapture-Jailbroken was my standard for an iPhone app digital zoom.

With the iPhone OS 3.1 update, Snapture quickly and mysteriously disappeared from Cydia and I thought I’d lost the app forever. A couple of days later, Snapture Version 1.0 appeared in the App Store and there was much rejoicing! Although it was missing several of the features that made Snapture-Jailbroken so cool, it was still retained nearly all of the really cool features, adding new ones and “legitimacy” greatly improved the stability and performance of the app. Snapture is a rock-solid app.

Snapture 2.0 for iPhone now has tap-to-focus for iPhone 3GS

Snapture 2.0 now has tap-to-focus for iPhone 3GS

Snapture 2.0 was just released. It restores even more features of Snapture-Jailbroken 3.0 and adds more new features as well as compatibility for the 3GS. This update improves upon the features released with version 1.0.

Snapture is one of the more full-featured and robust camera apps in the store. The digital zoom is great. The 5X digital zoom resamples your images up to full resolution. The zoom doesn’t have the image enhancement that Zoom Lens has, but it’s still a vast improvement over digital zooms that are merely in-app cropping. If you use the digital zoom at around 2x or so just to get in a little closer, you should be pleased with the results.

Snapture’s high speed burst mode captures 3 images in rapid succession. It’s one of the faster burst modes in an iPhone camera app and both this feature and the digital zoom make Snapture a worthwhile purchase. Images in burst mode are saved at full resolution, which many camera apps with burst mode do not do. I keep Snapture on my iPhone specifically for this feature alone — it’s that good.

There is an optional Auto-Save. Snapture also has a unique picture-in-picture preview which shows onscreen thumbnails of up to 4 of your last images shot. These previews are actually very powerful. Without leaving Snapture, one gesture takes produces a sub-menu where can email, delete and now in version 2.0 you can also post them to Facebook or Twitter. With Auto-Save turned off, there is an onscreen button that keeps tabs of the images you shoot and allows you to save them all at once. If you quit out of Snapture before the images are saved, Snapture holds them in a buffer and allows you to complete the save the next time you open the app. A badge on Snapture’s Springboard icon reminds you of how many images it’s holding to save. This is a great feature for those of us who sometimes lose images after forgetting that third party apps aren’t allowed to save our images as quickly as Apple’s Camera app.

Snapture does a lot of its magic onscreen. Snapture is the original “Big Button” camera — the entire screen is the shutter release, which saves you the trouble of fumbling for a tiny shutter release button. Instead of the traditional shutter release which you can press, hold and release to help steady the camera during shooting, Snapture features a unique onscreen TouchZone that you can press, hold and release. You can slide your finger out of the zone if you change your mind about snapping the picture. It’s different. While I’ve always loved Snapture’s big button, I prefer the standard tiny button for press and hold. To me the TouchZone and sliding my finger off or pressing and hoping is not worth the trouble of shooting an extra picture and later deleting it from my camera roll. As Snapture now supports auto-focus (and the resolutions) of the 3GS, I’m not sure how well TouchZone and auto-focus play together. This feature, like most of Snapture’s features, can be turned off and on from the very nice collapsible toolbar at the bottom of the screen.

Snapture’s viewfinder features a level aid. It’s not a grid, but merely a target in the middle of the viewfinder. It’s oriented to portrait/tall mode and does not adjust or rotate when you shoot images in landscape/wide mode. It features hashmarks and indicators every 90 degrees; it’ll help you level your picture to the frame, but Snapture does not have a composition grid that many of the newer apps feature. In future updates, I’d like to see an optional composition grid in addition to the target and I’d like to see the target rotate 90 degrees when the camera is rotated.

Snapture 2.0 restores most of Snapture-Jailbroken’s image effects — Sepia, Black & White and Inverse. The sepia is a good shade and the black & white filter produces good results. The original image is not saved along with the processed image, so if you want a color version of that really cool looking B&W you just shot, you’re better off working in Color mode and using other apps to post-process your images. For in-camera snapshots these filters produce results that are better than most.

One feature from the jailbroken version that has not yet made it back is using the iPhone’s volume buttons as a shutter release. Pressing an actual button made the iPhone feel more like a camera and I hope this feature finds its way back into the app soon. With Snapture’s superior digital zoom, another feature I’d like to see is anti-shake/stabilization. Snapture has never had this and it’s one of the better features in many newer apps such as Camera Genius and ProCamera.

Back in its jailbreak days, Snapture greatly expanded what was possible with the iPhone’s camera. Making the transition to the App Store, it retained much of what made it such a great app and gained the speed and stability that comes with accessing Apple’s new, more developer-friendly API’s. Version 2.0 and the previous updates add both old favorite and great new features.

Snapture is still one of the more innovative camera replacement apps in the store. It’s a camera that will help the casual photographer improve their snapshots and is powerful enough to offer compelling features for an iPhoneographer. I gladly paid $7.99 for it back in the day. On sale now at $1.99 USD, this app is a steal. Snapture is highly recommended for anyone who wants to take better pictures with their iPhone.

App Store link: Snapture