Camera Genius
Version 2.0

Rating 3 1/2 stars

Bottom Line: Once the best camera replacement app available, others have now surpassed it in features. Still a very good camera.

Camera Genius

Camera Genius by CodeGoo hit version 2.0 this week. Overall, Camera Genius has been a solid app for me, this update included. The version 2.0 update adds video for iPhone 2G and 3G. Unfortunately, I think Camera Genius has been leapfrogged by ProCamera and Camera Plus Pro in terms of functionality, features, power and usability. It’s still a very good app and it does many things well. If it’s your camera app of choice, you’ll be pleased with this update. But despite its features, it now lags behind other camera apps currently available.

What I think of Camera Genius’ big new feature, video for all iPhones, is below. Read on.

Camera Genius, iPhone, Video

Camera Genius 2.0 menu

Camera Genius still has all of the core features that I’d liked about it in the past. The user-selectable gridlines, “big button full-screen shutter, and excellent anti-shake features haven’t been changed. Controls are easily accessible from the menu and the app is easy to use. Camera Genius is still one of the fastest third-party camera replacements available.

Burst-mode now saves at full-resolution 1200×1600 pixels on my 2G. For an iPhone app, it’s an amazingly fast burst mode and the background saving puts it second only to Gorillcam in terms of “reload” speed.

Unlike a recent update of ProCamera, the zoom feature still hasn’t been fixed. It’s still in-app cropping. It’s user-switchable and I simply turn mine off.

I really like that Camera Genius still isn’t bloated down with filters that don’t work as well as free or inexpensive apps they are supposed to replace, such as software “flash”, sepia, etc. The focus (if you will) of Camera Genius is still on taking pictures and getting the best image possible in the camera before you move it to your editing app of choice. It’s a get-down-to-business camera app and I really like that it’s not strayed from that.

The big new feature is the addition of video for iphone 2G and 3G — models which lack video capability out of the box. It lookss that CodeGoo has merged the components of their app Video Genius into Camera Genius.

Back in February, Camera Plus Pro added video support for older iPhones, so one would think that having this lead, Camera Genius’ video feature would at least be on par. There are differences, and depending on how you use the video, you may feel that Camera Genius’ lags behind in features and quality.

The controls and menus are familiar and intuitive for users of previous versions of Camera Genius. Video mode is accessed through the menu. There are two video modes — Normal and Long video recording, which uses a lower frame rate. Both frame rates are pretty low, with normal recording at 12 frames per second in normal mode and 8 fps in Long video mode. In normal mode, video length is limited to 40-60 seconds. This is more or less on par with Camera Plus Pro High Quality video mode. Really, anything below 16 fps and the human eye will noticeably detect flicker.

The video quality for both apps is not great — you won’t be replacing your digital camcorder any time soon. Video quality in both apps is good for taking video snapshots to share in emails and Facebook. Both apps shoot “standard quality” video at about 210×160 pixels in either portrait or landscape orientation. Camera Plus Pro can also shoot video at 400×320 in High Quality mode.

Camera Genius shoots Long video at about 8 fps — pretty jumpy and flickery, but again, good for video snapshots. In the comparable standard mode, Camera Plus Pro shoots video at about 10 fps — again, still jumpy, but still slightly better. In Normal video mode, Camera Genius records at about 12 fps — almost decent — but it still records at 210×160. In the comparable High Quality mode on my 2g, Camera Plus Pro recorded at a ghastly 5-6 fps, but the image was considerably larger at 400×320. I was also able to use the digital zoom feature with Camera Plus Pro, something I’m not able to do yet with Camera Genius.

Video is saved directly to your camera roll, bypassing the several clunky steps in Camera Plus Pro if that’s an issue for you. I experienced random crashes while saving video in Camera Genius causing loss of video. For me, that’s a possible dealbreaker, especially when saving candid once-in-a-lifetime video that you’ll never have the opportunity to recreate.

For basic video smoothness, Camera Genius has the edge over Camera Plus Pro. For overall features, the edge goes to Camera Plus Pro.

The addition of video for the 2G and 3G iPhones is always a welcome one. It’s hard for me to get really excited about this upgrade, especially since the video component has been out in the wild for some time and has already seen a couple of upgrades in Video Genius before its inclusion here. I expected a little more.

The crashes may just be an anomaly on my part, but it’s still something to keep an eye on. If you want to try the video component before you buy Camera Genius, you can still download Video Genius for free. If you already own Camera Genius, you might want to give the video component a try and see how it works for you.

This is a good update to a workhorse app. Four months ago, I would have felt this was an exciting update. Now, I feel it’s just a solid one. If you like the feature set, I recommend it. Camera Genius is still a very good camera app. I like Camera Genius and have a soft spot for this app. I hope future updates put it back on par with other camera replacement apps and get me excited about Camera Genius again.

Camera Genius is currently $1.99 USD in the App Store. [App Store link]



Related links: Video Genius |   Camera Plus Pro