It’s hard to believe that just 18 months ago, Camera Genius by CodeGoo was the bees knees of camera replacement apps. It greatly improved the standard Apple Camera app by adding anti-shake stabilization, a rule-of-thirds composition grid and a (not great) digital zoom. It was fairly fast and lightweight for the time. It’s had mostly minor updates since then and had been surpassed in features, speed and functionality by both Camera+ and ProCamera as many iPhoneographer’s shooter of choice.

They’ve completely rebuilt the app in this update and gone the all-in-one route. The new Camera Genius 3.0 update ( Camera Genius - CodeGoo ) is a huge improvement over previous versions of the app. While the app retains all of its original functionality, CodeGoo have added a ton of features to Camera Genius. While the new features are impressive on the surface, the new Edit Mode has some big problems.

Here are my initial thoughts about the update:

Reboot your iPhone after updating or installing. Camera Genius was a little cranky on first install. Some of the modules didn’t act right until rebooting. I found this out after it crashed.

The app supports iOS 4 background processing. You can exit (not quit) the app and come back to the same screen you left. Always a nice feature.

While the effects in the new Edit Mode look awesome, they hose your pixels. Editing your image in Camera Genius reduces the size from 5 MP down to about 968×1296 pixels. That’s little more than 1 megapixel. The effects are gorgeous — on first glance, they’re better than those in Camera+. If you’re only going to be sharing photos online, the low resolution should work fine for you. The low resolution is unacceptable, though, if you plan to output prints or enlargements.

Camera Genius still does not have a full-resolution digital zoom. The new 6x “zoom” is little more than an in-viewfinder crop. Unlike Camera+ or ProCamera, this will reduce the size of your image.

It’s fairly fast — faster than most camera replacement apps. It has about a 1 second reload time on an iPhone 4. It’s also very easy to bog the app down with many fast shots. It locked up on me after shooting about a dozen quick test shots, and of those the app only saved 5.

The new photo album is pretty cool. The scroll wheel that changes the layouts and preview sizes is pretty cool!

How does it compare to Camera+? Although Camera Genius has the better looking Editing Suite, it’s also a bit more buggy and there’s a lot of functionality to the app that loses pixels and saves at low resolution.

If the bugs are worked out, stability is improved, and app is fixed so processed images save at full resolution, Camera Genius could be a very attractive alternative to Camera+ and an excellent camera replacement.

It’s definitely an improvement over previous versions and worthwhile and recommended update if you already have the app. If I were in the market for this type of all-in-one camera replacement, I think Camera+ by tap tap tap is currently the better app based on stability and specs.

Here’s all that’s new in the 3.0 update:

Major New Version: 3.0 (Our Biggest Update Ever!)
Entire Application redesign and new icon.

New Edit Mode
23 One Step Filters:
• Enhance
• Flash
• Glow
• Black & White
• Grunge
• Aged
• 70’s
• Cross Process
• Lomo
• Psychedelic
• Fantasy
• Redscale
• Cinema
• Faded
• Silver Oil
• Dark Sepia
• Pseudo HDR
• Mini
• Focal Point
• Gold
• Color Burst
• Intense
• Accent

20 Adjustment Filters:
• Brightness
• Contrast
• Grayscale
• Hue
• Red
• Green
• Blue
• Glow
• Sepia
• Lighten
• Grime
• Light Leak
• Lomography
• Flash
• Wild
• Goth
• Dream
• Focus
• Deepen

Crop Interface
14 Border Styles

New Sharing Mode:
• Facebook
• Twitter
• Email
• Clipboard
• Flickr
• Picasa
• Mobileme
• Tumblr
• YouTube

Two User Interface Themes
Geolocation Tags now recorded in Photos exif data
Separate Focus & Exposure Controls (Optional)

New review photos user interface with slider thumbnail controls. Now show from one to 5 thumbnails per row.
New album view
New preview mode with Slideshow

Lots of minor bug fixes.

The new update is no longer old-iPhone friendly and is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch (4th generation). Requires iOS 4.0 or later. The regular price for the previous version was $1.99. Camera Genius is on sale now for a limited time for only $0.99.

Camera Genius - CodeGoo