King Camera
Version 1.0
Price: $2.99 | King Camera - Applications

Rating 4 stars

Bottom Line: King Camera is a powerful and well designed camera replacement. It’s a very impressive 1.0 release that has the features and feel of a 2.0.

UPDATE 05.31.11 @22:00: Now on sale for $0.99 for a limited time only.

King Camera by is a new all-in-one camera app. It arrived in the App Store with a lot of bluster, if you will. As far as photo apps go, it promises to do just about everything but read to you.

I saw its list of features — which is very, very impressive. An app that claims to do this much as well as it claims has a lot to prove and I wasn’t going to cut it any slack in my review.

I’m impressed with King Camera. While not perfect, this 1.0 release is very well thought out and very solid. And the app delivers what it says.

Briefly, King Camera is a very powerful, very full-featured all-in-one camera app, most similar in features to Camera+. But King Camera grabs a lot from what’s good about other photo apps as well, making it a super photo app. Its list of features is extensive. I won’t rehash them here, but they’re at the end of this review. I suggest you have a look at them.

King Camera has five of the six criteria for what I feel a good camera replacement app needs. The full-res digital zoom is 4x, which is very usable and gets you in closer, but doesn’t have as much of the noise and sharpness issues of a more powerful digital zoom. The anti-shake image stabilization has slider-adjustable sensitivity in the settings and is the most versatile of any photo app. It’s got a 3 second recovery or “reload” time which is okay and better than most photo apps, but slower than Camera+, ProCamera, and Camera Genius.

King Camera doesn’t have a Rapid Fire mode where you can take fast, multiple exposures by holding the shutter release like Camera+, but its full-res burst mode is pretty fast. The 720×960 pixel medium res burst mode is extremely fast. Both burst modes are switchable between 3 to 12 images per burst.

King Camera saves geotags and metadata. In the app’s settings, you can add your name as an Artist tag to the EXIF data — a feature I like a lot as it adds a layer of copyright protection into the image file itself. In the Photo Desk module, there’s an excellent Info feature that allows you to look at an image’s metadata.

King Camera is well labeled throughout. I like the slightly oversized shutter button. For someone with large fingers, it’s nice to have a slightly larger target. I like that the shutter button is displays the current camera shooting mode — time lapse, burst mode, anti-shake, etc. Like the iPhone’s standard camera, the shutter fires when releasing the button, not when pressing it. It’s a good feature that helps get a little extra stabilization when shooting.

King Camera saves to its own built-in lightbox called the Photo Desk. You can also save to both the Photo Desk and the iPhone’s camera roll simultaneously. I like a lightbox workflow as it helps to reduce the clutter in my extremely cluttered camera roll. Photo Desk’s workflow really helps in King Camera and does much more than just store photos until you save or delete them.

Photo Desk not only stores the photos taken with King Camera. You can import photos from iPhone’s photo albums to manipulate in the app’s great production modules. One of the coolest features of King Camera is the photo Stacks feature. As you work and save an image in King Camera, the app saves the versions of a photo in “Stacks”. It doesn’t save over your original or previously worked photos, allowing you greater flexibility to edit and explore. Also, Photo Desk remembers the effects applied to an image and allows you to go back to a version to easily change them. Effects aren’t rendered until the image is shared or exported. Saving the revisions in stacks is a unique feature and a great way to manage version clutter. It’s one of my favorite features of King Camera.

TIP: As your Stacks grow larger, you can delete individual images by viewing the stacks in Browse mode.

There are two effects and production modules in King Camera: QuickMatik and Pro Matik. In this initial release, QuickMatik features 45 preset effects ranging from color, monochrome and texture effects. Many of them are good. I found few of the presets that really blew me away, but there’s a lot there for quick and easy image effects and the QuickMatik presets are as good as many other photo apps.

Where QuickMatik gets cool is the ability to add preset effects created in the Pro Matik module. This might not sound impressive at first, but Pro Matik is pretty powerful and full of tools, borders and effects. The Pro Matik Module is pretty much a full-blown image editor in the app. It has a large range of exposure, color, and crop controls. It’s not PhotoForge or Iris, but the image adjusting tools included should be good for most tweaks.

The Pro Matik module is also where the texture and border effects are. There’s a good variety of stressed film and grunge textures, light leaks and other anomalies to add to your image. There are a bunch of border options, ranging from analog prints and film positives to “Cute”. There’s something for everyone to play with and choose from.

The crop tool is full-featured and has the full complement of crop, flip and straighten. The straighten tool works in 1° increments and resamples the image back to full size so there is no pixel loss — the same feature that I like so much in the excellent Crop Suey app. There are five standard aspect ratio crop presets, but they don’t rotate and conform to landscape or portrait images and are limited in that regard. There’s also no way to add a custom crop ratio. Both would be good additions in a future update.

When your masterpiece is finished, King Camera has excellent one-button photo sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox, or email.

If this all sounds pretty daunting, the app comes with five excellent tutorials. It’s worth the hour invested to learn all the tools and features of this powerful app.

While King Camera impressed me a lot, even more so in that this is just a 1.0 release, I do have a few nitpicks. The toolbar is pretty big. Fortunately, it’s see-thru and it hides and restores with an easy swipe of the screen. The Shutter console at the bottom of the screen obscures a little bit of the edge of the frame. The onscreen tools do not rotate when the iPhone is in landscape mode. Some feature hesitate, such as when it switches to Burst Mode, Time Lapse mode as it is “Activating features.” As mentioned before, there is no Rapid Fire mode — a very handy and useful feature. The 3 second recovery time is the slowest among the major camera replacement apps. The app strips out geotag and most EXIF data when importing images from camera roll to Photo Desk.

Overall, King Camera is a powerful and well designed camera replacement. It’s a very impressive 1.0 release that has the features and feel of a 2.0. While it won’t single-handedly replace an arsenal of photo apps, it’s powerful enough to be a go-to app for many users. It’s a solid app with a lot of great features inspired by other great photo apps. Some might find some fluff, but that’s really part of the broad appeal of this app. There are a ton of pro tools in this all-in-one, but iPhoneographers of all skill levels will benefit from the broad range of features. You don’t need to know Photoshop to capture, process and share with this app. King Camera is a powerful, impressive all-in-one photo app loaded with great features that lives up to its own hype.

King Camera is $2.99 in the App Store. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

Starting Wednesday, June 1, King Camera will be on sale for only $0.99 for a very limited time!

King Camera - Applications


Here’s the complete King Camera App Store description, including all of its features:


King Camera is the PERFECT PHOTO COMPANION for everyone:
Beginners will LOVE to use the included 45 photo Looks, and iPhoneography enthusiasts will ADORE the powerful Advanced photo editing features.

And here’s why…

Easily create, save, and re-use your own custom photo Looks! The days of in-app photo effect purchases are over!

Ultra-fast! Enter only one text and share to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox and Email.

Infinite edits of your original photo, in one organized stack.

* Time-lapse & Stop Motion Animation
* Full Resolution Photo Burst
* Separate Touch Focus & Exposure
* Big Button
* Exposure Lock
* White Balance Lock
* Self-Timer
* Anti-Shake Trigger
* Sound Trigger
* Photo Backup
* Rule of Thirds Grid
* Photo Flashlight

* Separate Touch Focus & Exposure
* Big Button
* White Balance & Exposure Lock
* Video Flashlight
* Rule of 3rds Grid

Quickly enhance your photos using 45 stylish photo Looks and use the Intensity Slider to adjust them to perfection. Add a Border or Crop for that final touch.

Just tap anywhere on your photo to get that perfect border color every time!

Our thematic frames include: instant, grunge, damaged film, postcard, film negative, old photo paper, hearts, pets, and many more.

Add stains, scratches, light leaks and much more in the TEXTURIZER! Choose from 3 blending modes and adjust the Texture’s intensity for that unique Look!

Edit your photos, and create your own Custom Looks with:
* White Balance adjustments
* Exposure, Contrast, Shadows & Highlights
* Saturation & Tints
* 16 Textures
* Crop, Flip & Rotate
* Customizable Vignettes
* Borders and Frames


The team didn’t stop there! They also created King Camera University (KCU) to help you improve your photography skills. Tips and tutorials are available on the website, and more are added regularly. So stay connected!