I’m not a huge fan of iPhone photo app CAMikaze by MPH. It’s marketed fairly well, though, and my hunch is because of its frequent App Store price reductions, it keeps finding its way into the App Store’s Top 100 photo apps.

It adds real-time effects to photos and video. CAMikaze has a bunch of configurable effects – over 50 of them. Implementation needs some work, though, from a sticky UI to how the app loads and saves photos.

Effects are rendered live onscreen, which is where it feels like the app spends most of its horsepower. It’s slow, draggy and unresponsive on an iPhone 4. Many of the effects are standard ones found in many other apps, although there are a couple of effects that I found interesting. Light Tunnel makes for some interesting motion distortions, and Pop Art splits your image into 4, high contrast, colorful images onscreen. For a super digital lo-fi effect, the adjustable Pixelate pattern is pretty nice as well.

The interface is pretty clunky, though. Importing images from the camera roll is very non-intuitive. To load an image from the camera roll involves a trip to the app’s settings. You can’t load images from your iPhone and shoot in live preview mode. If you accidentally click into your device’s photo albums, it’s a minimum of three clicks to get back into CAMikaze again. Onscreen controls didn’t always “grab” for me. Very frustrating.

UPDATED: CAMikaze saves stills aken with the apps built-in camera at the unacceptably low resolution of 640×480 – making it unusable even for Instagram’s low 612×612 pixel resolution. Although the app claims to be able to save at “original” resolution, full-size 5 megapizel images I imported were images are saved at only 3.1 megapixels – 2048×1530. The app strips out nearly all of a photo’s EXIF data, including geotags.

More filters are promised, but I hope the developers also improve the resolution, performance and operation of the app.

At 640×480 (the old VGA resolution), CAMikaze might make a more interesting standard definition video effects app. Despite a couple of interesting effects, its low resolution output and clunky operation make it a poor choice for still iPhoneography. The 3.1 resolution of imported images is more usable, but eliminates the use of the live-preview camera.

CAMikaze is $1.99 in the App Store. It’s often on sale for free or $0.99. There’s a free Lite version as well that’s feature-limited. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 4.1 or later.

CAMikaze - MPH Company



UPDATE 08.14.11 @13:00: CAMikaze is not as bad a pixel killer as I had initially thought. Actual output of imported images is 2048×1530 on an iPhone 4 – still less than the iPhone 4’s 5 MP resolution. I’ve updated my review to reflect this. =M=