Pop Camera
Version reviewed: 1.0
Price: $1.99

Rating 2 stars - I don't like it.

Bottom Line: Fun interface, but as a camera, it’s low res, the UI is slow to move through and the app has too many problems in this release.

pop camera, supersampler iPhone photo appPop Camera is a collection of unique and funky camera types wrapped in an animated interface that gives the sense of an analog feel and the originality of the “toy camera.” It features wide range of SuperSampler-like shot types, including 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 12, 16 successive shots as well as a double exposure shot. Version 1.0 also includes 14 film effects.

Pop Camera is fun to play with. The UI animations are very well done. Many of the retro film effects look good, but this photo app is still unfinished and has problems. Among them, its low resolution output offsets all the spiffy features of the app.

Pop Camera, Noisy Pop film


Pop Camera is a new addition to the multi-frame SuperSampler style of toy camera apps. Toy is a good word to describe this app. The user interface is very “kawaii” — cute — and animated. It has a very Japanimation feel to it. It’s vividly colorful and moves fluidly, but moving through the app is a lot slower than other photo apps. Although some may like the light, playful look of the UI, many users will be put off by the toy-like feel and usability. In keepng with the toy camera motif, the app feels more like a game than a camera.

The app has a great selection of SuperSampler-style cameras, all the way up to 16 shots. Shot-to-shot speed is easily selectable from the viewfinder. Fast is impresively fast between shots, but that’s because the camera is not really doing much processing under the hood. Image size is currently a low 640×480 pixels whether you shoot one frame or 16 — that’s less than the iPhone 4 and 4S’ screen resolution.

The viewfinder is not precise at all and is unusable for even closely accurate framing. This is not like Hipstamatic’s variable “Classic” viewfinder. There is no setting to change to a precise viewer. You will shoot a lot more than you see in the app’s viewfinder — the crop will be much wider. It’s not even close and it’s pretty frustrating.

Viewfinder framing vs. actual shot


The 14 film effects are a combination of color, saturation and texture effects. Some look better than others, but overall, there isn’t anything really new and groundbreaking here. The Peppermint Film is surprisingly rich and I also like the look and added noise of Noisy Pop film. Neither film, though, justifies the purchase of this app.

For SuperSampler effects, ClassicSAMP by misskiwi is a much better choice. Although it tops out at 9 frames, it’s got a more usable UI. It supports up to 3264×2176 px high-resolution saves. And it’s got the great misskiwi classic film set.

According to the developer, high resolution support is on the way. In my opinion, release of Pop Camera should have been delayed until high-res support was already in place. Asking users to drop two dollars on a low-res app with the promise of high-res support that may or may not appear has potential to generate user ill-will and low App Store ratings, bad reviews (such as this one), and could potentially sink the app or delay its success and sales.

I’ll keep an eye on this app. I hope its problems get fixed. But the app has too many big issues right now. While a lot of attention was paid to the details of the interface, making the the app working well — including the low resolution output — was overlooked in an effort to speed the app into the App Store. That’s a bad strategy. I can’t recommend Pop Camera’s initial release.

Pop Camera is $1.99 in the App Store. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.



Pop Camera, Double Exposure sample

Pop Camera, Yellow Fever film