Fisheye Camera
Version reviewed: 2.8
Price: $0.99

Rating 1 star

Bottom Line: The image quality — or lack of — is reason enough to avoid Fisheye Camera.

The only reason I’m reviewing Fisheye Camera by Zhong is because it’s now number 23 in the Top Paid iPhone Photo apps. This is a horrible photo app that I wouldn’t ordinarily want to draw attention to, even negative. This is one of the worst apps I’ve ever reviewed and is only as high as it is on the charts because of possible App Store shill reviews.

I recommend that you avoid this app. Read past the jump to find out why. >>>

Fisheye Camera isn’t a true fisheye effect. None of the fisheye apps are. The real fisheye lenses for iPhone are external attachments with a much wider field of view than the iPhone’s camera — typically 160 to 180 degrees around. The lens distorts the image with the classic fisheye effect.

Fisheye Camera (and other fisheye apps) can’t capture that extra image, but they recreate the fisheye effect by bulging out the center of the photograph. Some iPhoneographers call these “fishbowl” apps.

Most fisheye apps don’t support the iPhone’s full resolution because of the processing needed to create the distortion. I understand and don’t really have a problem with that. But Fisheye Camera has HORRIBLY LOW resolution — 316×338 pixels on an iPhone 4S. That’s unusably low. It’s less than half the resolution of a screenshot on an iPhone 4. This postage stamp sized resolution has never been acceptable on an iPhone, even the original 2 megapixel iPhone 2G. The resolution of this app is among the poorest of any app I’ve ever reviewed. Fisheye Camera is now at version 2.8 — there has been a lot of time to fix the problem.

The app has two frames. Both of them are terrible. The edges are harsh and pixelated. You can even see the hard edges in the developer’s own screenshots.

Even by fisheye effect camera standards, the output from Fisheye Camera is horrible and unusable for anything other than sending by text message to a very old mobile phone.

Fisheye Camera has a couple of good features. The interface is clean and fairly workable. There are Brightness and Contrast sliders to perform very basic adjustments in app. Fisheye Camera allows you to import previously shot images from your camera roll. But anything good about this app is overshadowed by the extremely poor image quality.

The reason that this app ranks so high in the App Store may have something to do with possible App Store shill reviews. I’ve previously reviewed another photo app by this same developer. Like this app, the image quality was very bad. That app had a large number of five-star reviews, all with the trademarks of App Store shill reviews.

As of this writing, there are 58 user reviews for Fisheye Camera. 50 of them are five-star and of those 50, a sampling of the reviews shows that those reviewers have only reviewed this app or other apps by this developer and none by any other developer.

I don’t think that Fisheye Camera is worth all the five-star reviews it’s getting in the App Store. I think this may be a case of fake reviews artificially inflating the app’s ranking to trick unsuspecting buyers into purchasing the app.

I am not saying for certain that this developer is engaging in this practice, but I have to admit that the the sheer number of these five-star reviews is a little bit suspicious to me, especially given the fact the history of this developer’s other apps and user reviews.

I don’t have anything against this developer personally. I simply think they create very crappy photo apps. I also suspect that there are questionable user review tactics used to promote their apps which this developer at the very least does not seem to discourage.

There are many other fisheye apps in the App Store. Almost all of them have higher resolution and better-looking effects than this one. For fake-fisheye effects, check out the much better Snappr by REVOLVER Studios or misskiwi’s FishEye Toy Camera. Both are also a dollar. Not only do both save at much higher resolutions, the misskiwi app shares directly to a number of social networks including Send To Instagram support.

Even if there are no fake user review shenanigans going on with this developers apps, the image quality — or lack of — is reason enough to avoid Fisheye Camera.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

FishEye Camera - Zhong


Full size output from Fisheye Camera