kitcam, for iPhonography

Version reviewed: 1.0
Price: $1.99

Rating 4.5 stars

Bottom Line: I really like it a lot. KitCam is a unique camera app in a class of its own — a high-quality camera replacement with an excellent selection of filters to play with.

I recently previewed Kitcam here. The app is available now in the App Store. In its base configuration, it’s $1.99. There were several additional lens, film and frame paks available as additional in-app purchases in the beta. I haven’t downloaded the commercial version yet to see if those made it into the final version.

In short, I really like KitCam. It’s a very nice camera app. I had a chance to play with it this week. Find out my initial thoughts after the jump. >>>

“KitCam is a “revolutionary” new camera app from the creators of the PhotoForge series. Beautifully designed and packed with powerful features, KitCam is a must-have for anyone who loves taking pictures or shooting video.”

I wouldn’t call it revolutionary, but it combines the best elements of a lot of great photo apps into one fun, easy to use camera app.

KitCam is a virtual camera kit that contains an assortment of 13 lenses, 30 film emulations, and 18 frames. All camera attachments are previewed live and are always reflected in full resolution outputs.

The camera itself is pretty powerful, with a broad set of great tools to help get the best picture in camera before you layer it with photo effects — also in camera. It’s got the standard set of advanced camera tools — timer, stabilizer, separate focus and exposure, white balance lock and the handy and popular volume shutter feature which lets you use your iPhone’s volume up button as a physical shutter release. It’s got an impressive continuous full-resolution shooting mode that fired off more than a shot per second even while applying filters, effects and frames. It’s also got a built-in multiple exposure shutter.

KitCam has a great flyaway color temperature adjustment and exposure adjustment slider. The color temperature slider allows you to balance the overall tones of the image to the light source. Having it as a slider allows you to make fine adjustments. Having a live preview helps you get the best picture in camera while you shoot. Pretty cool!

The quality of the camera alone would be worth two bucks. KitCam also has an extensive set of faux-analog filters, effects and frames that are overall nicely done and well rendered.

KitCam uses a lens, film and frame system that looks like it was inspired by Hipstamatic’s. That’s not a bad thing. The effects add a wide range of color and tonal shifts. There’s very little “fluff” in here that an iPhone-lomographer wouldn’t love. It’s a well designed filter set that’s full of recreated film looks, light leaks and other aberrations. The lens effects in particular are outstanding. There are also great-looking, smoothly rendered blur effects as well. Many of the lens-type effects can be changed — sometimes dramatically — easily onscreen with a simple gesture.

Hidden in the app’s lightbox is a powerful image editor with even more post-processing tools. You can also change and reapply an image’s filters within the lightbox. All of the tools and filters are kept neatly out of the way until needed, helping to maximize the small editing real estate of the iPhone’s screen. The image editor is one of the best ones available in a camera+studio app.

Most of KitCam’s tools and live filters are also available in the app’s video mode as well. And there’s a simple help overlay that’s very helpful to get you started the first time you fire up the app.

UPDATE: A couple of PhotoForge2-related goodies. If you already own PhotoForge2, KitCam unlocks one additional film, Menthol, for you. Also, PhotoForge2 has just been updated with KitCam integration. You can now send images directly from KitCam to PhotoForge2 for further processing. It’s a one-way trip. You still can’t use KitCam to open PhotoForge2 images.

Here’s the App Store link to PhotoForge2 ( PhotoForge2 - GhostBird Software ).

I have very few complaints about KitCam and for me they’re minor — more like a wish list of things to add in a update. I really couldn’t find any effects that I didn’t like, so no complaints there. I’d really like to see more effects soon, especially more lens and frame effects. With all of the possible combinations available, some sort of Favorites presets would be a good addition. Also some sort of Randomize Effects feature would be a great addition to help discover all of the great effects KitCam has to offer. There’s no option to save the original image

Some iPhoneographers may be put off that there’s no way to import existing images into KitCam. This is not a dealbreaker for me. KitCam supports full 8MP resolution of an iPhone 5 and 4S. It saves EXIF data including location data.

KitCam is a very good camera replacement app with some great (and unique) tools. On top of that, it’s got a built-in best-in-class photo editor. But wait there’s more…. KitCam comes with an excellent set of faux analog filters to help recreate the look of film.

Whew! Did I miss anything?

While working with KitCam, a lot of the features made me think of other apps, but they’re all well done and extremely well integrated here. With all of its features, KitCam is a very well-rounded camera app. Although you’ve seen pieces of it in other apps, how they are combined so tightly and so well here makes KitCam a unique camera app in a class of its own — a high-quality camera replacement with an excellent selection of filters to play with. It’s pretty awesome!

KitCam is $1.99. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

I’m curious to know what you think about KitCam. Let us all know in the comments below!

KitCam - GhostBird Software