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Quick Review: KitCam for iOS

KitCam offers the fun digital "film" and "lens" selection of Hipstamatic, but with far more control.

KitCam for iOS, $1.99 in the App Store

Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, requires iOS 5.1 or later

Ever since I boughtt my first iPhone years ago I've been on the lookout for an app to replace the default camera. Not that there is anything wrong with the built-in app from Apple, but it lacks even the most basic manual controls. I've tried other apps like Camera+, ProCamera and Camera Awesome, but I found issues with each that limited their usefulness and they all still lacked enough manual controls for my liking. Despite its shortcomings, Apple's native camera app is quick, easy to use and access from the home screen means it's what I end up using for nearly all of my impromtou shots. 

In my neverending quest for the perfect iOS camera app, KitCam caught my eye with its live adjustment controls for exposure compensation and white balance. Sure, other camera apps like Camera+ that give you control over exposure by choosing the metering point, however, I've never really liked this method, it's a bit too imprecise. KitCam, however, gives you direct control over exposure in live view via a slider. 

The exposure button to the right of the shutter brings up both the exposure compensation and white balance control.
Along with the manual exposure controls, KitCam offers a toolbox full of additional shooting modes and guides.

This feature alone is enough for me to recommend the app to anyone who shoots regularly with their iPhone, but KitCam doesn't stop there. The app includes a level, rule-of-thirds grid and a live histogram to aid in composition. The developers at GhostBird, who also make PhotoForge2, have also added a slew of other features that make this app great for both shooting and editing, including direct export to PhotoForge2 for further photo editing.

KitCam comes with 10 digital "lenses," including the impressive "Olga" filter, which does a remarkable job of simulating a plastic Holga lens.
 The 24 "films" that come pre-loaded with the app are good but not as varied as I would like. 

Like Hipstamatic, KitCam includes a selection of digital "lenses" and "films" that allow you to alter the look of your images. But KitCam allows you to preview your results with a live view of your lens, film and border selections, while also saving the image in a nondestructive format, meaning that you can go back and change your filter choices after you've taken the shot.

With real-time exposure and white balance control, along with loads of filter and editing goodies, KitCam is the best all-around camera replacement app for iOS that I've found. Updates released just yesterday continue to make this app a fav: you can now import photos from your Camera Roll, timelapse has been added and zoom function improved. 

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Total comments: 4
Oliver Lang

The real time exposure control simply changes the brightness of an image, this feature is NOT actual exposure control.

In addition, ProCamera, Camera+, 645 PRO, Camera Awesome and several other apps have exactly the same control over exposure and focus offered, with slight differences in how that split control is achieved.

What is worse is that in this app the split exposure and focus control requires two hands to initiate, while several other apps give you this control with one touch from the start.

This is NOT the best app for shooting control.

Edited 13 seconds after posting

it's actually super easy to invoke exposure/focus control with one hand... just tap it with your pointer and index fingers... i do that all the time.

no different than how i do it with Camera+ actually...

the 1.6 update that came out today proves that they're way ahead of the rest

Edited 2 minutes after posting

Very good app! I like the "live view" feature with filters and the ability to adjust settings somewhat.

Edited 22 seconds after posting

Started using this app after seeing Kelcey demo its features when he was writing this piece. I haven't touched any of my other camera apps since. Very impressive feature set and the UI is very intuitive.

Total comments: 4
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