App Spotlight: Camera+ 2

Photo of Camera+ 2 app

Look on any list of the best camera apps for smartphones in the last decade and you’ll probably find Camera+. One of the most downloaded photography apps of all time, Camera+ actually got pulled from the Apple App Store when developers added a secret feature that would allow iPhone users to press the volume button on their phones to snap a photo. That was a no-no, Apple said, before eventually allowing Camera+ back in the App Store and then making volume snap native to the iPhone.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

As a photography nut, I have tons of photo apps on my iPhone but Camera+ is really the only one I use on a consistent basis. And why not? It packs so much imaging functionality into a single app, I often find there’s no reason to try anything else. But I’ve been slow to upgrade to Camera+ 2, which was released in 2018 and continues to be one of the most popular and well-reviewed photo apps out there.

Photo of Camera+ 2 app

I finally decided to make the leap to Camera+ 2 recently only to discover that it’s not simply an upgrade to the first version, which was released in 2010, but an entirely new app rewritten from the ground up from what appeared to be a new developer.

At first this gave me pause since I didn’t have any major problems with the previous app. The hefty $7.99 price tag for Camera+2 was also off-putting, particularly when I learned that it was $2.99 when launched. (The original Camera+, meanwhile, was free but with in-app purchases for extra filters and other premium features.)

The positive reviews for Camera+ 2, particularly from users in the App Store who can be brutal on paid apps that don’t live up to their pricing, convinced me to buy it and I’m glad I did. Camera+ 2 keeps all of what was good about the original app and adds to it without completely redesigning how the app looks and functions.

Photo of Camera+ 2 app

Here’s a rundown of some of the key features of Camera+ 2.

  • Manual shooting: Shutter speed, ISO and white balance can all be adjusted via on-screen wheels and controls
  • RAW image capture and editing
  • Portrait and Depth capture and editing: You can further adjust images shot with the iPhone’s Portrait mode including adjusting depth of field to create more background blur
  • Slow shutter control for long exposures even in daylight: Capture exposures of up to 30 seconds while the app automatically adjusts the sensitivity of the camera and shows an accurate preview during the process
  • More shooting modes including smile detection, auto stabilizer mode, slow shutter, burst and timer
  • Excellent macro mode
  • Focus peaking to alert you to sharpness in tricky focusing situations
  • Action mode to track fast moving subjects
  • Clipping indicator shows red and blue lines to indicate the lightest and darkest parts of an image
  • Hands free control via Siri shortcuts and Apple Watch remote trigger
  • Magic ML using machine learning to improve your images with one touch both during shooting and editing
  • A new collection of improved filters and effects (these were a highlight of the original app and are even better now)
  • The ability to fine-tune and combine filters
  • Further photographic adjustments in The Lab including exposure correction, white balance fixes and adding sharpness and blur
  • Clarity Pro: one of my favorite editing tools in Camera+ for adding pop to photos, Clarity, remains in the new app but they’ve added Clarity Pro in The Lab, which lets you fine tune how much clarity and vibrancy are applied to an image
  • Save your favorite edits: Camera+ 2 now allows you to save your editing steps for your favorite photos to create your own custom filters you can use later (this is a recently added feature)
  • Improved Raw image development with curve adjustments

Photo of Camera+ 2 app

That’s a long list of features in Camera+ 2 but, believe me, it’s just scraping the surface. Yes, $7.99 is a lot to pay for an app these days but the developers seem to be frequently updating Camera+ 2 with significant new features – not just minor tweaks – so you’ll feel like you’re getting your money’s worth.

For instance, in the latest version of the app they’ve added a new shooting mode preset that lets you use Apple’s new ProRAW format directly in Camera+ 2. It’s sort of like getting all those new features in Photoshop and Lightroom but without having to pay Adobe’s subscription pricing. Now that’s pretty cool.

Camera+ 2 is only available in the App store for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch users. More info on the Camera+ 2 website.

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