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Overview

Perhaps one of the most under-rated apps already installed on your iPhone is its Camera. I still remember downloading my first set of pictures and doing a double-take at their clarity and resolution. No they are hardly Nikon D30 quality, but if you are Janis Krums your smartphone’s camera can capture some incredible moments. (And yes, this was the first photo capturing this day in aviation history.)

The biggest problem with the iPhone camera is its lack of zoom. You really can’t zoom in for a close up but you have to hold the camera itself closer to whatever you are taking a picture of. For the shutterbug in me, I cringe at this because physically moving in closer can cause problems with shadows and the focus of your iPhone’s lens, especially for 3G and older generations. That’s why Camera Zoom from KendiTech ($0.99USD) helps in bringing the action closer to you without altering the lighting of your subject.

Features

Pay, Plug in, and Play!

Apps just do not get easier than Camera Zoom. Once you install the application and tap to activate it, you enter the iPhone’s Camera mode. In this version of your camera, though, you will see a slider along the bottom of the screen. Tap-and-drag to the left and you start to zoom in. Tap-and-drag to the right, and you zoom out. When you see the image you want to take, press the camera icon, just as you would if you were working with the regular pre-installed Camera app. Your image is then saved in the Photo Gallery. How easy is that?

img_0491What do you mean I got Options?

You wouldn’t think you have options on this basic of an app, but tapping the “i” icon located on the right (as opposed to the “eye” icon on the left which takes you to your Gallery) you have your Settings. These options include:

  • 320 x 480 which will not give you as high of a resolution as a standard picture, but the image will be web ready, a less blurry image, and will save faster on your iPhone.
  • Full Screen Shutter that will enable your screen to serve as the trigger for the camera
  • Ask to Save, a handy option that will give you the option to reshoot an image without storing it on your camera.
  • Full Screen Slider which turns the screen into the slider bar option
  • Slider Position, an option that places the Slider on a preferred orientation

For such a simple application, it’s nice to have choices.

Breakdown

The Good:

For what it offers, I’m really impressed. I love the extra options of Camera Zoom, in particular the Full Screen Slider. The simplicity of the application and the clarity of the images it yields (for an iPhone camera) make this a worthwhile investment. True, it’s only a $0.99 investment, but it would surprise you how many people really don’t want to part with their hard-earned greenbacks!

The Bad:

Perhaps the only tripping point of this app is the Full Screen Shutter option. I attempted several times to try and zoom in with the slider only to take unwanted pictures. The Full Screen Shutter is an option that needs a bit of work. Knowing how a feature like that would work great for self-portraits (which, come to think of it, must be on the rise with the popularity of smartphone photography, TwitPic, and the like) it could just need a tweak or two for efficiency’s sake.

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Three images. Far right was taken in 32o x 480 mode, Center and Far Left taken in Camera Zoom’s Full Mode

Something else to know about Camera Zoom is that it is a digital zoom, similar to that digital zoom feature of consumer brand video cameras. While the 320 x 480 images are more clear, they are smaller and not the full resolution Camera Zoom is capable of. (And yes, I know…my office is a mess. It’s my weekend project.) Additionally, Camera Zoom’s full mode is only 600 x 800 while iPhone’s native Camera app is capable of 1200 x 1600.  So while Camera Zoom does work well, remember it is a virtual enlargement and not a true zoom.

Verdict

For an application that doesn’t break the dollar ceiling, Camera Zoom is a smart addition for iPhone users wanting to bring out the particulars of what they’re looking at. It does nice work; and if you are a fan of iPhone photography, I say plunk down that dollar and get yourself that virtual zoom. You never know when you might want or need it. Just ask Janis Krums (or Ferris Beuller): Life moves pretty fast. It’s good to have tools within reach to capture as much of it and as much detail as you can.