Yesterday, I was surprised to read a tweet from Launch Center Pro's Twitter account showing the new Camera+ integration. I immediately checked for updates to the existing Camera+ app on my iPhone. Shortly afterwards, another tweet went through my timeline. This time, it announced that Camera+ was now available for the iPad. I knew I had to get both the iPhone update and the new iPad version.
Today I will discuss about three major things related to yesterday's announcements, i.e. the new Camera+ 1.0 for the iPad, the updated Camera+ 3.5 for the iPhone, and the integration between Camera+ and Launch Center Pro.
Camera+ 1.0 for iPad
The new Camera+ iPad app is a new app built to take full advantage of the big screen. Unlike iPhoto and Snapseed which take a Universal approach, the developers decided to create a separate app for the iPad. Considering there are many features that are exclusive to either platform, I mostly agree with the decision.
The new Camera+ for iPad has several features that are exclusive for the device, such as brush on effects, layer effects, advanced image adjustments and the ability to import photos from Flickr and Facebook. With the brush on effects, you can now brush on (or off) selected parts of your photo. You can set the brush size, softness and intensity for each effect that you're applying. You can also pinch to zoom your photo to get better precision when applying the effects.
Different from the iPhone version, the iPad version allows you to apply multiple effects as layered effects on the photo. You can adjust the intensity of each layer and drag and drop the layers to change their ordering. This is a big plus compared to the iPhone version where you need to apply each effect one at a time. The iPad version also offers a live preview, but it would only be applied when you have lifted your finger from the slider. If you're changing the order of the layers, you also need to slightly adjust the slider back and forth to trigger the live preview to update itself. In short, the live preview is not a runtime preview.
If you're familiar with the iPhone version, you'll probably already know that the Adjust tab would allow you to rotate the photo to the left or right, and to flip it horizontally or vertically. The iPad version adds a lot more features -- you can straighten your photo, adjust the white balance and tone, remove red eyes, apply blur or sharpen effects, and apply Vignettes. Based on my testing, these tools are very powerful because you have great controls on each of them.
Finally, the iPad version allows you to import photos from Flickr and Facebook. This allows you to have a local backup of all your older photos, clone them to iCloud and give them new lives with the awesome photo editing features of the new Camera+ for iPad.
Camera+ 3.5 for iPhone
If you compare it with the iPad version, the updated iPhone version seems to have fewer features. Yet, the new update is an important one because it supports the new iCloud syncing of the Lightbox, and the new 16:9 aspect ratio of the new iPhone 5. The new iCloud syncing feature is great because it promises you to have greater flexibility for your workflow. You can point and shoot using your iPhone while on the go, and edit those photos later with better editing features when you're on your iPad. Just a tip -- make sure that you have managed your iCloud storage space before you activate this feature.
Another nice surprise I got is that both the iPad and the iPhone versions have somehow unlocked the Analog FX for me. As far as I can remember, this was an in-app purchase feature in Camera+ 3.0 for iPhone. The fact that it is now accessible without having to purchase is great news for me.
Integration with Launch Center Pro
Both Camera+ and Launch Center Pro are two apps that sit on my dock. The other two are the Phone.app and Settings.app. With this integration, I think I can free up a space on my dock without losing quick access to Camera+.
The new integration allows up to 11 shortcuts straight within the Camera+ app. The three shortcuts that I use are Burst Shooting Mode, Launch to Camera, and Launch to Lightbox. If you're familiar with Camera+, you know that it would take you two taps to ensure that you're launching the correct mode, i.e. Camera or Lightbox. With these shortcuts, Launch Center Pro also ensures me that it would take me the exact two taps to get where I need to be.
Normally you would not set up your Camera+ to take burst shorts. In fact, the burst shooting mode can take up a significant amount of loading time if set as the default mode. Because Camera+ remembers the last mode you're using, launching the app without having precise control of which mode you're using can take significant loading time - which may cause you to miss that moment you're after. Fortunately, the first two shortcuts I'm using in Launch Center Pro allow me to safely and quickly switch the shooting mode however I want it to.
The new Camera+ updates are great. It's so great that I feel like I'm in love again with both Camera+ and Launch Center Pro. If two of these apps I have in my dock could merge into one, that would be a major achievement for a productivity geek like me.
Even when the iPad is the only iOS device you own, I'd still highly recommend you to get the new Camera+ for iPad. The photo editing features it has are comparable to the ones you might find in dedicated photo editing apps such as iPhoto and Snapseed. Camera+ wins in speed, ease of use and innovative features. I would love to see it continue improving.