5 Best Camera Apps For the iPhone

Why Apple is brilliant — reason #143. They even know how to make money when they are doing things wrong.

You can’t tell me that a $600 phone couldn’t have a camera with a zoom feature. But Apple was selling a community and a concept: You bought it for the phone, you stayed for the Apps. What better way to get the first camera apps started, than by crippling the pre-packaged software? But even Apple’s diabolical marketers could not predict what came next.

From straightforward camera enhancers to facial-recognition bar games, developers created awesome apps to “fix” the iPhone. Here are 5 of the best camera apps for iPhone–enjoy!

Gorillacam, Joby, Inc.; Free. This is definitely the best app for making the built-in camera do what it’s supposed to do, and is arguably the best general-purpose camera enhancer out there. It doesn’t fool around with much in the way of finessing the photo; it just gives the photographer the tools to take the best possible shot. In addition to common-sense “tap anywhere” shooting and up to 4x zoom, Gorillacam features a bubble level; a “rule of thirds” grid overlay; unlimited rapid fire at 1.6 pictures per second; 3-shot bursts; self-timer; time-lapse; and anti-shake. Gorillacam is all about the photography. Period.

Best Camera, Chase Jarvis; $2.99. Renowned photographer Chase Jarvis is behind this one, and it lets you apply filters gleaned from the work of guess who. Yeah, Chase Jarvis. The filters are simple and not adjustable–if you want Photoshop on your iPhone, you’ll have to wait a bit. But you can layer the filters over one another to create some interesting effects, and Best Camera loves to share: Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail are all just a tap away. Like all serious camera enhancement apps, of course, Best Camera zooms just fine.

Self Portrait Camera, Presselite; $.99. It takes your picture, you bloody narcissist. Yes, you, in all your glory. Or you and a friend. It insists your face(s) be in the center of the shot, which should suit you just fine. Set the iPhone someplace level or hold it up, and leave the ringer on–SPC tells you when it’s time for your closeup. “Three… two… one…” and presto! It’s You, on your iPhone. You, you, you!

Night Shot, John Smith; $.99. There are a variety of flash, low-lighting, or night photography apps (depending on how they phrase the genre,) but none does as nice a job. You don’t have to say “…but at least it got a picture” whenever you show off your handiwork, and it’s packed with features. 2MP output, 3MP on GS.

Snap Judgment Fun Pack, Blindside Studio LLC; $2.99. There’s no accounting for taste, and our taste sometimes runs to the absurd. That’s what Blindside’s selling in their Snap Judgment line. Take someone’s picture and it analyzes the likelihood that your subject will betray your secrets, use deodorant, etc. “Fun Pak” includes Original, Fortune, Annoy Me, Girlfriend, Boyfriend, Jail Time, and BFF. The absurdity: snap judgment is a conversation starter. The conversation begins, “There’s no way it can know that!” Of course there isn’t! Why do you think the Underwear Bomber got through? But voila, ice broken! If you want more categories of judgment, other titles and “paks” are available. Buy the “anthology pak” for $6.99 and let your iPhone judge every social interaction you experience. Then seek counseling.

Just one final note to remember: Although many iPhone apps are compatible with iPod touch and iPad, these apps are not because neither the iPad nor the iPod touch have a built-in camera.