Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snappy5: How the iPhone Camera Should Work

Having a mother who is a professional photographer, it's sort of a given that I would at least be somewhat interested in photography, and I am, but not quite to a level where I need a DSLR and pore over Photoshop to get everything just right. I'm not a fan of setting up the perfect shot or of trying to capture something in just the right way. I don't want to carry a bulky camera everywhere I go. I don't want to do a lot of work in post on shots. I just want to take pictures of things every now and again. 

With the advent of the iPhone and its possession of a quite useful camera (especially in the 4S), I found my perfect platform for snapping pictures whenever I have the chance. The icing on top of the iPhone cake is that there are a plethora of apps that make shooting fun and quirky. I love using Instagram, Hipstamatic, Snapseed, and numerous other apps to get variations on the "normal" shots you'd get from just using the stock iPhone camera app. I find myself taking pictures of random stuff all the time (even my wife has noticed, getting me an iPhoneography book for our anniversary).

Now as much as I love the iPhone and it's camera app, the biggest issue with using the iPhone as a camera is that it takes, at least on my iPhone 4, a bit of time for the app to load. Sometimes it's just long enough for you to miss that candid shot you wanted to get. Even being able to access the camera from the lockscreen in iOS5 didn't solve the problem because the camera app still had to load. I figured I was simply stuck... until I ran across the Snappy5 app

The app is relatively simple and makes me wonder why Apple couldn't make their camera app work like it does. Essentially all Snappy5 is, is a replacement for the stock camera app that loads almost instantaneously, be it from the app's icon, the lock screen, or via a gesture you set up in Activator. Now I suppose I should mention that you need to have your phone jailbroken to get this app, but since jailbreaking is so simple nowadays, I can't see why you wouldn't do it. 

This little app I know will make it (and has made it) so much easier for me to grab a quick, candid shot that I would have otherwise missed. It's well worth the two bucks you'll pay for it. The only improvement I hope to see in the future is potentially a way for it to launch other photo apps and do it just as quickly. I'm sure this is not possible, but it would be a hell of a feature. Imagine having Instagram's share interface come up almost instantly. For now, though, I'm just happy my iPhone's camera is now instantly accessible!


buck09 said...

Ya, I get annoyed at the delay in loading the camera on the iphone. I only have the 3GS which is even worse. I am a bit jealous of my wifes 4 and the 4S even more, but I'll take what my work gives me and keep living cell phone bill free as I have since about 2002.

What is jailbreak? I hear it talked about, but never took the time to read up on it and still don't feel like reading up on it. What benefits does it bring and is it something that could be done on a company phone?

I am in the same boat as you, as far as not wanting to pack around a big fancy camera everywhere and just enjoying taking pics on the fly without intention of setting up a photo scene. I am into the landscape sort of scenery. I do have to say the big fancy camera gets a lot crisper photo if I ever wanted to get prints, but for just screwing around and sharing photos on the internet, the iphone is awesome.

Rick Gebhardt said...

Jailbreaking is simply opening up the OS to do other things than what Apple wants you to (ie: change themes, downloading anything over 3G, randomizing ring tones, etc.). It's pretty easy, but I wouldn't recommend doing it to your work phone unless they're really lax about their policies. It's not too tough, but takes some patience and know-how to get it all set up how you would imagine you want it.

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