The iPhone's built-in camera app is pretty good, but if you want to add a few more features you have to head to the app store. Out of the handful of options available we think the most solid upgrade is Video Camera+ for its flexibility and useful feature set.
- All the features of the standard camera app (auto focus, touch focus, auto exposure, etc)
- Set the video quality to whatever you want, ranging from 1080p (if supported on your phone) to 192x144
- Videos are automatically tagged with their location (pending your initial approval)
- Use the flash to add continuous light to your videos
- Select a maximum recording length from 1 to 60 minutes (useful for timed recordings, weird otherwise)
- Timed recordings
- Many composition guides, including the standard grid
- Automatically start recording on launch (if you choose)
- Video stabilisation (iPhone 4S only)
- iPhone/iPad hybrid app
Video Camera+ (not to be associated with Camera+, our favourite iPhone camera app) is very similar to the iPhone's built-in camera app, only it focuses solely on video and adds a few nice new features. It's not a spectacular leap over the built-in option, and so it may not be worth your money, but if you ever wish you could set the video recording size, set a recording timer, or just get the video camera started faster, this app offers those advantages.
Video Camera+ doesn't do that much more than the built-in app. It's definitely a step up, but a small one. It also has an arbitrary 60 minute recording limit. While I can't find a reason why anyone would need more than 60 minutes of recording time on their phone, it seems strange to set any limit at all. Other than that it works as advertised and is an upgrade to the existing option. It's just not much of one.
Camera, or the built-in Camera app, is pretty decent as both a photo and video camera. If you're buying a video camera app on the iPhone you're getting it for a specific feature it offers, not because it's dramatically better than the base option. If you don't need any particular feature, just stick with what you've got.
8mm Vintage Camera ($1.99), as we've noted, is a really great effects-based video camera app. You can change lenses and film stocks with a tap and see everything in real-time. It's very cool, and if it had the option of normal recording and a few other features it would probably be our favourite option.
Qik (free) is a video camera and video chat app in one. You can make video calls with other uses of the Qik service and Vimeo (free) is a video camera, uploading and editing app for the Vimeo service. While it has its quirks and is certainly not perfect, fans of the Vimeo service will appreciate it.
Any other video camera apps you love? Share 'em in the comments!
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