Clearcam for iPhone - app review

Clearcam for iPhone is an app that compliments the already existing camera app. Instead of tapping camera, you take your pictures through Clearcam. I found myself using this app when I wanted clearer pictures or when I was in an area that pictures came out either blurry or dark. The concept is quite simple, it'll take several shots of the same thing and either overlays the shots or chooses the best one (depending on what setting you choose).  The app claims to up quality of the camera from 5MP images to around 11MP images.

When first loading Clearcam, it looks somewhat similar to the iPhone camera app.  It adds a few options that are the basic foundation of what the app really does.  You'll see the shutter button and then two options.  One labeled "quick" and one labeled "enhanced".

The quick setting is just that.  It will take 3 shots in rapid succession.  It will save the best one to your camera roll.  It works like it says it does and typically always gets a good shot.

The enhanced mode will take 6 shots quickly and it will take the best parts of each one, essentially stitching them together to create a better all around image.  In my experience, it was somewhat touch and go.  I also would take the same picture with my stock camera app.  In some scenarios, it seemed like the stock camera app took better pictures than what Clearcam stitched together.  It was rare, but it did happen occasionally.  I'm not sure if maybe the app has trouble stitching certain pictures together or rendering them, but there's definitely a bug there.

The app performs better in low light settings than the default camera in all instances (at least in my experience).  I'd probably attribute this to the fact that it's picking either the best picture or rendering 6 pictures together to create the best possible image.  If the exposure was a little dark in some places, it will pull the better pieces from another picture.  Having this app in low light settings is enough to justify purchasing it in my opinion.

(*Side note about pictures, most of them are better quality than shown here, we have a limit on image uploads so I had to downsize some of them which will reduce the quality a bit)

[iTunes Link]

Pros

  • Increases the quality by a landslide, especially in low light situations
  • App is responsive and doesn't take forever to save to the camera roll like other photo apps
  • Increases quality in darker pictures
  • Very simple to use

Cons

  • Some photos come out blurrier than the default camera app (assuming this is some kind of bug)
  • No settings other than Quick and Enhanced and tap to focus, would like to see some native contrast and saturation settings to make up for the lack of settings in the default camera app

TiPb iPhone 4-star rated

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

More Posts

 

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

← Previously

So will you be using Facebook Places?

Next up →

Awesome iPhone and iPad apps and updates - August 19, 2010

Reader comments

Clearcam for iPhone - app review

27 Comments

thanks for the review, i read those pictures are not the final quality, is there any other way we can compare the two of pictures taken, original vs clearcam. like uploading them outside or something. also noticed how fast to take a picture is in the iphone 4, i wonder if that app take them as fast in the 3gs or so

@Steve he will be 4 on october 20th :)
@LuisPr how about i upload them to flickr later on tonight and post a link in the article and here so you can compare the actual differences?? sound reasonable? also, it seems to be just as quick as the native camera. I'm assuming it's just calling the same API.

This should be called ClearScam. There is no difference at all between the regular camera and this one, even when you transfer it to your computer. The size still is around 2.5-3 MB per image. So I think it should be renamed to ClearScam.

Looks pretty interesting. I was thinking of trying this app out. I'd be more interested in Apple updating the standard camera App so that the images weren't always so oversaturated. In some cases, the pics look good, in others, the oversaturation makes pictures look extremely unnatural.

@Wayne - I don't know how you're manipulating images or what you're doing, but if you don't see a difference you should get your eyes checked. ;) it works as advertised.

Hi - Just a couple of developer comments. Thanks so much for the review. We are happy that you found ClearCam to be a useful app. We've put a lot of energy into it and have big plans for the future to keep improving it so that you always capture great photos without missing the moment.
This works just as quickly on the 3GS as the 4. Actually it is slightly faster because the images it is working with are smaller. 3G phones still have issues with iOS4 and we don't recommend using ClearCam on 3G phones quite yet. This has been resolved in the 4.1 OS release which I've been testing with. Should be out soon.
In either case, it's pretty fast as you could see from the video. I've submitted an update to apple which is going to have much faster saves, separate exposure control as well as some extra ClearCam special sauce that we're pretty excited about. I'm getting great images in testing and have my fingers crossed that it will be approved by early next week.
We appreciate everyone's support and hope that you find you start to trust your iPhone camera in all situations with this app!
Josh

Ally, I transferred pics from my iPhone 4 to my computer and they were the exact same size as photos taken with the normal iPhone 4 camera. I'm pretty sure that an 11 MP image is larger than 3 megs.

Wayne -- I took a photo with my iphone 3gs camera - size 975 kb (looking at the stored file in the finder via phonedisk software). Then I took an enhanced photo of the same thing via clearcam. It's size was 1.7 mb -- about double the size. It they were the same size for you, it might be the method that you used to transfer them.
I also looked at them on my monitor -- part of the picture included a text label -- the enhanced photo was unmistakably clearer.
OTOH, I can see using this app is special situations but the enhance feature takes time. It is also not automated -- I'm not sure why I have to press buttons to get it to work. There is an align feature but I'm not sure how I would really use that on an iPhone screen. Maybe the new onscreen help will explain... All in all, this app is clearly worth the buck they are selling it for today.

@Wayne
I'm going to agree with @gstriph - I know the images are larger because our site didn't even want to let me upload the enhanced ones. it was telling me we had a 2MB per upload limit for image files on the ones that were enhanced, while the ones shot with regular mode or the regular iPhone 4 camera app were under that limit. i looked at my file sizes and a standard image was around 900kb, the enhanced version, around 2MB. that's a huge difference. when you're taking the pictures, you're using enhanced mode correct? not quick? quick only chooses the best of 3 images while enhanced stitches together 6 images. you also need to click into the file icon and enhance and align the images, then export the image. i'm assuming the same as @gstriph and whatever method you are using to transfer your images to a computer is compressing them.

Why doesn't a mod approve my post so you guys can clearly see the difference between pictures?

@Tomez DeSilva
if you don't see a difference you are not using the app correctly. quick mode provides the exact same functionality as the default camera app (so there's no possible way it's worse), and enhanced provides a higher quality version, you will not see a difference on the phone, but when you attempt to ENLARGE.
as a side note, apple does not issue refunds for apps, individual developers do.

Tomez - if you have questions, please feel free to contact me at twoteethtech at gmail. Allyson is right - you should be seeing an obvious difference. I'd love to get feedback on how we can make it easier to use and understand, so I'd love to hear from you. If it really isn't doing anymore for you than the stock camera, then I've wasted a whole lot of time and would be happy to refund your money personally!
Thanks!
Josh

SeattleBrad says:
August 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm
Please include the price of the app when writing a review. This is $0.99.
2 days later it's $1.99... are you guys selling stock... i may want in.

@Kevin
there is a reason we don't include the price, that's because app prices fluctuate so much. if someone searches one of our reviews 6 months from now and sees the price as one thing and it's really another, that creates a problem for us. we do not include prices anymore. and fyi, the app was on sale. when i wrote the review it was 1.99 (wrote it about a week before it was posted on the site). then it went on sale. 1.99 is the normal price of this app (as of now)

Just thought I'd let the group know that another ClearCam update was just approved. It offers independent exposure control (a sadly missed feature from the app store since the departure of taptaptap's Camera+), much faster saves, an improved UI, in-app help, and some additional ClearCam special sauce - i.e. even clearer pictures.
I look forward to hearing any feedback at twoteethtech at gmail.com.
Thanks!
Josh

@Allyson thanks for the review decided to buy this app last week and it really works :D
@Josh just downloaded the update. this app is now my goto camera app whenever i need to take pics :D keep up the good work :)

Hi PaulK - Just got a release approved that does support geotagging in the camera roll (requires iOS4.1 when it comes out later this week). With 4.1 it will also support 3G phone.
Hope you enjoy it!
Josh

I have another oddity. Love the app, nice and clear but i'm getting shots in my camera roll which are inverted. cant work out how, but it might have something to do with moving the phone whilst they are processing. any ideas?