100 Cameras in 1 is a fairly self-explanatory name for an iOS camera app. With two versions, one made for the iPhone and the other for the iPad, the developer has discovered a way to leverage the best of both platforms to deliver as smooth of an experience as possible for the user. If you thought that camera apps needed to be simple, you may change your mind after trying 100 Cameras in 1.
At first, the app itself appears to be a lot more than a simple camera app. The menu interface reminded me of the Zune UI, but with a lot more Zen intermixed. Everything about this app from the moment you fire it up emphasizes the importance the developer placed on design. This is a good thing, especially with an app that is intended to focus on making images look better. The opening menu gives you the option to take a photo, create a new project form your existing photo library, check your achievements, explore more apps from the developer, join the newsletter, customize options and linked accounts, and find out more about the app itself. If the first menu is any indication, this app appears to be more involved in marketing the company behind the app, Stuck in Customs, than actually delivering useful features in a quickly accessible fashion.
The first time you load the 100 Cameras in 1, you’ll be met with a screen that tells you about the iPad version of the same app (available for another $3.99). You’ll also be asked to sign in to Game Center. At first, I was confused as to why a camera app would ask me to sign in to a platform built primarily for maintaining game scores and achievements. It wasn’t until I took the first picture that I realized 100 Cameras in 1 is built on an achievement platform, giving you more reason to use the app as frequently as possible and explore all the various features 100 Cameras in 1 offers. Once I understood this, other aspects of the program began to make a lot more sense to me.
Taking a Photo
The options in the main menu are spaced fairly close together, especially for the small screen of the iPhone (or iPod touch). It took me two tries to select the option for taking a new picture before I got there. The process of taking a photo is very similar to that of Instagram in that you’re restricted to snapping an image within a square aspect ratio. You can choose to have one of two helpful overlays present while taking the shot: Golden Ratio or Rule of Thirds. This is a welcome sight, especially for amateur photographers who could use an extra reminder of how to properly frame your image.
100 Cameras in 1 assists you in taking a better photo by requiring you to hold your finger on the camera icon and releasing it only when you are absolutely ready to snap the image. By doing so, the iPhone is less prone to taking a shaky image due to the impact of your digit on the screen. This is a feature that should be expected in any camera app, especially ones that cost.
After the Photo is Taken
Here’s where the real magic happens, and the true usefulness of 100 Cameras in 1 really comes in. Like Instagram, there are preset image effects that can be applied to your image — 100 of them. Each one has been categorized and named with one of the most interesting naming schemes I’ve seen in a photo editor to date. These preset effects can be layered on top of one another for a truly unique result. Some of these presets are optimized for landscapes, while others have a more worldly appeal. Whether you want your back yard to look more like a scene from the planet Mars or a vibrant and luscious landscape of greenery (when you know too well the grass has taken on a more yellow tint in reality), the choice is given to you. The only app I can really compare this to from memory is Instagram, but with a far wider range of image presets, and the ability to layer them on top of one another, it would appear these two apps are a world apart in terms of functionality. If they did exist in the same family of products, 100 Cameras in 1 would clearly be the pro version.
Sharing Your Work
You can share your images directly to Instagram from 100 Cameras in 1, and that in itself should be more than enough reason to consider it. In addition, you can have your images sync to Flickr, Twitter (via TwitPic), Facebook, SmugMug, and your Dropbox account. As an avid user of Dropbox and its integrated public photo gallery feature, this is a big plus. You can also have images emailed to you through the app for later sorting, forwarding, and storage.
Over all, 100 Cameras in 1 has quickly become my go-to app for taking a photo on the iPhone. If it would spare the unnecessary advertising on the menu and make the options a little easier to select by spacing them apart a little more, it would quite possibly become one of my top three apps on the platform.