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Toy box: camera apps

Jamie Carter

 

These apps help you get more from your smartphone's camera, but remember that the iPhone - especially the 4S model and earlier - needs plenty of light. Naturallight is always best, and low light conditions may givegrainy results that no app can fix.

 

Pic Scanner
This fabulous debut app from Hong Kong-based start-up App Initio, Pic Scanner (free, HK$23 for unlimited sharing) digitises old photographs. What makes it unique is its ability to scan up to three 4x6-inch photos simultaneously. Just lay them on a white piece of paper, take a picture, and Pic Scanner detects them, cropping automatically - and very accurately - though the results are more detailed if you scan them one-by-one. The app includes basic rotation and editing options, plus captions and sharing to Twitter, Facebook or to the iPhone's own camera roll.

 

Camera Noir
Unlike apps that offer myriad effects, Camera Noir (HK$18) concentrates on simple black and white. There are just three basic filters - lo, mid and high - that tweak contrast and brightness, and show real-time results on-screen. The lens focuses automatically and accurately, and the app saves its images to an iPhone's regular camera roll. If you'd rather start with colour, this simple app can also be used to turn existing images into classy black and white, too.

 

Air Camera
This Swiss-born app makes an iPhone or iPad into a live streaming device when paired to an Apple TV. Using the magic of Apple AirPlay, Air Camera (HK$8) for the iPhone 5 streams - and records - both video and sound, with black and white, sepia and grey filters available, too. Since the Apple TV is tiny and highly portable, teachers could attach it to a big-screen TV for instant close-ups of cookery demos, medical procedures and any other detailed work in the classroom. But you might need a small tripod for your iPhone.

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