iOS 5: Camera and photo editing

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It’s an old adage: The best camera is the one you have with you. For photo editing, the adage may soon be: The best editor is the one can you can use immediately before posting it on Facebook. With iOS 5, the photo editing capabilities of your iPhone are greatly improved.

Taking photos

You’ll encounter the biggest change when you go to take a photo. You can now use your volume up button to take a photo, making it a more natural and steady experience. You can also put an overlay grid on the screen to make sure your photo is straight (yes, I know, my sample isn’t straight).

With iOS 5, you can now access the camera app directly from the lock screen. This is a fantastic time-saver. Previously, in the couple of seconds it took to unlock the iPhone and launch the Camera app, the moment had often passed. Now, I’ve¬†dramatically increased the number of photos of my cat that actually come out well.

Editing photos

All edits take place in the Photos app. To edit a photo, choose it from the Camera Roll, and press Edit in the upper right-hand corner. The rudimentary editing tools (rotate, auto enhance, red-eye, and crop) will appear on the bottom.

Rotating photos is a little weird. The tool on the far left will rotate the photo in 90-degree increments. However, if you want to rotate the image any other degree, you need to go into the Crop tool and rotate it using a two-finger twist. To me, it seems like all the rotate tools should be in one area.

Most of the pictures you’re likely to take with your iPhone are in sub-optimal conditions. A bar, outside in direct sunlight, outside at night, etc. Auto enhance is iOS’s best guess as to what the photo should¬†look like if the conditions were better. In my limited tests, it works well enough, though it’s not nearly as good as using a tool like Aperture, but for something you want to quickly enhance before you post it on Twitter, it’s fine.

Left is before auto enhance; right is after

Final thoughts

I’m happy with the Camera and Photos enhancements. While I don’t tend to post many photos on Facebook or Twitter, now that Twitter is integrated into OS, I might start using it more. Giving a photo a quick edit or auto enhance before I post will be nice. The ability to access the camera from the lock screen and using the volume button to capture images are the most significant changes, and should please any mobile photog.

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