XP antivirus 2011

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Samsung Galaxy S2 Review

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Camera Whimsy on iPhones

The chances are very low that your cellphone is your best camera; it doesn’t zoom, can’t take pictures in low light, can’t freeze action and generally takes mediocre photos. But it’s the camera you have with you most often. No wonder cellphones have become the most popular cameras on earth.
Especially the iPhone. Its camera is just O.K.— it’s a 5-megapixel job with decent color and clarity, as long as the subject is holding still. But lately, apps have been putting this thing on the photographic map. The iPhone is, let’s face it, really an iComputer. And since it can be controlled through software, the world’s programmers have wasted no time in examining the iPhone camera and adding to, or replacing, its features.
This is no niche software category; we’re not talking about recipe-management software or genealogy software. The photo-apps category on the App Store is teeming with options — 4,000 of them priced at a dollar or two; 2,500 are free — and they’re hugely popular with iPhoners. Some of the apps are meant to replace Apple’s own camera app. Many more extend your creative options by adding filters, editing tools, time-lapse features and panoramas. Most have tendrils shooting right into Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and wherever else fine cellphone photos are shared online.
To save you the four years (and thousands of dollars) it would take you to try out all 6,500 apps, here’s a handy cheat sheet. These are the coolest, best and most useful photo apps for the iPhone, as recommended by my colleagues, my photographer friends and my Twitter followers. These apps are, to use the technical term, wicked cool.
CAMERA-APP REPLACEMENTS The iPhone’s camera-taking app is fine. But it’s slow to start up, slow to save a photo, slow to focus. Turning the flash on or off is clumsy, requiring two taps on transparent, hard-to-read buttons.
If you replace it with an app like QuickPix ($2), all of those problems go away. The app opens much faster than Apple’s, takes photos much faster and can even snap stills while you’re shooting video. The flash is a single icon that you tap on or off. Put this on your home screen where Apple’s Camera app sits, drag Camera into a folder somewhere, and you’ll miss a lot fewer shots.
People also rave about Camera+ ($2) — not because it’s faster, but because it does so much more. The Stabilization feature, for example, ends blurry shots, because it doesn’t fire the shutter until the phone’s motion sensor detects that you’re holding it still for a split second. There’s a self-timer and two-a-second burst mode. You can crop, rotate or sharpen a photo, add a border and apply effects to it (black-and-white, sepia, and so on) — and unlike most of the effects apps, this one lets you control the effect intensity.
When you’re finished toying, you can send your masterpiece directly to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or e-mail. Pro Camera ($2) a similar, more crisply designed, more sprawling app, adds things like independent focus and exposure points (tap the screen), full color-correction tools and a 6X digital zoom that works surprisingly well. The high-end crowd swears by it.
FILTER APPS A filter, in digital photo lingo, is a special effect: turning a photo black-and-white, for example, or making it look grainy, oversaturated, faded, ancient or in some other way degraded. (For some reason, apps that make your pictures look as though they were taken by cheap cameras in the ’70s are all the rage.)
For $1, you can’t beat the attractiveness and creativity of 100 Cameras in 1. It works with both existing photos and new ones you take, and it lets you combine its effects (100 of them, get it?). The names of these filters are charming. They’re called things like “Hurried and anxious,” “The warm chocolate that we ate slowly” and “A bold thing to say so early in the morning.”
One tap sends your doctored masterpiece to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Smugmug, Dropbox, e-mail or a printer.
Hipstamatic ($2) is white-hot on iTunes these days. It turns the screen of the iPhone into a perfect replica of a cheap plastic toy camera of days gone by; by swiping your finger across the lens or the flash or the film window, you can choose different lenses, flashes or film types. It’s just a glorified effects picker, and you have to pay extra for additional options. Still, it’s cool and creative and really fun. (To see some of the results, visit Flickr.com and search for “hipstamatic.”)

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