Blux Camera: A Whole New Level of iPad Photography

Let’s face it – whether or not we own an iPhone, most of us are aware of its proficient picture-taking ability and the abundance of apps to support it. The popularity of iPhoneography has driven developers to produce apps of the highest quality, and to fill numerous photographic niches.

The iPad, however, isn’t known for its camera, yet plenty of iPad owners can be seen at concerts and events, taking pictures and video. It seems bizarre that these folks haven’t had a quality iPad-specific photography app to work with.

It comes as a relief, then, that this void in the App Store’s catalogue has started to be filled. The new arrival is Blux Camera, the latest in a series of photo- and videographic apps by Blux Touch, which have been hugely popular on iPhone. But can this app turn your iPad into a truly usable, if rather overgrown, photographic companion?

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Initial Impressions

The one significant advantage iPad-specific photo apps have over their iPhone cousins is screen space. Blux Camera makes the most of the extra display room, and does so with some style, providing the kind of heads-up display more commonly found in fighter planes than in photographic equipment.

By default, the middle of the iPad’s screen is encircled by two curved sliders – one for colour temperature and one for zoom. This is optional, however, as these sliders are one of five different on-screen aids which can be turned on and off. These include a histogram, a grid, and, as another nod to the aeronautical theme, an artificial horizon indicator for ensuring your shots are straight.

Blux Camera offers a number of on-screen aids

Blux Camera offers a number of on-screen aids

The rest of Blux Camera‘s controls are neatly packed away behind a number of icons around the periphery of the screen.

Snapping Away

While Blux Camera certainly looks noticeably different from its competition, it also shoots differently. Rather than applying filters and making adjustments post-capture, Blux Camera allows you to apply, and preview, these image modifications before you hit the Shutter button.

Adjustments are made by tapping the icon on the left of screen, which causes four more curved-style sliders to pop out, controlling saturation, contrast, brightness and hue, respectively.

Four manual adjustments are available

Four manual adjustments are available

Blux Camera‘s Effects menu icon can be found on the opposite side of the screen, along with the Shuffle (which produces a random effect) and Shutter buttons, forming a kind of on-screen widget.

The Effects menu — another pop-out — includes a significant number of tasteful filters, as well as a selection of shooting modes. Many of these are essentially presets, such as High Key and Backlit, although some, like the Food preset, feel gimmicky. Others, however, are more akin to the options found on a DSLR’s mode dial, such as (simulated) HDR, Macro and Portrait, which are all useful photographically.

The effects menu provides a large range of tasteful filters

The effects menu provides a large range of tasteful filters

As far as I’m aware, Blux Camera‘s Shutter menu is a uniquely brilliant piece of on-screen design. Tapping the Shutter button takes a picture in the normal way; hold it, though, and you engage the Shutter menu, which contains some surprising functionality.

The Shutter menu is well designed and contains useful controls

The Shutter menu is well designed and contains useful controls

This tool kit includes certain functions you might expect to find on a proper camera: Timer mode, Multi-shot mode for bursts of three, four, or five images in quick succession, and Voice mode, which allows the photographer to trigger Blux Camera with a loud noise. In addition, Blux Camera offers a stabilizing Anti-shake option, and the intuitive Big Button mode. In this mode, an on-screen tap of your main subject is all that is required to take a shot, with Blux Camera sorting out exposure and focus for you, before releasing the shutter.

Up in the top right-hand corner is Blux Camera‘s Quick menu, which provides a toggle between the front- and rear-facing cameras, along with a rather disappointing tilt-shift effect. Whilst your tilt-shift can provide either radial or linear “focus,” neither is terribly convincing, and this option sticks out like a sore thumb in comparison to the quality exhibited in the rest of Blux Camera.

Also notable for iPhone users is the pairing option within the Quick menu. Purchase Blux Lens on your iPhone, and you’ll have the option to trigger your iPhone’s camera remotely from your Blux Camera-equipped iPad.

Overall, then, the shooting experience in Blux Camera is a revelation for iPadography, providing some much needed controls and a good dose of quality design.

P.E.A.R.

The P.E.A.R. (Photographic Environment Analysis and Recommendation) technology in Blux Camera is a fun feature, and it will be genuinely useful for some users. Tap the Blux icon in the top-left, and you are thrust into a Star Trek-like screening procedure, which culminates in Blux Camera speaking and displaying a plethora of data about your current location.

Blux Camera's P.E.A.R. is definitely tongue in cheek, but it is useful

Blux Camera’s P.E.A.R. is definitely tongue in cheek, but it is useful

P.E.A.R.’s true function only becomes obvious at the end of this little data presentation – P.E.A.R. recommends a preset to shoot your photo with, based on the available light, the colour temperature of the light, and the weather data Blux Camera retrieves. The description of this process may sound faintly ridiculous, but, by and large, P.E.A.R. does actually work well. If this kind of technology is improved, we may see it in cameras before long.

Conclusion

Before trialling Blux Camera, I hadn’t really bothered using my iPad’s camera for anything, as the whole picture-taking experience left much to be desired. Mostly speaking, Blux Camera won’t change this state of affairs, but that’s not because the app itself lacks polish, but rather, because the iPad’s camera hardware really isn’t that great.

Judging the software alone, however, I think that Blux Touch has done an exceptional job. The shooting functions in Blux Camera are genuinely useful, the filters are tasteful, and the P.E.A.R. technology is both fun and innovative. The poor tilt-shift effect is the only noticeable weakness in the whole app.

Ultimately, if you don’t already take photos with your iPad, Blux Camera won’t convert you into an enthusiastic tablet snapper, even though it does markedly improve the iPad camera’s functionality. For iPad owners who do use their device for photography, though, Blux Camera is, quite simply, a must-buy.


Summary

An essential companion for the keen iPad photographer

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  • jose angel

    Gracias por esta aplicasion de mi aparato les agradesco mucho lo provare haora mismo

  • Saajid Hasan Rizvi

    I love the app but blux lens is not avlb for ipad n its a shame.Normally u can place an ipad n move around with an iphone.But with the limitation.I have to leave the iphone & watch it on the ipad.Also i cantdo multitasking while using this app so it means once im using this app i shouldn do anything else on the instrument & not even take calls.WAY TO GO !!! but its a new breakthrough.