Take and Edit Photos on Your iPad 2 with Top Camera

Top Camera for the iPad is a photo taking and editing app designed especially for use on the iPad 2. If you’ve tried to use your iPad for taking pictures, you know that the cameras aren’t exactly high quality, and that there are very few camera apps in the App Store that are able to remedy that problem.

This app is no miracle worker, but it does improve photos and videos that are taken using the iPad 2, which is the best you can hope for considering the camera you’re working with.

The app opens automatically into the camera for picture taking, and the first noticeable improvement is the grid for rule of three photo composition. If you don’t know what the rule of three is, it’s a simple concept that almost always results in better photos. Line up the horizon on one of the middle lines, or line up portraits and other photos with the main subject at one of the intersections. This is a basic, guaranteed way to churn out better photos. Luckily, composition has nothing to do with camera quality.

Top Camera also has a level and tilt sensor so that you can make sure your iPad is lined up straight, which is a great feature since picture taking with the iPad is unwieldy at best and hard to hold straight. Using the white balance button, you can set the app to automatic white balance or you can lock the white balance so it doesn’t auto adjust. This feature will allow you to change the brightness and color tint of your photos, and you can select any part of the photo to sample from. Zooming in and out is done by tapping the plus and minus buttons on the right side of the screen.

Settings on the bottom allow you to switch to video mode, enable a stabilizer, turn on timed mode, turn on HDR, set the app to take burst photos, and turn on the slow shutter. HDR is a function that takes two photos and merges them to have a better range of light and dark in photos. This function was pretty slow, and it takes a lot of time holding the iPad steady to get a decent image. The HDR photos I experimented with repeatedly came out too bright, washing out shadows, but I think this could be remedied by lowering the effect. Timed mode is great for group shots, and slow shutter is a neat little function that allows you to create ghost images and slight blurring.

An extensive options menu allows you to choose photo quality in all of the different modes and allows you to tweak functions like the timer and stabilizer. You can also turn off any features you don’t want on the screen, so the grid isn’t there permanently if you don’t care for it. You can also change where your photos are saved – as a default, they’re saved in the app’s internal gallery, but you can also have them exported directly to your photo album.

When you’ve taken and saved photos to the internal gallery, you can then edit, export, and delete them. Editing is extensive, with features like crop, rotate, and borders, plus adjustments to edit brightness, contrast, saturation, temperature, tint, and more. There are also over 36 filters to use to improve your photos, and filters like grunge, lomo, antique, and cheap camera work very well on photos taken with the iPad 2. My photos with edits applied were definitely passable, and quite similar to other photo editing apps like Snapseed and Instagram.

Top Camera is a fully featured iPad photo app, and definitely the one app you should download if you ever have an inkling to take a photograph with your iPad 2. It really turns mediocre photos into works of art, and it is by far the best combination photo taking/editing app available for the iPad.

What I liked: There were several filters to apply, which really turned out to be the key to making an iPad 2 photo look decent. Every filter had sliders for minute adjustments to make photos dramatic or subtle. I especially liked the cheap camera filter, which looked good on every photo I used it on.

What I didn’t like: I didn’t think the HDR function worked very well, or turned out any improvement in photos. It was very slow and lagged for minutes at a time. I also had several crashes when recording video.

To buy or not to buy: This all-in-one app is a great deal. It’s currently on sale for $0.99, but it would still be worth it at the regular price of $2.99.

  • App Name: Top Camera
  • Version Reviewed: 1.0
  • Category: Photography
  • Developer: Lucky Clan
  • Price: $0.99 (on sale for a limited time) / $2.99
  • Score:

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli