19 February, 2012

CameraBag 2 review

Last week Nevercenter asked if I'd like a review copy of their photo editing desktop app CameraBag 2. I had a look at the intro video on You Tube and thought it looked interesting so said why not and they gave me a copy. Initially I wasn't entirely sure why they approached me but I suspect that they are aiming for the "in love with Instagram (or Hipstamatic) and want to do it on my computer" set - and I admit I've looked for Photoshop filters that would allow me to replicate some of the filters I like on Camera + or Magic Hour. And woah does CameraBag have filters! Filters up the wazoo.  I could put in some screen shots of it in action, but actually the 5 minute 'How To' video is probably the best way to get an idea of how it works and it will save me a lot of explaining!

So, what do I think? I think it's fun and useful but there are some important things that are missing. First the good stuff!

Filters, filters, filters and more filters! I'm sure if you're a Photoshop whiz you can do these things easily enough, but I'm not and I can't - not even a vignette, so I'm pretty excited about these.

This is some of them:
Screen Shot 2012-02-16 at 9.41.59 AM

And there's even more of them here:
Screen Shot 2012-02-16 at 9.45.23 AM

All up I counted 102 individual filters, and then within each of those there is a huge variety of settings. It's a little overwhelming! Luckily there is the quick look option which lets you see them all at a glance.

There are also the usual exposure settings of brightness/contrast/saturation etc. etc.

Screen Shot 2012-02-16 at 9.40.25 AM

Plus some frames (something I've never been able to figure out in Photoshop!)

Screen Shot 2012-02-16 at 9.43.26 AM

So all of that's good and great and I'm really enjoying it. But what can't it do? (and I do stand to be corrected on this if anyone knows differently) Well it can't sharpen, and that's a major failing in my books. I use unsharp mask a lot, even on photos that are pretty sharp to begin with. Other online photo editing programs do a good sharpen - Snapseed on my iPhone does a super-good job, so its lack in CameraBag is a bit puzzling. It's the difference between this:

and this:

The other thing that I like to use a lot is a clone stamp or similar to get rid of pesky lamp posts or wires or trees. There are iPhone apps that can do this (eg.Filterstorm) - but not CameraBag. So instead of getting all lovely cloud courtesy of the seriously cool 'content aware' fill function in Photoshop (cloning could do it too, it's just much more labour-intensive):


You get this

CB cloud

Boo - trees and powerlines!

In the course of trying to figure out where sharpening was, I discovered another issue - the lack of a decent help function. The website offers a few video tutorials and some FAQs and that's about it. There is no comprehensive help guide, or any way of searching on a topic if what you want to know isn't contained in the FAQs. This suggests they aren't really expecting anyone to want to use this program seriously, or to experience anything outside the completely ordinary and expected. As a Photoshop and iPhone photo app junkie user it wasn't really an issue for me, and the controls are pretty intuitive, but still.

Overall I'm really enjoying the app and even if I had spent money on it I think I'd be pretty happy and looking forward to using it; but it's not perfect. I suspect what I'll be doing is some basic editing in Photoshop, particularly sharpening, and then taking it over to CameraBag. I've got my iPhoto set up to edit using Photoshop anyways, so it should work fairly smoothly. At the moment CameraBag 2 is US$24 and you can get a month's free trial for either Mac or PC, which seems to me like a bit of a no-brainer - you can evaluate it yourself. And if you find a way to sharpen I'd love to know!

1 comment:

  1. If you’re choosing a camera bag, you’re probably interested in taking a look at the options available to you. The truth is that the options are virtually limitless.



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