King Camera v2.5 - iOS App Review

King Camera (v 2.5) - Free
(iPhone, iOS 4.3 or later) 

King Camera is free but to remove some in-built restrictions an in-app purchase of $0.99 is required. This image was enhanced using the Lomo Citrus filter effect from the Quickmatik module.

Available only for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch, King Camera is one of a growing number of complete all-in-one photo solution apps – conveniently allowing you to capture stills (and video footage) but also to edit photos, as well. Competition is fierce in this segment of the market, as this once paid-for app, King Camera, is now free from version 2.5. That said, to gain the ability to export high-resolution stills (in excess of 800 pixels), remove advertising and a small watermark, an in-app purchase of $0.99 is required.

King Camera's camera module is impressive. Adjustments are easy to make from a menu located down the left-hand side of the screen and a swipe is all that’s needed to hide it away during capture. Options include auto flash (if your device has a flash), burst and self-timer modes, image stabilisation, separate touch focus and exposure points, exposure-and-white balance locks, as well as a full-featured time-lapse movie feature. Some of these functions are replicated in iOS 5 as standard, but some, like time-lapse movie, are really unusual and it's great to have them all in the same place. 

The Camera Module's UI is uncluttered and extremely easy to use, although the opacity of the various icons can make it a bit tricky to see with certain backgrounds.    King Camera's Quickmatik Module (shown above) comprises 36 filters, including a selection of the seemingly ever-popular lo-fi effects. Each filter has a simple slider to adjust the strength of the effect.

Of course, the camera module is but one part of this app - there are several modules if you include the Photodesk (photo management and sharing options for Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, Dropbox…etc) and the photo-editing suite. Indeed, even the editing suite is comprised of two modules, Promatik and Quickmatik, which offer different features again. The Promatik module, for instance, includes sliders to adjust WB, Exposure, Shadows, Recovery, Saturation and Color Tints, amongst others. The simpler but equally useful Quickmatik mode includes 36-preset effects, including the ubiquitous set of lo-fi filters, each with an intensity slider, as well as a set of 12 preset/customisable borders, or frames. 

King Camera is simple to use and generally quick to capture, though the icons can be tricky to see at times. Making advanced image adjustments on a small screen, even with a zoom option, isn’t particularly easy but this is a criticism of editing apps in general, not solely King Camera. We like the image stacking option, which prevents overwriting of the originals and of course the edit modes aren’t limited to images captured by the app - any of the images on the camera roll can be adjusted. What’s missing, perhaps, is the option to apply sharpening and remove noise but even then there’s plenty here to like. 

What we like: Good balance of camera features and editing options, quick and simple to use, separate modes for advanced adjustments and easy to use filter effects, image stacks

What we don't like: Camera menu icons can be difficult to see, screen a little cramped for advanced editing, no sharpening or noise reduction options offered  

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by or any affiliated companies.


Total comments: 33
By TimR-Niagara (Jan 19, 2012)

yea i just seen this film called "Paranmanjang" (translation: Ups and Downs) which starts out as a music video of a Chinese group that reminded me of the Canadian rock group The Band and the rest of the film is a strange and eerie thriller fantasy you can check it out here:

By rxbike1 (Jan 11, 2012)

The iPhone is a versatile tool for me when I am out and about to capture potential spots that I would like to scout out later. That being said see this link on a film maker producing a product recorded only through an iPhone

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
By nellydesign (Jan 9, 2012)

All these iOS camera apps have the same problem. No access from sleep/lock screen with a double click of the home button. That's how I access my iPhone camera the vast majority of the time.

Roger Nordin
By Roger Nordin (Jan 10, 2012)

That's just one of ziilions of reasons why you jailbreak your iPhone... then download AnyLockApp and set whatever camera (or other) application to launch when you click the camera button on the lock screen. Also allows you to always show it without having to double-tap.

1 upvote
By keeponkeepingon (Jan 8, 2012)

I really wish dpreview applied the high standard they have for camera reviews to app reviews.

This little product blurb leaves a lot unanswered:

We need to know how this app compares to the other apps, how is it better (or worse)? What is unique about king camera?

Performance! How quick is the camera etc?

Will this app run on older IOSes and how does it perform on older hardware such as the 3gs?

Why should use this app instead of the top camera/ photo apps, (camera+, camera plus, photosynth, adobe, snapseed etc)

Since apps appear to be a recurring subject, perhaps a template similar to the photo reviews would be useful to standardize these reviews and help us compare against this market.

note: edited to be a bit less..... critical...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
By HeezDeadJim (Jan 8, 2012)

Actually, I think DPR is doing OK with these "app" articles (minus the lack of Android app articles).

They mention it briefly so you can either skip it or research it elsewhere on a site that's more attuned to these types of topics (I'm sure there's an Apple fan-base site somewhere that delves deeper doing direct distinct differences daily. Say that 10 times fast!). No need to steal someone else's thunder (let alone anger the DPR community that deems these articles useless).

You don't solely come here for camera/lens reviews? Why would anyone need to go to Amazon's user reviews or other sites to find out more details about them that weren't covered here (like that's possible). We want to come to ONLY DPreview for ANY and ALL reviews that encompass photography.

I WANT a full review on a MayTag or Kenmore washer and dryer set that will gently clean my sweat-ridden neckstrap!! Make it happen DPR!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By GSD_ZA (Jan 9, 2012)

I'm happy for dpreview to concentrate on more serious hardware and software in the photographic world. No matter how much better these things are getting at capturing images, I still don't think photographers are buying telephones in order to take photographs.

jerry  eisner
By jerry eisner (Jan 10, 2012)

I think this is a really good suggestion. I understand that an article here is only meant to whet our appetites for helping us to get familiar with a new tool or app. It may not be the place to go into depth. However, if you think about it. If you are going to review something why not go and give it a full and balanced review so that those reading it can get the benefit of the reviewer's research. Going half way in my opinion wastes all of our time including the person who did the review. Thanks. je

By OTSOG (Jun 22, 2012)

I, too, would like dpreview to cover apps in the same depth you do for camera gear that I've relied on for the years.

There are tons of sites that do teaser reviews -- the kind that manufacturers adore because they don't say the unpleasant truths about products. Of course, those are the reviews that get reviewers more products to gloss over or embellish.

With the state of internet search having fallen into the Black Pit of Uselessness, it would be great to rely on a site with as much utility as this one for otherwise reliable information.

There really isn't any such site for iOS apps, as apparently dpreview knows.I hope they hire a critical and dedicated team to address the iPhoneography (and Droidography) consumers' needs.

By Holgs (Jan 8, 2012)

The app would be better if it just focused on camera control. Editing is pretty awful on most of these apps & the way photodesk works means you can't really review photos you've just taken.

The only time I'd use this instead of the regular camera app is to have a bit more control over exposure, such as when creating panoramas:

The time-lapse would be much beter if you had the option of exporting full-res images to the camera roll, rather than getting the app to assemble a movie for you.

By larrytusaz (Jan 8, 2012)

What they need to make--and I suspect they will soon--is something that lets you "Eye Fi" your full-resolution d-SLR photos to your smartphone so you can use them throughout the day, and also apply full-resolution edits (even if it's just "preset" edits vs "pixel-peeping" edits). Smartphones definitely have "connectivity" over a stand-alone camera, and just as we've become used to being caught-up with our emails & web browsing throughout the day away from home vs having to do a boat-load of catching up upon returning home, so would it be nice to be able to do so here.

However, I'm not okay with using the smartphone camera towards this end. Even with the iPhone 4S, smartphone cameras are WAY below a dedicated camera in terms of operation and image quality. I have no interest in doing that. But if the smartphone can be the portable storage & "control center" of your d-SLR photos while on the road, that would be a nice setup.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
By nemo6666 (Jan 7, 2012)

Free version has NOT full resolution! In App purchase (0,79) for full funktions.


Any iPad photo editor with "Spot Healing Brush Tool" or "Clone Stamp"?

By HappyGuy (Jan 9, 2012)

Photogene has a healing tool as well as many other desirable tools like cures in addition to levels.

Genesis Reyes
By Genesis Reyes (Jan 7, 2012)

Photography is my way of leaving and passion I have a tone of photo apps in my iphone4, I just got the this app and I am impress with it, it has a tone of features to use to edit your photos since I use my iphone a lot to catch interesting things around when I don't have my DSLR with me.

I recommend it, the price is also sweet !!

1 upvote
By franksannd (Jan 7, 2012)

Glad to see King Camera make it on DPReview as it is my personal favourite in the photo app department. I've never been too fond of the app's name though. But this is just nitpicking. This app really is my little Lightroom on my iPhone and as a photographer, I couldn't ask for more really.

1 upvote
By L1ttleJ0hn (Jan 7, 2012)

I'm a pro photog. I have about a dozen or so camera and editing apps. I got this app from a review made on TheNextWeb a few months ago and I have to say that I'm impressed with the amount of features this app has. This review only touches the surface.

As a photog, just having time lapse, separate focus and exposure, white balance and exposure lock (all even in video mode) is indispensable. Also being able to add my name to the metadata gives me an added sense of security.

2 big features that the review fails to mention is that when you're editing in the Promatik (it's like a mini Photoshop), you have the ability to save a preset of your edits in the Quickmatik for future use. The other cool feature is the ability to copy/paste an effect right in the Photodesk. I haven't found another iPhone that does this. It really reminds me of Lightroom's "sync".

Of all my apps, the apps I use the most are King Camera (it has replaced Camera+ and Photoforge 2), Big Lens, Pro HDR and Pano.

Michael J Davis
By Michael J Davis (Jan 7, 2012)

Just curious - what iPad or other device has a focal length able to take the photo of Admiralty Arch from that distance? (And from where, a helicopter?)

By Dames01 (Jan 7, 2012)

Clue: LEGO


1 upvote
By HeezDeadJim (Jan 7, 2012)

That's not LEGO. That's heavy pixelization on the 3MP on the iPad. Cropped and zoomed in, no doubt...heh heh...

By SteveHageman (Jan 7, 2012)

Hey - It is Lego... Ha, ha, ha... I had to look close myself. A great scene - looks pleasingly real from a distance and the colors are spot on.

By Lea5 (Jan 7, 2012)

Thank you! I got an IPad2 for Christmas and I love all the vintage photo apps. I carry the IPad always with me and use it frequently for photos. It doesn't replace my D3 and D3X, but it is fun. I will download the new app today.

1 upvote
By twenty200 (Jan 7, 2012)

This is not a very good camera replacement app. It's ok at best. Camera+ has been around longer and has improved far more than this app. I assume King Camera got a review here because they got in touch and sought a review? Otherwise, I can't imagine why anyone would pick this app over its competitors.

sean lancaster
By sean lancaster (Jan 8, 2012)

Camera+ is my preference as well and what I use to compare anything else that comes along.

Roger Nordin
By Roger Nordin (Jan 10, 2012)

Thanks for the report, I am using Camera+ myself and was just wondering how this would stand up in comparsion

Kenneth Margulies
By Kenneth Margulies (Jan 7, 2012)

Thanks for the review. I think interest in such reviews will grow especially given the iPhone 4S's now decent 8 MP camera. With the iPhone 5's rumored upcoming release, along with the iPad 3 and its (again) rumored camera upgrade, I think an increasing number of people will find the reviews valuable. I would only suggest DPREVIEW get the word out to Apple customers that you are doing unbiased reviews of iPhone photography apps.

1 upvote
By Pixpa (Jan 7, 2012)

Downloaded and had a look -had a play - purchased the upgrade. You would have to go a long way to make better use of 99 cents.
Yay - good tip keep them coming. Thanks.

1 upvote
By dtmoody (Jan 7, 2012)

oh yay! ...another iTool app. meh.

Baxter Bad
By Baxter Bad (Jan 7, 2012)

Oh yay. Another fandroid who has nothing better to do with his life than scour the net for Apple-related reviews to make prissy comments on. Guess who the tool is.

By chadley_chad (Jan 7, 2012)

Oh yay, another person peeing on the rights of another to state their opinion. Who is the tool exactly!

1 upvote
By CAClark (Jan 7, 2012)

If people aren't interested, move on and ignore the article. There are more important thing to whine about in life by my reckoning.

By dtmoody (Jan 7, 2012)

I just love that I can come on here and say something so simple as my personal opinion and it just tics certain people off. Now, If I said something SPECTACULARLY positive, i'm sure my comment would go unnoticed.

I happen to be a Mac user (Yup...Mac Fan Here), and I just so happen to use an Android phone. I'm not bitter. Not searching the net for reviews on iTool related apps. Perhaps a little disappointed that there are rarely apps like this reviewed here on DPR for the Android user.

But Baxter, if my simple comments displease you so, well than I guess job is done here. Good Day. ;)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
Paul Pelletier2
By Paul Pelletier2 (Jan 6, 2012)

I use this application all the time, it is very fast and I love the Lightroom style of the editor and stack.

Total comments: 33