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.

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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