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As the saying goes, the best camera is the one that’s with you. In our case it's an iPhone, so we tend to pounce anytime a new and potentially better camera app pops up on the radar – although few can top the modest simplicity of Apple’s built-in Camera paired with a good third-party image-editing app. The latest to land on the App Store is Zitrr Camera, an oddly-named but feature-packed solution that claims to do it all for little money, but stumbles when it comes to the one thing we want most from a camera app: Retaining original resolution from start to finish.
Zitrr offers 34 live filters, effects, and lenses advertised in “full resolution,” but we found this to be a misleading claim on our iPhone 5. Instead of native 8MP 2448 x 3264, Zitrr shoots filtered images at 1440 x 1920 – a steep drop to 2.8MP, according to the built-in image info. The resolution drops further when images are edited with Aviary, a popular free solution conveniently baked into Zitrr, which saves images at a mere 682 x 1024 – less than a megapixel in quality. On the plus side, users have access to the full range of Aviary enhancements, effects, frames, and stickers, meaning there’s one less app to install.
Oddly, Zitrr’s own built-in live filters cannot be applied to post-processed images at all. Several effects are unique to Zitrr, making the reduced image resolution a disappointment – but one shared by most third-party camera apps, which are limited by the hardware currently available. The app also shoots video in full 1080p HD resolution, but in our tests, the frame rate came up curiously short of native 24p (23.57fps), which gets cut in half to 11.76fps with live filters in use. Image quality was good, but ultimately Zitrr’s trick bag is better suited to social sharing than capturing smartphone images at the best possible resolution.
Zitrr's shots are saved within the app – there’s no option for automatic saving to Camera Roll – but can be exported in a couple of taps or optionally archived to Dropbox as they are shot. Zitrr can also save to multiple social networks at once, but our attempts to link with Facebook were thwarted at every turn by a mysterious error pop-up. Aside from image resolution criticisms, Zitrr features a handsome, well-organized user interface. Unfortunately, the UI lacks a landscape option and the shutter can’t be triggered from the volume up button (despite the app description listing this as a feature), both of which should be considered mandatory for all third-party camera apps at this point.
The bottom line. It’s not hard to find a third-party camera app more fully featured than Apple’s own, but the trick is finding one that doesn’t over-promise and under-deliver. While there's plenty to like about Zitrr Camera, its lacking features are only magnified by how much they fall short of what's advertised.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 5.1 or later
Full-featured camera app well suited to social sharing at limited resolutions. Unique live filters (34 total). Well-organized user interface. Built-in Aviary image editing.
Deceptive marketing claims regarding image resolution. Images edited with built-in Aviary are saved at less than 1MP quality. Bug prevents linking Facebook account. Locked into portrait mode with no physical shutter option.