I have long coveted a DSLR (and not just because I’d need a gorgeous camera bag to carry it). But thanks to the latest update to our beloved Camera+ app, I’ve got powerful photo editing features right on my smartphone.

We’ve been fans of Camera+ for years, since it allows us to take awesome pics with our smartphones, no DSLR required. Even photographer-to-the-stars and Instagram maven Nigel Barker is a fan. And now with the improved Camera app in iOS 7 along with the hardware advances of the iPhone 5S, it’s nice to see that Version 5 makes Camera+ a contender again.

The big improvement to the Camera + App with Version 5 is “The Lab,” which gives you unbelievable control over the look of your photos. Sure, you can straighten, flip, rotate, and crop as before, but you can also adjust the exposure, brightness, and contrast, as well as play up highlights or shadows and sharpen or blur your photos.

Camera+ app version 5 | Cool Mom Tech

Where The Lab gets really fun is the Duotone feature, which lets you manually adjust brights and darks, or roll the dice to let Camera+ adjust them randomly, generating some pretty amazing results. Seriously, just play with it. I’m hooked.

I also really like the Soft Focus feature, which gives photos this afterglow sort of quality. I used this one on the outdoor shot of my daughter, and I was really impressed with the results.


One more great feature of The Lab is Clarity Pro, which also gives photos a little extra oomph and might help salvage those candid kid shots where the subjects look adorable but the background and lighting aren’t so hot. This is another feature that’s manually adjustable, and you’ve just got to play with it a bit to get the right look.

Best of all, you can import old photos into the Camera+ Lightbox and edit them with all those cool new features. While I wouldn’t attempt to do that for all the pictures on my hard drive, it could be a great project for vacation, birthday, or holiday photos. After which, you can publish them in a gorgeous photo book, of course.

Nicely done, Camera+. You’ve won us back over.

Download Camera+ for iOS 6 or above on the App Store–the app is $1.99, and the Version 5 update is free for existing users.

A word of caution: While Camera+ Version 5 has been tested all the way back to the iPhone 3G model, the App Store comments from iPhone 4/4S users lead us to believe that it’s best suited to iPhone 5/5S/5C and iOS 7.