With the arrival of two small but very important cameras on the Apple iPad 2, the iTunes App Store is beginning to fill up with a few options for testing out that new feature. From editors to filters and video callers to street brawlers, you can pick a little piece of tablet software to take full advantage of the fresh optical lease of life.
Naturally, we at PL don't want you spending your hard redeemed iTunes vouchers on any old rubbish, so we've compiled a list of the best iPad 2 apps for camera to separate the sheep from the goats. There's not an awful lot out there at the moment, so within the best there's even quite a large range of quality but we'll be adding more as the developers get developing.
One of the big problems of mobile cameras in the modern age is that it's become increasingly difficult to pap people. The public is just a little more clued up and, unfortunately, when you hold your mobile - and now tablet - angled to take a sneak shot, there's a good chance that your subject will know what your up to and unleash a tirade of abuse and perhaps even a tidy slap.
Step in SpyPad for iPad 2 which might just get you off the hook. You still have to hold your tablet up in the same place but, instead of showing you a preview on the screen, it displays a genuine working Safari page only with the photo or video you're shooting in a small area of it. What's more you can also adjust the opacity so that it's hardly noticeable at all. Then if your subject challenges you, you can show them that you're simply browsing the web.
Doodle Booth HD
Doodle Booth HD is one of those apps where it's all down to your creativity as to how much you'll enjoy it. It's a photo editor or, more accurately, a photo augmenter. You take your shot with your iPad 2, or just upload one of your choice that you have already, and then pick and choose between the fun doodles, hats, animals and balloons etc to make your snap all the sillier.
Probably nicest of all is that you can draw freehand with your finger as well which is one of those acts that makes you glad you've got an iPad. It's got a very friendly, paper notebook-type interface which will add to the charm of whatever masterpiece you're looking to create before you bombard your friends and followers with it. Fun, if you're into that sort of thing.
With the inclusion of front- and rear-facing cameras on the iPad 2, it makes complete sense that Apple has chosen to introduce a tablet version of its own film editing application iMovie for the first time.
The video editing software, iMovie, which features as part of the iLife package for Macs, has been enhanced for use with the iPad's touchscreen. It also features the company's precision editing system, multitrack audio recording, new themes specific to this version, AirPlay support - to stream video to an Apple TV - and is universal, so can be used on iPhone 4 or the latest generation of the iPod touch too.
According to Apple's iMovie page, the new universal iMovie application for iOS will be compatible with the iPad 2, iPhone 4, and fourth-generation iPod touch, but not the original iPad.
iMovie and Garage Band for iPad will cost $4.99 in the US and £2.99 in the UK on the App Store
There's something a little rough and ready about the feel of this app but you have to hand it its dues - it does work. Home Decorator uses the iPad 2 camera to take a picture of whatever room it is you're looking to spruce up. It'll then suggest a palette of colours to try based on what's already there or you can choose for yourself instead.
From then on, it uses an edge recognition technology that allows the app to auto-paint your walls, furniture or whatever else there is in the scene to see what your gaff might look like before you splash out on the Dulux emulsion and a gang of Poles. Well worth a download if you're decorating.
Night Vision HD
We'll be the first to admit that this isn't the most mind blowing iPad 2 camera app out there but pickings are slim until the developers get rolling. Essentially, Night Vision HD is a green filter with some direct sharing options tacked on.
It will not work at night. It will not allow you to see your way back from the pub down a dark country lane after closing time. In fact, it will not even work properly when you hold your iPad 2 in landscape. The question then is - what has Nightvision HD got going for it? Well, firstly, it's free and, secondly, it says to people in a clear voice that you're one of the lucky sausages who managed to bag yourself an Apple iPad 2.
Skype for iPhone
If you're not too fussed about the Facetime from an Apple device to another apple device you can download Skype for iPhone and run it on the iPad 2. While you have to live with the doubled up icons and keyboard, you do get to do video calling still as the iPhone software is happy to tap into the iPad 2's camera regardless.
Now you can have Skype to Skype video calls from anywhere around the world including when you are on a 3G connection. However, be warned it will eat through your monthly data allowance fairly quickly.
Dream Cam HD
If Doodle Booth HD is for the young at heart, then Dream Cam HD is for hippies. It's the tie-die of the photo filter/editor world. It's a simple and familiar affair - take you snap with the camera on the iPad 2 or indeed upload a shot of your own.
Then muck about with the 22 different dream themes and the six sliders at the bottom of each of them to get a uniquely trippy finished effect. Like we say, not everyone's cup of mushroom tea but it uses that camera and, yes, it does work.
Photo Signature HD
There's something nice about Photo Signature HD but it's a rather tenuous sell. "Take a picture with your idol and make it unique with his autograph" is what developer CMC Technologies says. The trouble is that we can't remember the last time we bumped into our idol, let alone when we didn't have a pen but happened to have an iPad under our arm but there you go.
What the app does is put a nice pretty white mount/frame around any picture you take with your iPad 2 and then allows you - or your idol - to draw on it with their with their finger to make the signature. You can choose both the brush colour and size and then upload it for the world to see and be jealous of. Cute, if not the most useful app we've ever seen.
The other use for the infamous photo booth was when having a crazy time with buddies or a special friend, where you'd bundle into a dreary box to have your pic done; it's this experience that the app tries to jump on the back of (although Pocket-lint didn't get a special friend until 30 years of age and so is not talking from first-hand experience).
In practise and the app does everything very well with a quality feel throughout; the makers, Synthetic Corp, of Hipstamatic fame, clearly know how to put together a polished camera-based app.
Once you have everyone you want in frame, hit the button and you'll get four shots with four different retro effects, whereby you can share one or all of the photos through the usual channels. Time, date and location are also included.
There's no word on whether you'll be able to import lenses and filters from the Hipstamatic range, but if you're into the whole analogue-fad-on-digital-device thing then for the money this is well worth a look.
32x Magnifier HD
This isn't actually one of the best camera apps for the iPad 2. It's actually nearly the worst but we wanted to mention it just in case anyone's tempted to buy. The concept of the 32x Magnifier HD software is to use digital zoom to make smaller things appear to be bigger.
Of course, what that actually means is pixelating the image and, while you might get away with doing that at 2x magnification, by the time you go any further the results are absolutely pointless. The camera on the iPad 2 isn't really even good enough to cope with its own screen's resolution let alone anything of more detail. In short, give this one a miss and perhaps even consider spitting on it as you go by.
100 Cameras in 1 for iPad
To really enjoy that iPad 2 experience you want to be rubbing people’s noses in it by using the camera as much as possible and one app that lets you do that is 100 Cameras in 1 recently released especially for the Apple tablet. There’s something fairly familiar about this filter-based post-production set up but a considerable amount of the dullness is removed by the idea of the 100 (we didn’t actually count) presets, each with its unique and rather pretentious name.
You can flick through them with that satisfying swipe of a finger until you find something you rather like the look of and then play with the sliders at the bottom to fine tune it to perfection as something you want to keep or just upload direct to whatever social platform you choose. Until we get to muck around with Aperture or Lightroom, this is as good as it’s going to be.
Until Flickr pulls its finger out of it aperture, those on the iPad 2 are stuck with third party version of the photo sharing social network to sort through and upload their freshly shot Apple tablet snaps. One would hope that the addition of the camera would kick an official app into life but, until then, Flickr Studio is a decent way to go.
The interface is official Flickr-esque with the familiar pink and blue colour screen this time on a pleasant and slightly sexy black background. You can sift through yours or anyone else's photos with typical gallery ease, upload and download from your Pad with resizing done on the fly and even post comments and do a little editing as well. Just a shame you have to pay for it.
Found any blinding photography apps for the iPad 2? Let us know in the comments.