Canopy Kapok pictures and hands-on

With the iPhone 4 topping the charts as the most popular "camera" on Flickr, it’s clear that people are using iPhones to take an awful lot of pictures. Canopy think they can step things up a notch with their Kapok case.

The Kapok is a case for your iPhone 4/4S offering budding photographers a couple of extra features, including an app with a completely different camera interface.

First off, the case itself comes in two pieces. Your iPhone simply slips into the bottom half and you slot in the top section. The case is manufactured from a tactile plastic, so feels nice and grippy in the hand, although it is a little on the large side to leave on all the time.

It leaves all the normal controls exposed so you can still access buttons and connect your headphones, but it also incorporates a dock connector in the case, which allows for two additional buttons on the case itself.

These buttons act independently, the left button will lock the exposure and white balance and the right button acts as the shutter button, with a half-press focusing the camera.

Finally the case also offers a tripod mounting screw and cleverly the packaging of the Kapok is a stand, so if you don't have a tripod, you can always use the base to set your iPhone up for some shots. 

At first we dismissed it as being a little too chunky, but thanks to the weight and the grippy feet, it's pretty useful. We used it to support the iPhone on the roof and bonnet of a car for the time lapse video we captured.

The Kapok is really about the app that you're nudged to install when you put the phone into the case. This gives you a new interface and adds some functions that the default camera doesn't offer and enables those additional buttons.

Post-iOS 5, the volume up button acts as a camera button when in the default camera app, so some might question the value of a case that brings another button, but it makes more sense when you look at what the Canopy app will do. 

The app brings things like time lapse shooting, self timer, an on-screen spirit level, as well as those white balance and exposure locks that we mentioned previously. These functions all lean towards using a tripod of some sort, especially the time lapse, which needs a nice steady camera to get the best results.

It's fun and useful, although we'd have liked the case halves to lock together better and at $69.95 (£45) we'd want the case to be a little more refined.

It's available through Canopy's website, we can't find a UK stockist.