Flickr has given its iPhone app a much needed update. A new-look UI, better camera app and improved sharing and uploading options make it a real photo contender for the iPhone.
The app uses pages of photo grids to bring the vast amount of images available on Flickr to the forefront of the experience. Groups, people, explored and all the main parts of Flickr are shown as photo cards, which are like long scrolling lists of images.
Double tap an image and you will favourite it. Single tap an image and you can see it full screen, in landscape or portrait, and then either share it or comment on it.
This applies to any image you see within the app, all of which are browsed via five icons at the bottom. The first shows images from contacts or groups, then geotagged images and the explore element of Flickr. In the middle is the camera element of the app, next to that contacts and finally settings for the application.
For the most part, each section is just a different way to browse through all the photos on Flickr. The app is very quick and smooth, making simply exploring photos a doddle.
The most major rethink, apart from the new look, is the camera UI. It has all the same features of the standard iPhone camera, but adds a clever way to tweak exposure and focus. Using two fingers, one finger can select focus point and the other pick out from where to expose. It's a great function that is currently implemented in apps like Camera+.
Flickr has also introduced a vast number of settings into the iPhone app, from being able to govern what size images upload, to a very personalisable notification system.
Images themselves, once snapped, also have an Instagram-like set of photo filters that you can apply. It is also possible to batch filter and upload large numbers of images by opening up your photo album from within the app and selecting them.
Uploads themselves, even across 3G, appeared very quick. You can also limit whether uploads will occur only over 3G, if you don't want to use a large amount of data.
Flickr makes a nice alternative to the likes of Dropbox and iCloud for those who want to back up images and nothing else from their iPhone. Priced in at around £15 a year, Flickr Pro allows unlimited images and video to be stored at their original resolution.
The new social sharing function with Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr also makes the app a handy way to run a photo blog. For those who want to download, you can get hold of the new Flickr app here.