Camera illusion in Review – No, it’s not “just another camera app”

With the recent publication of Apple’s App Store review guidelines, one of my favourite quotes is definitely “We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps. If your app doesn’t do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted.” If only they really enforced it… Anyway with the plentiful supply of various camera apps already on the Store it would seem a new contender to the genre should be something original, especially considering the above-mentioned guideline. And Camera illusion actually is!

If you’re fond of your iDevice camera, it shouldn’t come as a surprise then that App Store is filled with apps that’ll allow you to apply various effects and filters in your photo library. Of course some are better at it, some are worse, but nevertheless most are roughly on the same level. But doing just that often leads to disappointment, since at the time of actually taking a photo you have no idea of how it would look like with the effect already applied! Well, guess what, Camera Illusion comes to the rescue!

What Camera Illusion does is apply the effects selected to the camera feed in real time. Yes, now you can, for example, switch on the negative filter and look at the world through your iPhone to experience it in full inverted glory! Up to 3 modifications can be applied simultaneously, with one each from the list of filters, effects and masks.

The filters contain the general image manipulation, like colour management (i.e. mono, negative, sepia, aqua, old photo, etc.) or some more complicated like pencil, chalk, emboss, lomo, thermal and others for a total of 17. The effects offer 12 more localized image distortions, like mirroring, pixelization, twirl, fisheye, etc. Lastly the masks are basically frames of various sorts to give your creation that finishing touch.

Once you set up your effects and catch the desired target in your reticule you can save the resulting photo in your library. Sadly the app doesn’t allow to apply the effects to photos already taken. On the upside if you’re the lucky owner of an iPhone 4 or an iPod Touch 4G you can use the front-facing camera as well to make some amusing pictures of yourself. And exclusively for the iPhone 4 you can use the LED flash to brighten up those dark alleys.

The biggest flaw of Camera Illusion is the quality of the resulting images. Pictures taken with the back camera of the iPhone 4 are saved in only 640 by 480 pixels and the front-facing camera reels in at a disappointing  480 by 360. I understand the developers had to limit the quality to get real-time processing up and running with decent speed, but come on, my iPhone 4 has better resolution than that! And why isn’t there an option to at least record video then?

Camera illusion is one of the more interesting among the plethora of camera apps out there. It provides a substantial amount of effects and filters for the user to play with and the ability to see the filter effects in real-time even before actually taking the picture allows for some quite interesting shots. Unfortunately all of this is in no small way offset by the quite awful quality of the resulting pictures, maxing out ay 640 by 480 for the back camera. That said though, if you’re not planning to print out high-quality photos Camera illusion is definitely worth the asking price.

With this I declare Camera illusion officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Camera illusion Developer: Ignacio Vina
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req: 4.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 1.11MB
  • Nice selection of effects and filters
  • Shows results in real-time without the necessity of taking a picture
  • Doesn’t allow to select a picture from the photo library and apply the filters to it
  • Capped at 640 by 480 pixels
  • No video recording


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