The Best Camera

World renowned photographer, Chase Jarvis, has developed an iPhone photography App called “The Best Camera.”  You may recall that we recently covered 24 Cool iPhone Photo Apps.  In that post, there were many photo apps which applied a variety of different filters and methods to share your photos with others; however, there was no one app that took care of it all.  That was Chase’s goal in creating The Best Camera – one app to rule them all. 

Before I forget, here’s the iTunes link for the app.

But Chase didn’t stop with an iPhone app.  He’s also launching a companion book, The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You: iPhone Photography by Chase Jarvis, and website,

I’ve been following Chase’s blog and twitterings for a while now and can say that the guy has been obsessed with the iPhone since it launched in 2007.  Chase has been constantly dropping iPhone pics onto his twitter updates.  And, you know what?  The pics have been solid, with really cool effects.

If you watched the above video, you saw that Chase was using multiple apps to process the photos.  Somewhere along the way, he grew tired of that or had his “aha” moment and started working on The Best Camera.

See, Chase’s philosophy with the iPhone has been “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”  And that is what has led to the culmination of the trifecta iPhone app, book and website.  The Best Camera really is about the one you have with you.

So, that’s all well and good as a feel good story, but does it work?

For $2.99, it works quite well. I downloaded and set up the app while writing this post. The above image was my first processed through it.  The thing that I was immediately pleased to see what that you can shoot from the app and it stores your images in the Camera Roll just like the standard iPhone camera.  I’ve tried other apps where you have to take photos from the Camera Roll and open them in your editing app to make the changes.  Or, worse, you take photos from your app and they are stored in a different location than the Camera Roll, which can be frustrating and confusing.

It’s also pretty darn fast, which is another complaint that I’ve had with other iPhone photo apps.  Either the camera would take too long to open or the app itself moved at a snail’s pace.  The Best Camera seems to run pretty darn smooth on my aging iPhone 3G.

There really are a ton of options for photo effects and I have a feeling that I’ll be using my iPhone camera more because of the integrated sharing with Facebook and Twitter.  You can select the ways you want to share your photos by just checking and unchecking boxes in the “share” menu.  You can then upload to Twitter, Facebook and  Additionally, you can choose to email photos to your designated recipients.  This all happens with one click (or maybe it’s a “tap” on the iPhone).

The processing effects include:

  1. Jewel – a very edgy, overexposed look from the center moving out with a darker vignette – colors look a bit more saturated as well
  2. Paris – is very similar to Jewel, but in black and white and very contrasty
  3. Slate – desaturates, leaving a bit of color with the center of the image catching the exposure and, again, the edges get a vignette effect
  4. Candy – boosts saturation and contrast, keeps the vignette theme going for good measure
  5. Light – boosts overall exposure with a mild vignette
  6. Dark – lowers overall exposure with a mild vignette
  7. Fade – lowers contrast and gives a faded photo look
  8. Contrast – boosts contrast with a mild vignette
  9. Warm – adds a warm white balance
  10. Cool – adds a cool white balance
  11. Desaturate – completely desaturates to black and white with a mild vignette
  12. Vignette – in case you don’t get enough vignette from the other filters, you can add a stronger vignette
  13. Square – crops your image to a square format
  14. Frame – adds a border to your photo, as seen in the above image

All these filters are stackable.  You can add one, three or even all 14 filters to each image.  Again, the effects go on smooth and fast.  Obviously, you’re going to get some grain when you start manipulating these photos from the iPhone’s tiny image sensor, but they’re grainy already.

Additionally, you can set your image size for sharing, so that you send a maximum size of 480px, 640px, 800px, 1600px or use the original size.  This can make uploading and emailing the images a little less burdensome on AT&T’s struggling 3G network, and means that you’ll be more likely to send your photos to Facebook, Twitter, etc.  The default is 800px, which is where I left it set because that’s the size I generally export from Lightroom when sharing photos in social media anyway.

My first impressions of The Best Camera are positive.  The fact that I paid $2.99 for the app and am happy with it really means I had faith in it.  I hate buying apps.  To date, I’ve bought two: SmugWallet and The Best Camera.  I doubt that I’ll need another photo processing app anytime soon.  The only thing that I’d ask for more of is in the sharing options.  I would really like to have seen the ability to check a box for uploading to Flickr.  Other than that, I’m pretty darn happy with this app.

Good work Chase.



  1. says is cool. As soon as I saw and heard your famous “the best camera…” sentence, I started to use my phone as a camera aswell. Since then, I capture moments, earlier I just passed by. The “sad story” is, I don’t use an iPhone. Is there any way to be part of the community using an android phone? thanks.