A very strange thing happened during the three months I tested the revamped Camera app in iOS 7. I started out relying, as usual, on Camera+. It's been a mainstay on my iPhone for several years. But as the weeks went by, I found myself using that popular app less and less until it's now sitting a bit lost on the home page of my iPhone.
While the built-in Camera app isn't that far removed from its iOS 6 counterpart, there are a number of changes that make it better than what it was.
Option buttons that were once on the picture itself now rest on a semi-transparent panel that overlays the image. In Square mode, these bars are black. You're presented with four camera modes that you swipe among: Video, Camera, Square and Pano for panorama. Those who get the iPhone 5s will get a fifth option: Slo-mo. iPad and iPhone 4 users do not have the Panorama option.
In Photo and Square mode, you can apply a live filter to an image before you take it, a feature that Instagram fans are used to. When in landscape mode, most of the options flip to accommodate the new view -- except for the mode toggles. Those remain in portrait orientation, which is a bit odd. The iPad gains HDR mode, but it doesn't have the live filters. If you take a photo with a filter and don't like it, you can remove or change it after the picture is taken.
Those who have an iPhone 5 or newer will be able to zoom in and out while shooting video. You can use burst mode on older models of the iPhone, and it works pretty well, but you don't get the speed nor the auto-selection mode that burst mode on the iPhone 5s has.
As in earlier versions of the Camera app, you can do some limited editing. For the most part, unless you're planning to push your photo to social media right that second, you're better off doing post-processing through Snapseed, Camera+ or iPhoto.
The main thing that keeps me from completely singing the praises of the new Camera app is that, at least for me, it's still very crash-happy. Not in burst mode, as I expected, but when toggling among filters and using Panorama. But, part of me wonders if it's because I'm using an iPhone 4S for this review and not a 5. Regardless, it shouldn't be crashing this much for a phone that's still being offered by Apple.
Still, I find that I'm not relying on third-party camera options as often as I used to. There's some things that they still excel at, but I no longer feel that the built-in Camera is a poor alternative to these apps. Still, if you want decent post-processing, you're better off doing so in another app.