After reviewing hundreds of camera apps it's hard to not get jaded. They are often endless variations on a theme, all doing the work of shooting and editing OK, but not bringing much new to the game.
Camu (free) hits the ground with a fresh approach and some new features. For example, its filters can be applied before and after you take a photo or video. You swipe the screen to get a new filter, and you swipe up or down to increase the effect or decrease it. The filters are never over the top, and really can make your photo or video more interesting.
Speaking of video, you hold the photo button down to shoot video, and release when you are done. Filters work both before (for a preview) and after as it is with stills.
Real-time collage is an interesting idea. You split the screen and take a picture, then your next picture goes on the other side of the split. It's faster than going to another photo editor and creating a collage after the fact. You can use your finger to drag the split marker around so it can be vertical, horizontal or at an angle.
Camu for iPhone
There's an auto mode for selfies. As you hold the camera still, the camera will take the picture. Any movement and it will wait until things settle down. A text mode lets you add captions or titles in a variety of colors and styles, then you can drag the text to any position. A so-called Super Focus mode lets you zoom in to your subject and set focus more precisely.
Finally, the app features a way to send photos privately to others, or via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
A couple of things missing. First, it would be nice to use the excellent filters on photos already in my photo library, but only photos you take with the app can be
edited that way. Edit: An alert reader points out that you can edit a library photo by tapping on the small picture icon and then tap 'photos' on the top. I'd also like a few more finishing tools like crop, and maybe frames. The app is not completely intuitive. You press a button and see what happens.
Camu is a very interesting app. The collage feature is particularly innovative. Camu requires iOS 7 or greater but it is not universal. It's optimized for the iPhone 5.