Review of Almost DSLR – We give you the low down on this iPhone camera app.

On October 7, 2010

Almost DSLR is a camera app that is used in place of the iPhone’s built in camera application. Unlike the default camera app, Almost DSLR provides you with many settings and options you can change before taking pictures and videos, but costs $1.99 in the app store. There is also a free version, but the only difference is that it has ads and asks to buy the full version upon opening the app.


This app is loaded with features, many of which are beneficial, but all of which must be applied before taking the picture. These include being able to manually set focus and exposure, choose a resolution, and have control over white balance. You can also take the picture as a mirror image, and the app features gridlines, which can be turned on and off, that can help you align your pictures to they are straight. It also allows you to use the built in flash, front camera, and torch feature if your device supports it. Lastly, you can take videos and control the frames per second and resolution of the videos.


Gridlines are turned on by default, and that’s the first difference from the default camera app that you’ll notice upon opening the app. Personally, I’ve never had a problem keeping my pictures aligned but I still find this to be a helpful measure to avoid crooked photos. Next up there are three buttons along the bottom of the screen: the left most button takes a picture, the middle takes a video, and the last one take you to your photos so you can view the pictures you just took without exiting the app.

Next up we’ll move to the row of buttons along the right side of the screen. The top button simply switches between the front and back cameras on the iPhone 4 or the new iTouch. The button directly below that changes the size ratio of the screen, and the preview of the picture that you see through is smaller than the full screen, but it does not change the size of the actual picture. Third from the top is the picture of the wrench, and tapping this shows a menu on the left edge of the screen that displays the options for the majority of the features of the app.  The menu that shows up on the left gives you options for using the flash and using the torch (which just keeps like LED light on continuously). Because these both rely on the LED light, not all devices will be able to utilize these features. Below that is focus, which can be set to “lock,” which locks the focus at its current position, or “continuous,” which continuously monitors and adjusts the focus when necessary. To set the exposure, tap once on the area on which you would like to focus. The following item in this list is mirror, which can be set to “on”, which flips the image over a vertical axis, “off”, or “auto”, which only does so when using the front camera. Exposure is next, and helpful feature that sets this apart from the default camera app, is that you can control the focus and exposure separately. Taping to focus on the default camera app not only focuses on that point, but also sets the exposure based of that point. With Almost DSLR you double tap to set exposure, which allows you to set the exposure and focus in two different spots, which can allow for some improved and cool pictures. Just like with focus, exposure can be set to “lock” or “continuous.” White balance is next, and that also has “lock” and “continuous,” which act the same way as the other “lock” and “continuous” options. The first locks the white balance setting, while the second continuously monitors and adjusts it. Lastly is just the option to turn on and off grid lines. Back to the right side of the screen now, and we are at the last button, which brings up settings when tapped. These include the option to change the resolution of pictures and videos, which is great because this should be an option that comes with the default app, but it doesn’t.

One big drawback this app lacks is a digital zoom. The default camera app allows you to zoom in, but Almost DSLR has no zoom feature at all, and I’m not sure why this is the case. All the test pictures shown were taken from the same exact location. The first was taken with the built-in camera app with no zoom, and the second with Almost DSLR, and you can see that the second picture is more zoomed in. Even though Almost DSLR has no zoom, for whatever reason its pictures were zoomed in to some degree.

Another thing I noticed, and again I am not sure why, is that the representation of colors in the pictures taken by this app does not seem to be as accurate as those taken by the default camera app. If this is a mistake on my part please let me know, but the pictures on the left, taken by the default app, are closer to what the real colors are, and to me this is a major problem for obvious reasons. In the pictures below, both pictures were taken with the default resolution settings, which accounts for the differences in size, but I played with the options in Almost DSLR in order to try to get the best picture. You can see that the pictures taken by Almost DSLR have a reddish tint, and I cannot figure out why this is.

Here is another example:


Although the lack of zoom is not ideal, it is the inaccurate color representation that turns me off from this app. If there is a mistake on my part and there is some way to fix that, although I have tried numerous times, then I may continue using the app because of all the options it provides you with. Among these are the ability to set focus and exposure separately, the ability to change the picture resolution, and the gridlines. These options are something that should be included, but they are not and therefore you can get all of them in Almost DSLR for only $1.99

*Pictures were taken on an iPhone 4 running version 4.0.1, therefore the built in camera app does not have HDR.