Debuting Today: Best Camera

Ed. Note: Today's post has nothing to do with flash. But if you are a photographer who uses an iPhone, I'm pretty sure you're gonna like it.

Hit the jump for more on Chase Jarvis' new app: "The Best Camera" ...

As if continually bouncing from one advertising campaign to the next weren't enough, Seattle photographer Chase Jarvis and his folks also have been hard at work creating the sweetest iPhone app yet for photographers.

I have been watching that sneaky little bast guy cranking out all of those cool, artsy photos with his phone and wondering why the hell my phone wouldn't make photos like that. Turns out, he was playing with a juiced ball. (Well, plus he is a better photographer than I am.)

I got to play with it in Seattle this last weekend and it rocks. Long story short, it gives you creative control over your iPhone photos like never before, with lots of stackable filters that you can apply to your images right in the phone.

As if that is not enough, there is also instant, one-button sharing of your images with all of the popular social media platforms -- and a dedicated, real-time site which showcases a stream of all of the tweaked images as they swim up into the web.

Not a bad deal for three clams.

He's even created an art photography book just to show what is possible with an iPhone, the right software and way too many copies of the creativity gene.

My first reaction: Why didn't I think of that?

Congrats to Chase. Best Camera is a fantastic idea, beautifully executed. Full info at Chase's blog.


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Blogger Evan said...

Already got my copy. My general rule is to never pay for iPhone apps, but for this I'll make an exception.

I think this "best camera" concept has the same fundamental importance as the strobist... Stop worrying, take pictures.

September 22, 2009 11:39 AM  
Blogger jrrome said...

Shut Up Awesome! I love Chase's energy and enthusiasm. He just has a killer, creative flow going. It's a great thing for all of us.

September 22, 2009 12:15 PM  
Blogger Will and Debbie said...

an incredible time to be a photographer and share your vision with the world

September 22, 2009 12:17 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

just got my copy. and uploaded a pic. very sweet app.

September 22, 2009 12:48 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

This looks really great. It would also be sweet to develop an app plus small transmitter that gets plugged into the iPhone that can trigger a flash w/ reciever. But, I suppose if you are going to go through all that trouble to take a photo you may as well just bring a proper camera.

September 22, 2009 12:56 PM  
Blogger David said...

Check out Joe Mcnally's experience with the iPhone:

September 22, 2009 1:09 PM  
Blogger John Tucker said...

Very cool. I'm going to have fun with this. Thanks for posting!

September 22, 2009 1:11 PM  
Blogger Shannon Cayze said...

Looks awesome! Now I just need an iPhone to go with it.

BTW, did you happen to stay at the Hyatt on Olive Way? My wife and I were there this past weekend as well and I thought, "That guy looks like David Hobby. No, it couldn't be."

If "that guy" was you, it's a good thing I didn't reveal your identity to her. I wouldn't want her to know who my inspiration was for distributing large amounts of cash all over the country on this stuff, and for lugging it around on all of our trips. :)

On a general note, this is the first time I've posted to your blog. Thank you so much for the education you have delivered daily! It's been incredibly valuable, especially when you consider the price. :)

September 22, 2009 1:21 PM  
Blogger scejka said...

Was excited to use it but it doesn't work at all. Can't upload anything to anywhere, tried everything and then some. Will have to wait for support to get back to me...2 days later. Bummed I paid for this...

September 22, 2009 1:21 PM  
Blogger snikda1 said...

Can't wait to see what McNally comes up with this time.

September 22, 2009 1:29 PM  
Blogger David said...


I was at the W on 4th and Seneca (thanks to Priceline) so I am pretty sure that was not me. Was walking around a lot, tho.


No issues like that for me (using a 3G). Have you restarted your phone? I always do that upon DL'ing an app, as many devs recommend it.


September 22, 2009 1:44 PM  
Blogger scejka said...

@David I deleted it, re-installed it, restarted the phone, reset all my accounts, still can't get it to work. It says "sharing photo" then hangs for 10 mins then gives error saying "Submit Fail, try again later"

Frustrating but it is a first launch, and I seem to be the only one with a problem. On iphone 3G. This is the 1st app that's ever not worked for me. Bummer.

Sorry, back to strobing the world and not dissing broken (for me) apps...Carry on!

September 22, 2009 2:01 PM  
Blogger Kory said...

awesome, thanks for the heads up! I love new camera apps as they tend to inspire me and a little Chase inspiration is always appreciated!

September 22, 2009 2:07 PM  
Blogger CatLady said...

I'm about to get an IPhone but I hate to exchange my 5 megapixel celluar for a 3 megapixel one... Any comments? Is there any extraordinary lens included in the IPhone that makes it worth the exchange?

September 22, 2009 2:57 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

The reason Chase does well, in a business sense is not his photography.

Is he a good photographer? Yes.

Is he a fantastic marketer? Very much so. He sells the Chase Jarvis "brand" quite well, and uses all these newfangled internet tools (that i hate, admittedly) much better than I ever will.

September 22, 2009 3:59 PM  
OpenID paulman said...

Just got it - first iPhone app I've ever paid for!

So far it seems to work decently. I'm quite happy :) I can finally have some control over lighting and exposure while in-camera. This eliminates my desire to have the iPhone 3GS' autofocus (with corresponding exposure calculation) feature, lol.

Note to those who can't get the uploading feature to work - a temporary workaround is to save to camera roll, and then use whatever app or method you use normally to get it up to those sites. That's what I'm doing with Facebook, even though my Best Cam integration works with Facebook (it won't let me tag photos, though, and puts it in a "Best Cam" album - so I chose to upload via the Facebook app).

September 22, 2009 4:15 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I tried it tonight. I have to say... is this a case of Emperor's New Clothes?

It's not a bad app. Those circles aren't the slickest GUI in the world but the filters aren't offensive. It has that custom site, and it's cool that you can drag the filter order around after the fact, but here's the thing: other than that it does nothing that all those other apps do that Chase and everyone else with an iPhone have been using.

David, you said you wondered why his photos are so good - he's been using ToyCamera, Tiltshift, Camerabag, TIltshift Generator, Photogene, Snapbox, TiffenFX - these all do pretty much exactly the same thing and many of them allow you to post directly to Twitter or Facebook as well.

I've seen the photobloggers erupting with excitement over this, sort of like how Apple fans get when Apple announces a 'new' feature on their phone that other phones have been able to do for a decade (don't worry - I'm one of them so I'm allowed to take the p*ss!), but the only really new thing this app brings to the party is that website. I can get exactly the same looks and more using all the cool apps I already have, but it seems all the kids are ditching them in favour of this one and I just don't get it.

I'm starting to think liking Chase Jarvis has absolutely nothing to do with his photography and everything to do with fashion, and that sucks. :(

September 22, 2009 5:40 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Also I love how this thread has already brought out at least one person who's implying that the only iPhone apps they use are pirated ones...

Or perhaps they meant they're too cheap to part with a few bucks for incredibly creative and well-designed games, utilities and photography apps.

Either way I fail to understand them.

September 22, 2009 5:43 PM  
Blogger IKON16.COM said...

Regardless of functionality (which I'm sure is great) I bought this instantly after watching the promo on chase's blog just for all the free content he has provided the community over the past couple of years. Great idea and great work. Now Im going to go put down my 5dII grab my iphone and go for a walk.

September 22, 2009 6:27 PM  
Blogger Photo said...

Chase Jarvis is one cool dude! One of the things I really like about him is that he makes you excited and energized to go out and shoot.

He does this with his blogs, videos, and endeavors like this app. Hats off to him.

Gonna download this app and get shooting!

The Photo Expert Guy -

September 22, 2009 7:50 PM  
Blogger Lew said...

This is THE BOMB!!!!!! Great App. Thanks for sharing.

September 22, 2009 8:09 PM  
Blogger Gerty said...

David are you getting a comission from all the sales of Best Camera? I'll bet that, like me, almost every iPhone owner who reads your blog went straight to the app store to download it!

No complaints from me - I've previously downloaded a couple of camera apps looking for something a little more advanced than the standard camera. This is definitely the pick of the bunch so far!

September 22, 2009 9:37 PM  
Blogger David said...


Nope. I just try to point people to stuff that I like.

I do get a small affiliate commission from Amazon when people click through on one of the Amazon links on the site. And I do receive proceeds from the sale of my lighting DVDs.

But other than that I do not receive a percentage on anything, nor a fee for endorsing anything -- although I am sure a lot of people assume otherwise.

FWIW, I think it is better that way.

September 22, 2009 10:00 PM  
Blogger supergimp said...

Yea, it's a nice effort. And it's sorta cool that the uploads are built in (but interestingly no photo sites like flickr or smugmug). And, IMHO anyone impressed with this hasn't used photoforge or photogene and the (gasp!) four preset filters don't really even live up to Camerabag which has been around forever.

It's a .99 app that's "touched by Chase." I guess the aura is worth two bucks.

September 22, 2009 10:08 PM  
Blogger Gerty said...

Hi David

I totally agree with your thoughts - sorry if it sounded like I was having a go! I was just thinking that a recommendation from you must do wonders for great products like this, and my numbers brain starting ticking over the potential $$. It just goes to show that free publicity is available if you've got something worth talking about!

I've just used the app to take some photos of an amazing dust storm that's covering Brisbane today (and a large part of the east cost of Australia) with excellent results compared to standard iPhone photos and had no worries uploading to facebook.

September 22, 2009 11:13 PM  
Blogger Eça da Palmeira said...

Hi David, thanks for posting this. It's a lot of fun this app!

September 23, 2009 1:23 PM  
Blogger JeremyGriffin said...

Amazing work on Chase's part. Thanks for posting.

September 23, 2009 3:29 PM  
Blogger Chase Jarvis said...

Chase here. You all are 100% right to be frustrated with the Facebook thing. It is a bug, and was 100% unintended. I was mortified when I discovered it.

Here's how the caption bug can potentially affect a Facebook posting.

First, if you do not write a Facebook caption when uploading your image via the sharing page on Best Camera, your caption says “Uploaded from Chase Jarvis’ Best Camera”. This text was written by the programmer as dummy text in the development of the app and and was not intended to act as any default caption.

Second, if you do enter a caption for Facebook and then share your image to BOTH Facebook and, your Facebook caption is being replaced by the errant default caption. The current work around is to manually update your Facebook caption, or upload your image to and Facebook separately thus retaining the Facebook caption you’ve entered.

Again, this was 100% unintended. I was mortified when I discovered it--we simply missed it in testing, no excuses. Within 24 hours of our launch we built a 1.01 release which will correct both of these problems. It is currently in the approval process at the App Store and we’ll announce as soon as the new version is available.

Our bad, but we're scrambling to make it right. In the meantime, I hope you dig the rest of the ecosystem.

September 23, 2009 7:09 PM  
Blogger PositivePaul said...

The editing portion of the app itself is a little weak (compared to what else is out there). Its strongest feature is the ability to delete and/or re-order the applied filters, I'd say. It's not meant to be a feature-rich editor, really, though, and for the point of what it's targeted at (purpose-wise), it's a good app. It's meant to be simple, quick, and user-friendly at incorporating many tasks within one app. There's nothing stopping you from using other editing tools before you bring the photo into the app, and I'll not hesitate to do this in a pinch. But it's pretty seamless within what it's targeted purpose is, and that's what draws me to it. Just like the iPhone itself, really. The integration of several features in one quick, clean interface is what makes it useful in my view...

September 24, 2009 1:28 PM  
Blogger Dr.Myron Berney, ND LAc said...

Now a days, whenever I hear about a new expensive camera, I remind myself that all digital IT stuff should be considered disposable as it's outdated in a few years at best and many of the pros are going old school to film based TOY cameras. My standard phrase for salesmen is, "I use toy cameras, thank you."

Although I'm thinking that the new G11 will outperform my D200

September 25, 2009 1:43 PM  
Blogger Callum Winton said...

Best promotion of a toy I've seen in a while.

As someone above mentioned, he's very good at selling brand Jarvis.
Someone exhibited his iPhone images in a gallery(?) and now he's made a book to hit home the idea that you don't really need a DSLR or Adobe any more. Anything will do.
Since when was smudgy and medeocre good?

I see this as increasing the slippery slope, but hey, Chase is getting residual fat from it so well done him.


September 26, 2009 3:40 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

I take issue with your comments about quality, Callum. I absolutely cannot stand snobs who think the only good photo is one taken on the most expensive kit. I would love to put together a gallery exhibiting my iPhone photos and those of my friends, or to make and publish a book of the same. I've seen some excellent iPhone photography, regardless of smudginess or whatever. In fact I think those things make iPhone photos even more appealing.

What my problem is, is with Brand Jarvis. This app is NOTHING special, the filters are nothing we haven't seen before (despite whatever he has to say about "Inspired by Chase Jarvis' black and white work" or "inspired by Chase Jarvis' distinctive commercial work" - they're all in CameraBag amongst other apps.

The fact is that the only thing going for it is the ability to change filters and the ability to upload to a bunch of websites in one hit. That is cool. However I don't think the point of the Best Camera site is to post photos from Camerabag. The point of the site is to 'cultivate a community' and to promote more sales of his own stuff.

I'm astonished that so many people who claim to be passionate about photography and use this site and have an iPhone have not explored all the other iPhone camera apps. If your only experience is Best Camera, you're gonna go nuts for Camerabag, Tiltshift Generator, Toy Camera and Quadcamera. I highly recommend people get downloading. NOW.


September 28, 2009 7:36 AM  
Blogger Quang said...

This actually looks pretty cool, I've been using camera bag, so it'll be nice to be able to switch it up.

I'm working with an Iphone ap as well, its alot different, than this one, but I would love to hear what you all think and have to say about it.

Its an ap that makes postcards and sends them out from what ever images are on your phone and it can actually work in combination with other photo apps. Each postcard that is sent is a dollar, but if any of you all want some credits for some free postcards on it please feel free to contact me I would love to hear your feedback


September 29, 2009 8:03 AM  
Blogger Callum Winton said...

Re: Amber
Apologies, my comment reads a bit strong (4am dyslexia)

I'm not saying not to use a phone camera.
You've got it, you may as well use it. Take all the pictures you can and edit and share if that's what floats your boat and you have the time.

I'm sure people will find Chase's app useful and will make images that others want to see.
I use my phone for other things, that's all.

September 29, 2009 3:24 PM  

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