Easy setup; Gives you control over who sees your pictures; Well-designed interface
Inconsistent performance; No borders, less filters than Instagram; Practically unusable without location permissions
The Facebook Camera app is easy to use and borrows some of Instagram's features, but the original is still the best.
On the heels of its $1 billion Instagram acquisition, Facebook rolled out Facebook Camera for iOS, an app with functionality almost identical to the former photo- sharing service. Expanding on the rather spare camera features integrated into the main Facebook app, Facebook Camera lets users add filters, edit, batch upload and search through friends' images. But is there any merit to Facebook creating a completely separate camera app, or did the company just come out with a subpar Instagram replica?
Facebook Camera is initially configured to show pictures from all your Facebook friends. However, right at the top of the stream, you can switch to the "Me" view, which lets you view the stream of photos that you either posted or those in which you've been tagged.
A strip of your most recent photos, from your iPhone's Camera Roll, sits across the top of your screen, along with a button that launches the app's integrated camera.
Apart from these highly visible features, we appreciated how Facebook Camera had some pretty novel gesture shortcuts. For instance, pulling down on the top of the app shows you your entire Camera Roll, where you can select multiple pictures to post at a time.
After we snapped our photo, we tapped on the tiny thumbnail preview on the bottom right corner of the app to go into edit mode. Here, we could either crop the picture or apply one of 14 filters found within Facebook Camera, ranging from "Boost" to "Neon." (By comparison, Instagram has 17.) If we wanted to edit another photo within our Camera Roll, we simply swiped on the main viewer to browse to the particular picture we wanted to tweak. The ability to add borders was conspicuously missing, though.
When we were ready to post, Facebook Camera gave us full control over which groups of people could view our photos. We filtered out who could see our pictures using the Lists feature within our Facebook account.
However, we do acknowledge that this is version 1.0, and we're optimistic that Facebook will continue to improve upon future releases of Facebook Camera. There is no reason not to expect these minor issues to be resolved in the next iteration of the app.
Facebook Camera feels somewhat redundant in light of the social network's purchase of Instagram. Why not integrate Facebook Camera into Facebook's official app? By releasing a standalone program, Facebook inevitably draws comparisons to Instagram, and with less filters, no borders and no ability to integrate with other social networks, Facebook Camera falls short. Even though it's free, we see no compelling reason to download this app and have it take another spot on your home screen.