Most of the web was surprised to see Facebook release their brand new standalone camera app called Facebook Camera just over a month after acquiring Instagram.
At the time of this writing, the app is only available for devices supporting iOS, but you can probably expect an Android version to be released at some point in the future as well.
Here’s what you need to know about Facebook Camera.
Why Should You Consider Using Facebook Camera?
So you already have the official Facebook app and a bunch of other camera or photo apps. Why do you need another one?
If you primarily take photos with your phone, upload most of them to Facebook and enjoy browsing through friends’ photos, Facebook Camera may be a great app to start using regularly.
Getting Started and First Impressions
If you already have the official Facebook app installed, Facebook Camera will automatically sync up with your account. At first glance, the homepage displays photo stories in two separate sections: “Friends” and “Me.”
If a single story includes more than one photo shared at once, you can swipe the screen left and right to scroll through each photo. Each photo is displayed very large on the homepage, but you can tap the photo to see it bigger and add a “like” or a leave a comment.
If you drag the homescreen down with your fingers, all the photos from your Camera Roll are displayed in small thumbnails, so you can pick and choose which existing photos you might want to share on Facebook.
Using the Camera and Editing Photos
To take a photo directly through the app, press the camera button in the top left corner. Whether you decide to snap a photo through the app or choose an existing photo from your Camera Roll, the app will give you some editing options before you post them to Facebook.You can crop the photo and you can apply filters to the photo, much like Instagram allows you to do. Once you’re satisfied with it, press the blue button in the lower right hand corner to add a caption, tag people, tag a location, or add more photos. You can actually add more photos by tapping the empty photo icon with the plus (+) sign in it. That brings you to your camera roll and allows you to tap each photo with a green checkmark to upload to Facebook. This is a very useful feature for uploading photos all at once, rather than doing it one by one.
But What about Instagram?
It’s obvious that Facebook is trying hard to own mobile photo sharing with the launch of Facebook Camera and billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram, so what does that mean for us?
According to All Things D, the Instagram team had nothing to do with the development of Facebook Camera, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay separate from one another forever. Still, you don’t have to worry about that just yet. Upon announcing Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg wrote:
"...we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people."
Facebook Camera Guide Review
After taking some time to try out all the features and functions of the app, I can safely say that it’s very easy and intuitive to use. I also really like how large the photos appear on the homescreen, and the ability to switch from viewing photos by “Friends” or “Me” separately is great too.
Despite the great design, I’m not very impressed with the photo filters. Compared to Instagram or Hipstamatic, they’re not as nice. Still, if you want to alter the style of the photo without a separate app, it’s a nice feature to have worked into Facebook Camera.
Considering the fact that I don’t often share photos on Facebook, I don’t think I’ll use Facebook Camera very much unless I suddenly become primarily interested in viewing friends’ photos. I can still do that with the official Facebook app, which I’ll probably continue to use instead.
Overall, Facebook Camera is a nice alternative for the hyper mobile photo sharing user. Download it here from the App Store.