Jan 4, 2010
by Joby Inc.
You know what's holding citizen journalism back? The awful photos. Yes, it's really inspiring that the modern cameraphone turns every bystander into an activist, every cowed citizen into a wanted dissident, but who wants to live in a world of third-rate photography where the rules taught for decades by elite art colleges go unobserved? Not me.
Is that a photo of Saddam Hussein's statue being toppled? Why, with that skewed horizon line, he still looks fit and empowered! You say someone got shot on the streets of Tehran, but by whose hand? If only the shutter had closed a few seconds before, I would know with absolute certainty that 90-year-old man didn't commit suicide with his own assault rifle (immediately removed by friendly municipal cleaning services). And that tank about to run over a peaceful protester? It's a little poorly composed, wouldn't you agree? It's amazing how much drama the Rule of Thirds can bring to your wartime photography. It could mean the difference between a million dollars in aid, and a small column facing the Sports section.
Before the release of the free Gorillacam, iPhone owners in North Korea and the Middle East had few options to refine their craft, as all the good apps with built-in composition grids, level meters, and high-speed burst modes cost money. Their only recourse was to correspond with sympathetic Americans, asking for the use of their credit card numbers in association with a post office box address in Iran. I don't have to tell you which cell in Guantanamo those traitors spent Christmas in.
With self-timer and time-lapse modes, a burst capture option that keeps taking shots (1.6 a second) for as long as the button is held down, a spirit level indicator, and a full-screen shutter button for easy operation while pinned down behind sandbags, it's hard to believe Joby Inc. is giving so much away for free. It seems all they want is for you to buy their companion Gorillamobile flexible tripod case, which lets you stand or wrap your iPhone around a nearby pole for better photos. But if that's not your thing, the app's still free and infinitely useful. There aren't that many stripper poles in Tehran anyway.
Positives: Full featureset, fast and threaded background saving, creates new photo possibilities, free.
Unpositives: Ugly splash screen is an ad for the Gorillamobile, no tap-to-focus support (3GS).
Rating: 4 / 5
Get Gorillacam for free in the iTunes App Store.