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Here's a short take on a new app for your Windows Phone. Cool Camera is a camera app that gives you an alternative to the native camera app.  Cool Camera is a decent camera app for your Windows Phone with some very nice features.  Not sure if it can overtake the native camera app on your Windows Phone but it's worth a try to decide for yourself.

Features of Cool Camera include:

  • Flash Mode Select
  • Resolution Select
  • Single shot
  • Continuous or timer modes
  • Five step digital zoom
  • Twelve effects filters

The viewfinder is laid out fairly simple with indicators for your flash, resolution, shutter mode, and a settings button along the left edge. Your digital zoom controls rest in the upper right corner and a playback/view button is at the bottom right corner.

Cool Camera viewfinder

Cool Camera does support touch shutter controls (tap the screen to take the shot) and if you tap each indicator, you will be sent to that particular setting. In addition to your camera settings, you will also find settings to turn on/off the camera sounds and turn on/off the automatic save feature. When turned on, the automatic save will save a copy of the image to your Pictures Hub.

You can preview images by tapping the review button. From the review screen you have the option to save the image to your Pictures Hub or apply one of the twelve filters. Filters range from Sepia to Polaroid to a blue filter. Oddly, you can't delete individual images. Your only option is to delete all the images through the settings.

All in all, Cool Camera is a decent alternative to your native camera app but with similar apps, I just didn't see anything compelling to choose Cool Camera over the native app.  The digital zoom I could live without. Personally, I think the digital zoom feature should be outlawed because it stresses image quality way too much.

I do like the settings indicators on the viewfinder. I like knowing what my camera is settings are at a glance without having to dig through the entire settings menu. I also like the ability to tap on a settings indicator and go straight to its settings page. This feature gives Cool Camera an edge in efficiency over the native app.

Again, it's a nice starting point. It's not that Cool Camera is a terrible application but I struggled to find a reason to choose Cool Camera over the native camera app.  The settings indicator was a nice touch but that didn't give the app enough umph to do it for me.  Maybe if you added Skydrive support, a few more editing controls, or a few more settings and I could see Cool Camera giving the native camera app a run for its money. 

As is, give the free trial version a shot before shelling out the $.99 for the full version.  You can find Cool Camera here (opens in new tab) at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

19 Comments
  • I don't like going into Settings to adjust the flash (Native or Cool Camera). Just treat the indicator as a toggle, and that would make it quicker.
  • You can request dev to Chang that. Most. between 1.3 and 1.4 update, it was mostly. My request. His e-mail down right now. 1.5 coming soon.:D
  • Surprisingly i am still getting all the emails though microsoft hosting team tells me they have deleted everything :) you can email me your suggestions, you can contact me on twitter @hermitave or on facebook facebook.com/hermitdave
  • Sure this can be done..  let me try and add it in next version (1.5)
    I had to do a small 1.5 release as i was made aware of a bug or two since i submitted 1.4. I will try and accomodate this suggestion in 1.6
  • I've been using an app called "Camera Effects"
  • The framerate is kinda slow though.
  • Cool camera will have more filters and effects coming. Give 1.4 update a try.
  • I just got the the 1.4 update and more improvements. Softkey shutter, select filter or effects before taking a pic and after taking a shot it applies effect. Video recording. You can view album now and delete individual pics or option to save to phone. More updates coming. I just find the digital zoom takes clearer pics compare to my HTC arrive native app. This dev responds quickly to request. His e-mail is not working for now due to transition. Camera shutter is faster and you don't have to get any other camera apps. Timer, continueous shots etc. Give it a try..
  • Good effort, but MS API limitations again stop the show: pressing the dedicated camera button will still launch the native camera.
  • But good alternate camera app right.? I'm happy with it.;)
  • As if that's a bad thing?
  • you are right, the native app is linked to native camera app. the shutter button can be controlled only within the app - but like the other user said.. is it really a bad thing ?
  • I am also with Jandieg. Unless a camera app has some seriously great offerings, the ease of pressing a physical button anytime for just a second will always outweigh having to find the app.
    Anyone think Microsoft will open up native camera API to devs to allow users the option to assign different camera apps to the physical camera button? Where would we ask for that feature?
  • Ahhh... So its a camera app! ;-)
  • The camera on my HTC HD7 is almost useless because it always gets the white balance wrong - all  photos are blue.  If I turn it on and just watch the screen, I see the white balance flip between 'wrong' (too blue) and 'right', every couple of seconds; but after a few seconds it settles on 'wrong' and I can't change it.
    So - if Cool Camera gave me control over white balance - a way to set it and lock it - it would be of great benefit to me.  I'd pay more that .99 for that functionality.
  • drop me an email with a sample picture or two. I will see what i can do. I can do a post processing (automatic or manual) filter. Easy to do a fixed value filter .
    My email address is hermitd @hotmail .com or info @invokeit .co.uk (remove the blank spaces)
  • corrected my email address
  •   I use "Camera Effects" app with many effects, frames and reflex camera design: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/apps/58d07c4d-8a29-4afd-b820-9413c599813f
  • Cool Camera now supports:
    * Touch to toggle flash, res and mode from camera viewfinder
    * Unified album and viewer for pictures and videos
    * Modify Hue, Saturation and Luminance of pictures 
    * Modify Chroma and Luma components of pictures
    * Upload to Skydrive