Simple, limited, artistic, and fun: these are the words I feel best describe MarbleCam for iPhone by Daisuke Suzuki.
Kansas City, it's all about your perspective. Processed with MarbleCam.
Let's get this out of the way: MarbleCam version 1.1, is an exremely limited photo app for iPhone. It does one thing, but it does it well. Enough.
Want an app with a no-brainer interface that makes your iPhone photos look like you played with a clear marble & a macro lens? This is your app. Want an app that creates an upside down image of your subject while effectively blurring out the background? This is your app.
No, it won't let you create other snazzy effects or add colors, textures, filters and text. You'll need to use another iPhone photo app for that. But using MarbleCam to create this unique, singular effect means you won't have to purchase a Soratama lens for your iPhone either. Plus, MarbleCam is currently free, so there's really no reason to complain.
Now when I tell you this app's user interface is clean and intuitive, I mean it's really clean and intuitive. Let's take a look inside...
There you have it. Doesn't get more clean and intuitive than that. Once you have MarbleCam for iPhone installed and open, simply snap a photo or upload an existing image from your photo album. That's it. Snap or upload and MarbleCam takes care of the rest. No buttons to push, effects to select, textures to add...nothing. In seconds your MarbleCam image is automatically created for you.
Happy with your image? Save it to your photo album by clicking the "save" button on the left, or share it instantly via email, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter via the "share" button on the right. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Sure, there are some non-intrustive ads located at the bottom of this app, but I mentioned it's free, right? And since you're currently limited to one action, the reversible floating marble effect, you won't be using this app all the time so it's not a problem. And did you catch that? I just mentioned reversible. Yes...that's currently the only control MarbleCam offers: you can reverse your final image by 90 degrees, 180 degrees, or back to 360 degrees if you desire.
And that, in a nutshell, is exactly what MarbleCam version 1.1 does. I like it. A lot. I like it more because it's free, and until there are additonal user controls added, I hope Daisuke Suzuki keeps it that way. I wouldn't suggest over-using this app as that might look trite, but have fun, play, experiment and get creative. After all, isn't that what iPhoneography is all about?
Before & Afters
Tips for using MarbleCam version 1.1 for iPhone
Not every photo will render well using MarbleCam. In my use, I've noticed it's best if your subject is somewhat centered and photographed at a distance. The exact opposite of this is also true: you can be extremely close to your subject as well and still create some interesting, artistic shots. What doesn't work as well is using images created at mid-length and/or images bearing a rather indistinguishable subject.
Own an iPhone? Interested in adding MarbleCam to your arsenal? Find it in the App Store, currently available for free! Current version compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation) and iPad (4th generation). Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Want to learn more about MarbleCam? Here's a spot-on review from PhotoCruncher with a list of "Missing Features" that would make great additions to future MarbleCam updates.