Photogene fills void in iPhone feature set

Photogene gives iPhone and iPod Touch users the capability to edit photos directly on their devices.

Photogene lets iPhone users edit photos directly on their phones. (Note, kitty not included.) (Credit: Daren Darrow/CBS Interactive)

The iPhone has many great features, but its camera quality isn't one of them. However, Photogene for the iPhone and iPod Touch is an application that can give photos a little sparkle.

Photogene is an image manipulation tool that lets users crop images, correct color distribution, sharpen, rotate, and mirror images, as well as add special effects. (To view more Photogene features, check out our slide show.)

Apple didn't include image-editing features in its iPhone photo viewer software, so iPhone owners have had to wait for a third party to provide them; Picoli is an alternative. Photogene fills this void by giving people on-the-fly editing capabilities of images before they are copied to a computer. Many iPhone users are always connected to a high-speed data network, such as 3G or Wi-Fi, and upload their images directly from the phone to Web sites or social networks. Now those photos can be enhanced before being viewed by others.

The application is easy to use and includes a basic help document to get you started; oddly, it is named "information" rather than "help." If you have used an image-editing application before, you can probably skip the help information. However, if you've never edited an image, you may have a bit of a learning curve since Photogene's tutorial doesn't expand on what is provided in the application--and an in-depth help section isn't available.

The application responds quickly to commands. I expected the application to bog down when changing color distributions with the histogram or cropping images, but the changes were nearly instant.

Photogene ran fast and worked nearly flawlessly for me during my few days with it. The only bug I ran into with the application was while creating screenshots for this review, so most people will probably never run into the same issue. When you create a screenshot while the application is running, it doesn't refresh the image list so you can edit the screenshot. Instead, you must restart the application for it to appear. However, images edited in the application and saved are immediately available for editing without restarting the program.

Even with its limited feature set, this application is well worth the $2.99 it costs. Photogene is currently at version 1.62. According to the developer's Web site, version 2.0 will include:

  • Separate histogram control for red, green, and blue channels
  • Reflection effect
  • Chinese and Russian language support
  • Image resizing
  • Tilting a photo with two fingers
  • Display grids in crop and straighten modes

About Daren Darrow