Frame your memories with PIP Camera

By Pete Davison Comment

PIP Camera is a free camera app for iOS that has been performing well recently. The app is a spinoff from developer Fotoable’s FotoRus app, a 5-in-1 collection of various effects which can be applied to photographs. PIP Camera is available now as a free download from the App Store.

PIP Camera is designed to create various “picture in picture” effects through special “frame” overlays which can be applied to images either taken “live” with the camera or imported from the camera roll. The app has two main modes — PIP Classics allows users to set a focused foreground image inside the on-screen frame and an out-of-focus background image independently of one another, while PIP Frames applies predefined effects with less customizability.

Operation of PIP Camera is very similar to apps like Instagram. In both PIP Classics and PIP Frames mode, the user may take an image or import one from their device’s photo library. A selection of Instagram-style filters may then be applied, and if in PIP Classics mode, a button may be tapped to replace the background image with something different if desired. There is no apparent facility to take a new picture using the device’s camera at this stage, meaning the background may only be replaced with an image already in the user’s photo library.

Once an image has been shared, tapping the “Save and Share” button automatically saves it to the user’s camera roll and them prompts them to share it to a selection of different social services, including Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and, unusually, Chinese social network Weibo.

PIP Camera is a simple to use app that creates some interesting effects, particularly when making use of the PIP Classics frames that involve “looking through” object such as glasses of liquid and bubbles. A “Library” function allows access to a variety of free, downloadable additional effects, but the app’s basic package is not cluttered up with these to save download size and time.

This attitude sums up PIP Camera on the whole, really — it’s a simple app that doesn’t clutter itself up with unnecessary features. It’s designed for pointing, shooting and applying simple effects rather than in-depth photo manipulation, then sharing the results quickly and easily to various social networks. It does what it does well, but its appeal will probably have a limited lifespan for most users — even with the additionally-downloadable frames, there’s only so many times you can take a picture of someone through a glass of water/picture frame/iPhone before it gets a little tiresome. From the developer’s perspective, there does not appear to be any means of monetization, either — the additional frames are all freely-downloadable, and the “FotoRus” app which PIP Camera promotes on its main menu is also a free download with no in-app purchases. It’s difficult to see how Fotoable will make any money from this app in the long run — or indeed if that is even their intention.

PIP Camera is a decent app for those looking for new things to do with their device’s camera, then, but its rather specific focus means that users will probably tire of it quickly. As such, its time at the top end of the App Store charts is likely to be short-lived — indeed, at the time of writing, it has already dropped out of the Top Free Apps chart and is down to No. 74 in the Top Free Photography Apps chart.

You can follow PIP Camera’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.