CameraBag Pro verdict
CameraBag Pro is an image and video effects tool which you can use on its own but which really comes into its own if you use it alongside another program that’s good at the heavy lifting, like image organizing, local adjustments and video timeline editing. It is quick and simple to use, and its preset effects are very good indeed.
Quite cheap to buy
Great as an external editor for Lightroom etc
Excellent presets library
Great results with little effort
Edits video too!
No real local adjustments
No cataloguing/organizing tools
What is CameraBag Pro?
CameraBag Pro is a Mac and Windows photo and video editor with a difference. It offers a large catalog of preset effects created with a selection of adjustment tools in a sidebar to the right of the image. When you apply a preset, the tools it uses are shown as ‘tiles’ or buttons in a strip along the bottom of the window. – you click on a tile to adjust that tool’s settings. You can also add adjustments manually, apply adjustments from scratch and save your own presets.
• See also: Best image editing software – what to look for, how to choose
CameraBag Pro does not offer any image browsing or cataloging tools, and while it does offer three different automatic masking tools based on luminance, hue or HSL values, it does not have any local adjustment tools. If you need either of those things, you’re better off using it in conjunction with other software like Lightroom or Capture One.
The publisher Nevercenter concentrates on CameraBag’s photo editing filters, but the fact you can apply these to video too makes this software highly interesting for content creators too.
Who is it for?
CameraBag Pro is ideal for anyone who wants to apply image effects to photos quickly and simply, or everyday image color and tone adjustments, or both. You can use it on its own – it’s a standalone photo editor and it can work with RAW files as well as JPEGs – or in conjunction with other software.
Lightroom users would need to configure it as an external editor (it doesn’t work as a plug-in) while Capture One can work with any number of external editors.
You could use CameraBag Pro purely on its own, but it’s perhaps more likely you’ll want to use it as an effects tool alongside other programs that can take care of local adjustments, layers and image organizing.
With photos, you would probably apply it right at the end of the photo editing process to finish off your images with a ‘look’. With video, you would probably apply it to unedited clips before they are combined in a video editor – it can crop videos and even straighten video shot on a slant – how useful is that!
How useful is it?
The fact that it concentrates on effects and looks rather than in-depth editing might make CameraBag Pro sound like a bit of a one-trick pony, but we all spend so much time on creative image enhancement these days that it’s a whole field in itself. How many photographers and videographers today find all the tools they need in a single program?
One significant exception is ON1 Photo RAW, which can do effects, image layers and organization, but if you use Lightroom you’ll find its preset effects will only take you so far, and with any non-destructive editor, including Capture One, Exposure X and so on, the adjustments you make exist only within that software – sometimes it’s a real advantage to be able to quickly send a part-processed image to another application for the finishing creative touches and a fully processed final image. None of these programs are video editors, however.
CameraBag Pro is handy enough as a standalone enhancement and effects tool, but it really comes in to its own as a creative tool alongside other photo or video editing software.
Are the results good?
CameraBag Pro doesn’t just offer a wide variety of image styles and preset effects, it sets a really high standard. Effects programs like this rely not just on the quality and power of the filters and tools themselves, but also the skill of the software designer in combining them to create visually satisfying and varied results.
CameraBag Pro scores especially highly here. There are other programs with similarly varied preset effects, including ON1 Photo RAW, Exposure X and – especially – the DxO Nik Collection. CameraBag Pro isn’t necessarily better overall for image effects, but it is very quick to use, the effects are of a high standard straight out of the box, and they are easy to adjust, customise and adapt to your tastes. And just to repeat, it handles video in exactly the same way as stills, so videographers and content creators get the same range of creative expression.
A few tools stand out in particular. The Curves tool offers luminance adjustment as well as regular RGB adjustments, and there’s an alternative ‘Gamma’ tool for brightness adjustments that seem to preserve shadow and highlight depth more effectively. In addition, the luminance, hue and HSL masks are much subtler than those of rivals (e.g. the color range masking in Lightroom), offering controllable curves to help roll off any sharp transitions rather than simple ‘cut-off sliders.
I particularly like the additional options available via drop down menus for each tool, and the way you can drag the tiles to change the order in which the effects are applied – rather like changing the order of adjustment layers in Photoshop, say
Is it worth the money?
At $50, CameraBag Pro seems pretty cheap for a program which offers such a wide variety of creative effects and so much control over how they can be combined and modified. It’s in the same ballpark, price-wise, as Pixelmator Pro (Mac only) and Affinity Photo, but does a different job.
The value of those two rivals lies in the sheer scope of the photo-editing and design tools you get for the money; with CameraBag Pro, what you’re getting is creative inspiration and creative control – and it is a video editor as well as a photo editor, in the same window, with the same interface and the same tools.
Given all this, $50 seems like a pretty modest price.
If you’re constantly looking for satisfying, creative and inspiring image ‘looks’, then CameraBag Pro could be just what you’re looking for. Is it better than Analog Efex Pro (DxO Nik Collection), ON1 Photo RAW or Exposure X? All three are available as trial versions so you can decide for yourself.
If you shoot video, then its appeal is even greater – it’s a great video effects tool that sidesteps a lot of the more complex controls in regular video editors.
As far as I’m concerned, CameraBag has four main strengths; the quality of its preset effects, its speed and intuitive layout, and it’s low purchase cost. Its focus is pretty narrow – it’s really a highly controllable image effects tool – but that suits me just fine as it makes it a perfect companion to Lightroom or Capture One or video editors like iMovie.