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Photography

Send photos and videos straight to the cloud with Camra

Running out of storage on your phone? This app instantly uploads new photos and videos so they don't consume any space.

Lights, Camra, action! Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Mega-megapixel sensors, 4K video, Live Photos -- camera features like these seem great until you get the bill: big files that quickly eat up all your phone's storage. Even standard-resolution photos and 1080p video can put a serious dent in your available space.

Sure, you can manually offload images to your computer or a cloud service, but that's a hassle -- and something you rarely remember to do until it's too late (e.g., your phone is producing "storage low" messages).

Enter Camra [Android|iOS], an app that doesn't save photos and videos to your phone, but rather sends them directly to the cloud.

In other words, images shot with Camra don't take up residence on your device, meaning you don't have to worry about running out of space. Well, space on your device, anyway: Camra gives you 5GB of cloud storage for free, or 99 cents monthly for 100GB (a pretty competitive rate). There's also a $9.99 prepay option that nets you a full year.

The app doesn't afford much in the way of shooting controls. On my iPhone 6, for example, it allowed me to toggle between photo and video modes, turn the flash on and off and hop between the front and rear cameras.

There's also a "live-streaming to Facebook" option, which instantly delivers a video to your Facebook feed -- though it's not really a live stream, but rather the video you just recorded. Even so, if you want to share videos via Facebook in a hurry, this is about as fast as it gets.

You also have the option of sending photos and video to your Dropbox and/or Instagram accounts or saving them to your device. And, of course, you can share items in the usual ways and create groups (family, friends, etc.) to receive your media.

One glitch I encountered: After creating a Camra account (which uses your phone number for verification -- a potential privacy concern for some), the app gave me a simple numeric password I could use to sign into my account online. But the Web portal wouldn't accept my credentials.

That issue aside, Camra solves a very real problem with smartphone photography and videography. I wish it offered more (or any) shooting controls, but if you have a storage-strapped phone, this is definitely worth a look.