A Lomographers Dream Come True: Tiffen Photo fx App (review)
I don’t review many apps and there’s a good reason for it: not that many are really worth a good review. I don’t like to pan products unless I feel ripped off by them, so generally, if I review a product or piece of software, the review is going to be more positive than negative. The Tiffen Photo fx app is really good. Hopefully, that assessment is enough to pique your interest enough to read why I think it’s so good.
Tiffen’s Photo fx app is a Lomographer’s dream. I don’t know if that’s what Tiffen had in mind when they created this little gem but it certainly was the outcome, for me, at least.
I am a Lomographer. I own multiple cameras and much to my wife’s chagrin, I often lug two or more at a time with us on walks, trips and events. Yes, I also own a nice Canon EOS T3 digital SLR and an iPhone 4 with camera apps but I like the look and feel of film too.
However, <deep breath> I sometimes forego packing up like a beast of photographic burden and just carry my iPhone. Luckily for me I have Tiffen’s Photo fx app to make up for the unbearable lightness of being sans plastic cameras.
But enough about me and my hangups, you want to know about my review of the Photo fx app. Well, I like it. I like it a lot. In fact, I can just about reproduce every “Lomo” effect with it that I can get with one of my many Lo-Fi cameras. It pains me to say that because I really love my cheap, crappy cameras that most people would toss away like yesterday’s newspaper. Sorry about the newspaper reference there–I guess I’m not only dating myself but am going retro again.
The Photo fx app’s main screen allows you to either take a new photo or dig one out of your Camera’s photo gallery. The “effect” is the same so don’t sweat it if you didn’t take the picture with Photo fx. Once you either take a new photo or select one from your gallery of masterpieces, the fun begins.
There are dozens, if not hundreds (I don’t have the patience to count) of effects that await your creative eye. And these aren’t “canned” effects–each one is adjustable on one to three different parameters. The parameters could be brightness, blurriness, sharpness, skew, color intensity and many more. Each effect has its own range of things (parameters) that you can change for that effect.
One of the many effects is Photographic, which mimics different film types, filter types, exposures and so on. If you’re a photographer with any chops, you know what I mean. There are five pages of these photographic effects that vary from these yellows to blues, greens, reds and some other “one off” colors such as amber.
This single effect almost makes fun of photographic anachronists like myself because of the range of predictable creativity you get with it. You don’t get this kind of predictability with film or even digital cameras. You have to import the photos into another expensive program that will remain nameless here and then you have to manipulate it with masks, layers and so on until you get the right visual effect. Sure, your results might be a little better but I’ll have mine on Twitter or in an article way before you will.
The next two screen shots give you a look at two other effect matrices available to you: Special FX and Tint.
I took this picture of the iconic landmark Las Vegas sign on my recent trip. I’d never seen the sign before and had to do it this time. My wife and I walked from Mandalay Bay to the sign and back. We stayed at Caesar’s Palace and walked to Mandalay Bay first, then on to the sign. Not a short trek.
I used the sign because it has a good range of colors and it’s something that’s familiar to everyone.
The Tiffen Photo fx app is a very good buy at $2.99. It sounds a little pricey for an app but you’ll find no other app or three apps that can do all that it does. And in photographic equipment dollars, this app definitely saves some big bucks with its many effects–some of which would only be available through some darkroom trickery or expensive software manipulation.
I give the Tiffen Photo fx app a solid 9 out of 10. Though it’s totally worth it, the price still leaves me a little flat. I think they’d get more traction at $1.99 but it’s not my call. It’s still a bargain at $2.99, especially if you’re an avid iPhoneographer like me. I say, “Get it.”
Recommendation: Get it.