Photography is one place where older is definitely better — for now at least. We take amazingly high quality photos with our digital cameras and then add filters, grain, vignetting and all manner of other imperfections to make those pictures look like they were shot on film cameras. And not even good film cameras: pretty much all of the effects we use mimic defects in the photo processes of old.
Now, with Osmo Leaker, we have an app whose sole purpose is to add simulated light leaks to our photos. Tap the film-cartridge icon and random orangey strips will be added to your photograph, just as if you had accidentally opened the back of the camera before you rewound the film. Don’t like the result? Tap again. Decided you actually did like the previous leak better? No problem, you can go back (in the Pro version).
When you’re done, you can export to the usual places — Facebook and Twitter — and also save to the camera roll or open the image in Instagram. And that’s it: Osmo Leaker is a one trick pony, but it performs that trick very well. There are two versions available, a free version and a $1 pro version. The Pro app has more effects, full-res export and no ads, as well as the back button for fickle mind-changers.
All this has me wondering how ridiculous this retro-fication might be if applied to other technology. Low-res movies with barrel distortion to replicate the crappy picture of an NTSC CRT TV? Crackles and pops applied to lossless music to simulate vinyl? Wait, that last one actually exists!
Problem: Your iPhone takes amazing pictures, but when the sun is shining, you can’t see the damn screen. Solution: a giant eyepiece that sucks onto the iPhone’s screen and offers you a viewfinder shielded from the light of the sun. It’s called the Daylight Viewfinder, and it is coming to you via Kickstarter.
It sure is ugly, but the SlateSHIELD makes up for it by being so useful
It looks like somebody finally answered my prayers for an iPad 3 case which would let me take photos without dropping the thing or looking like a complete dork. Instead, I can look like I’m some kind of clipboard-wielding corporate drone taking a photo with an iPad.
The case is called the SlateSHIELD (I think you’re supposed to shout the last part whilst punching the air with your free hand) and it has a rotating handle on the back, as well as a flip-out kickstand. And crucially, it isn;t huge and fat.
Speaking of Lightroom and iOS, what if you could take the beautifully shot RAW files from your SLR, bring them into Adobe’s super-powerful processing app and… apply Instagram filters? Now you can, thanks to a $5 set of presets from Casey Mac Photo.
The Parrot DIA (pronounced like the Spanish for “day”) is a weird little gadget that also manages to be very cool indeed. Its main purpose is as a digital photo frame, but even there it fails to be dull — the screen is actually transparent, so it displays your photos like old-school film slides.
Only in the world of technology could a company get away with calling these earbuds “wireless.” The product is called the BackBeat Go, and the company is Plantronics, and to anybody with more than zero eyes, it’s clear that they are connected by a wire.
Not so, according to the product blurb: “No wires, no hassle, no compromise,” it says. To which we might add “no brains.” Even better, just a few lines later you can read this sentence: “Inline controls let you pause music to take a call, change volume, or skip tracks.”
Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom 4 can now be bought from the Mac App Store. The RAW photo editing app joins Adobe’s own Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements, and is Adobe’s first full-featured flagship application to make it into the store.
This DIY grid spot looks as professional as a store bought one. Photo Jeff Vier (CC BY-SA 2.0)
On of the funnest* things you can do with off-camera flash is to modify the light. This might mean squirting it through a “snoot” (some kind of tube or cone which focuses the light into a tight beam), reflecting it from a colored, uh, reflector, or firing it through a giant soft-box.
Or you can use a grid spot, an excellent tool for pointing your light at one single spot, far away, with a sharp fall-off into shadows at the edges. Sound expensive? It can be, unless you steal some drinking straws from your local fast food emporium and follow along with this how-to.
These fun filters are a great reason to charge some AAs and dig out that old abandoned flash
You have a camera, and maybe you have an old flashgun lying around the place. Problem: while you know what to do with the camera, even in all-manual mode, you are terrified of that flash. Used on top the camera it washes everything out and makes it look like a drunken birthday party photo taken in a bar. Used off the camera… well, in that direction there be dragons.
You really should learn to use off-camera flash. But seeing as you never will, Photojojo’s neat set of flash-filters will at least give that old strobe something to do.
Mattebox is the closest you'll get to using a high-end film camera on your iPhone
I’ll come out and say it at the top of this review: Mattebox is hands-down the best camera app I have used on iOS. That it was launched in December of last year and I only found out about it today is something of an embarrassment.
If you love the richness of features and tweakability of something like Camera+, then Mattebox may not be for you. But if you ever picked up a Leica and loved how the camera seemed to disappear, allowing you to just get on and shoot, you’re gonna be out by $5 in the next few minutes.