Despite the advent of colour photography, black and white photography continues to be a popular medium with photographers, and this style like so may other styles is available to iPhone photographers through various apps. Whilst black and white photo's can be achieved using photo processing applications, this mini review covers three dedicated mono apps for the iPhone.
MonoTaste with Toy Lens - Price £0.59 ($.99)
Launch MonoTaste and you are presented with a nice and clean app screen, which has a camera icon in the bottom left hand corner (this icon is used to launch the camera for taking photo's from with in the app), next is an icon to open the iPhones Photo Albums so you can select an existing photo to convert. Next to the open album icon is a save icon (this is grayed out until you have a photo to save). Next to the save icon is a ticked box, and it is this icon that controls all the apps features and effects, which are listed below, and finally an "i" icon that gives you information about the app.
- Toy Lens
- Tunnel Hard
- Center Bright
To take a photo using MonoTaste, launch the app, then select the mono effect you want, select the camera icon and take your shot, and either select Retake or Use Photo at the preview screen. If you use the photo, the app processes the effect and displays the resulting photo. If you are happy with the results, then merely select the downward arrow to save to the iPhones camera roll.
If you want to apply a mono effect to an existing photo, then the process is almost the same as taking a photo with the app, except after launching the app select the upward pointing arrow to import your chosen photo and apply the desired effect. This option for me was the best, as you can take your photo's with the iPhone's native app and then apply effects later using this or any other app.
One of the problems with this app like others in this category, is if you choose to take a photo using the app camera's interface, and after taking that photo you do not like the effect, then you have to retake, and as such are unlikely to get a second chance at that same shot. However at least with this app you can (and I would recommend) apply mono effects to shots from the camera roll. Another down side to this app, is you have to select the mono effect, then open or take the photo to apply that effect, but if you decide you want to change the effect you have to start the whole process again.
Vint B&W - Price £0.59 ($.99)
Launch Vint B&W, and like all the apps in the Vint range, you are presented with a very simple and basic interface, that offers you two options. Option one is to select cancel which exits the app, and the second option is press the green camera icon to take your picture. When you have taken your picture you will go to a Preview screen where you have the option to either Retake or Use Photo. If you use the photo, then the developers predefined black and white effect will be applied, which to be honest does a pretty good job.
OldCamera - Price £0.59 ($.99)
Launch OldCamera and like Vint you are presented with a simple interface that has a green camera icon used to take a photo from within the app, and a Cancel button. Confusingly the Cancel button does not exit the app, but mearly exits the camera interface, taking you to a blank minimilistic screen that contains only a camera icon, a file with upward pointing arrow and a "i" icon. The camera icon does exactly what you would expect, and that is take you back to the photo taking screen. The file icon allows you to upload the photo you take direct to either BigCanvas PhotoShare or Flickr (you need accounts with these services to use this feature). The most confussing icon is the "i", mainly because you expect the "i" to stand for information, where as the "i" in this case is where you configure the app. Click on the "i" and you are presented with the apps configuration options.
- Rich Black & White
- HiCon Black & White
- BigCanvas PhotoShare
To take a mono photo using OldCamera you need to first launch the app, and then like MonoTaste select your desired effect from the configuration screen, then select the camera icon to go back to the photo taking screen. From here you touch the green camera icon and take your picture, and either choose Use Photo or Retake at the preview screen. The problems with this app like MonoTaste, is that if you do not like the selected effect, then you have to retake the photo with a new effect, and the problem with this is, you never get a second chance at the same shot, so may have lost the moment.
All three of these apps offer something different, and it will depend on your own requirements which one you will choose, but here is the run down in order of my preferance.
3rd Place - Vint B&W
Vint B&W is a very capable bur basic app, that if all you want to do is take quick and simple black & white photo's and not have to think about any configuration options is ideal.2nd Place - OldCamera
OldCamera just pips Vint B&W in to 3rd Place, because it offers features similar to MonoTaste, however it lacks the option to apply its effects to existing photo's.1st Place - MonoTaste
For me the clear winner in this head-to-head is MonoTaste. Like the other apps you can use MonoTaste to take quick and easy shots direct from the app and save to the Camera Roll, or you can take a photo or open an existing photo and apply a wide range of effects.Some of these apps have so many options that I have not been able to cover in this mini review, but the good news is, that like most of my reviews I have a handful of promo codes to give away, but don't forget if you are new to these promo codes, they are only valid if you have a US iTunes account :( If you would like a promo code, then please request via the comments section of this post, specifying which app or apps you would like to try.