AMITIAE - Saturday 5 May 2012
Polamatic: Made in Polaroid - An iOS App That may not Live up to the Name
By Graham K. Rogers
One of the features of the Polaroid camera, apart from the unique packets of film, was the way the image appeared as the photograph completed its developing process. Some odd but interesting effects were possible if the process was interrupted.
Many of the photography apps that I have in my library use filters. A notable example is Camera+ and an app I recently came across, Pix. To beat these, a new app has to have something special. This new app from Polaroid -- Polamatic: Made in Polaroid -- is nicely put together. It is easy to use in the main, but only saved small iPhone camera images. It has little star quality coming so late to the game.
PolamaticWhen first opened, the user has accesses to a camera screen with the well known Polaroid rainbow stripe vertically displayed top and bottom. To the left at the top is the flash control, set on Automatic. I was not able to change this initially. I had to slide it to the left while the circular arrow for switching between front and back cameras is slid to left or right. It was not easy to make these changes. There was no option to turn the flash off.
At the bottom of the screen are three tools: the camera button in the center, access to the Photo Album to the left, and to the right a slider that took me back to the last image (saved or not).
Once a photograph is brought into the screen, it is displayed with a large border, just like the Polaroid images we used to see from the analog cameras. At the top of the screen is a camera icon to the left, to return to that part of the app. To the right is Save. The controls for changing the images are at the bottom: frame style, filters (12, plus original), text, export, and Polaroid store where (currently) 3 more sets of filters and frames are available for $0.99 each as in-app purchases.
Text enables a user to write in the broad part of the frame at the bottom of the shot. The font is looks like handwriting and is made more interesting by the availability of q dozen colors. The color may be changed before or after the text is typed in. However, any text is not cancelled when a new image is used, so a caption on one photograph will be on the next, so this must be cancelled or changed manually by the user.
Export of an image may be made to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and Instagram. Just off the screen is also an email export icon.
I was really pleased with the images that were produced with these filters, although they are not much more than may already be available, while the frame styles may not suit everyone.
CommentMy biggest disappointment about the app was the file size. While the iPhone 4S is capable of photographs 3264 x 2448 and more than 2.5MB, the camera output, as saved by the Polaroid app, was 467KB. Indeed, an image created from one in the Photo Album was larger at 746KB. The difference there was because the iPhone photograph was saved in black and white. A second image saved using one of the color filters was 572 x 692 (719KB).
I also tried this on the new iPad and the app only displayed in the iPhone (x1 and x2) size. Images saved were 572 x 692 (725KB), so there was no major difference here (apart from the clumsy feel of the iPad for taking photographs).
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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