Tintype App Brings the Magic and History of Tintype Photography to iOS


A few days ago, we told you about an app called Koloid that allowed iOS users to capture some of the look and feel of wet collodion photography using their iPhone. The $1 app let you not only take photos, but ‘develop’ them as well by tilting your phone to run chemicals over them.

The new app Tintype doesn’t go quite that far, but when it comes to authenticity, creator Michael Newton has made sure that his app brought the most accurate looking tintype processing possible to the iOS world.

Over the past 7 months, Newton has worked tirelessly with a world-class Chicago-based tintype photographer to make sure that the Tintype app got as close as possible to the original “look” of real tintype photography.


But the app doesn’t stop there. Yes, using it you can create some stunning looking tintype photos (see samples below) that you can then share with your friends using Facebook and Instagram or export to your camera roll. For Newton, however, the app was as much about getting people excited about Tintype photography as it was about replicating it.

The app has a designated history page where users can learn about the process, and he told us that future versions of the app will hopefully feature a giant directory of every tintype photographer in the US, so that users can reach out to them directly and book a session. The app’s goal is to inspire its users to explore this age-old method.

Here are a few sample photos taken using the Tintype app:





The app went live yesterday and has so far gotten only five-star reviews, so things are looking good for Tintype. You can see more sample shots over on Newton’s Tintype Flickr set or, if you want to pick up a free copy of your own, head over to the iTunes app store by clicking here.

  • DamianM

    Just like eating tofu chicken
    It may look like chicken, but it isn’t chicken.
    It may sorta kinda look like a Tintype, but it doesn’t feel like a tintype.

  • Ghostdrink

    re UI, ouch! a cat couldn’t find her kittens in this hokey mess of skeumorphics.

  • Slightlynorth

    This app is now the gold standard for bad UI.

  • Duke Shin

    >Tintype App Brings the Magic and History of Tintype Photography to iOS


  • DJ

    Oh man, Bleeding Cowboy. Font of a true Western-Esque app

  • Jared

    Vintage filters are to photography what Papyrus is to design. These look great and I’m sure the app is a blast, but in the end it’s just a front.

  • MikeNewton

    Hi everyone, I’m the creator of the Tintype app. Thank you all for your feedback. Admittedly I’m not a professional UI designer or big developement company, I’m a San Diego-based photographer. Slightlynorth and Ghostdrink I’m more than open to any feedback you have on how I can improve this. You can email me directly at [email protected].

    Most of the people I know have never heard of a tintype as they are not photographers. I thought a simple app would be a very easy way to generate interest in the tintype process for people raised in the digital age.

    I’m the first to admin that you can never duplicate an actual tintype on digital (it even says so in the app description), which is why I scheduled an actual sitting with a tintype photographer after becoming interested in the tintype process. The plan is not to replace tintypes, its to get more people having them done in the real world. My plan is to get people interested in tintypes through this app, then add a nationwide directory of tintype photographers searchable by zip in the app so users can go schedule a sitting with a real pro.

    As a photographer that understands the merits of knowing how to read light, how to use multi-light setups when necessary, etc I could say the same thing about photographers who rely too heavily on Photoshop and Lightroom to create more attention for their photos shot with a top-end DSLR. @disqus_ApiML7Yl56:disqus, do you feel the same way for DSLR photographs using these methods as you do for smart phone photos using filters?

  • Ghostdrink

    hey Mike, good of you step out and invite comment.
    i’m doing this in the comment stream because i invite public comment on my ideas and because i don’t think anything i have to say is more nasty than what has appeared here already.

    sorry to be one of the first to pee on your product; being featured on PetaPixel is a great way to launch a new app and and judging by the photos you’ve provided you may well have a very viable product. some of those shots capture the tintype look very convincingly and i was hoping to take your product out for a spin.

    sadly, your interface makes the app difficult to use (in my case impossible.)
    i would have more concrete thoughts on workflow but with all the fake wood, “guess what this button does” icons and “old-timey” lettering, i couldn’t figure out how to use the product. i’m not the only baby-boomer out there who has trouble making out the details of an iPhone screen even with my reading glasses on. i’d urge you to use as much of the screen real-estate as is reasonably possible to actually showing the image being worked on.
    it should be possible to make things intuitive and legible while maintaining a hint of a “bygone days” feel. subtle design details can speak every bit as loud as lumber by the yard.

    over the last couple of years i have downloaded (and uninstalled) a (large) handful of “nostalgia filters.” your product seems to be part of a new trend toward specialty B&Ws which are a welcome relief in a field of products that insist on making all our photos turn yellow or, failing that, an improbable shade of purple. the app i always go back to is Camera+. it features a unique HDR simulator and a generous suite of filters which can be set to variable intensity, always viewable in real-time and large enough to see clearly.
    finished files are sent to a staging area for sharing and/or saving. i have edited DSLR shots on my phone using Camera+ more times than i can count (and i’ve been using Photoshop for almost a decade!)

    your Tintype app certainly seems capable of the kind of effects that i’d love to be able to use, and i laud your ambitions for using the app as a launchpad for a tintype community, but lets’s make sure that launchpad is solid, intuitive and easy to use. concentrate on established social media integration before striking out in your directions (if that makes me sound like an old fogey, guilty as charged ;-)

    this is going to sound cynical, but as a camera user i like to have a stable of photo-apps large enough that people can’t look at my shots and say “Sage by Aviary, right?” i’d rather hear them say “i don’t know how you did that but i like it!” the more filter suites i have at my disposal, the easier that becomes.
    your app has awesome potential and i’d love to use it. but to do that, (i think) we need to get rid of the (frankly unfashionable) wood paneling. sadly, people DO judge by appearances, and in a competitive environment, any app that is hard to use will be quickly dropped for another.

    you’ve come this far, keep up the great work!

  • DamianM

    I still stand behind my nasty comment because it doesn’t fail to be true,but I do understand the motive of this app and how its an advertising method to bring business to those who actually use this method of photography. Not bad really. It changes the idea of the app to a higher degree then the others. So go for it

  • foggodyssey

    I downloaded your app and guess what, it crashes every time I open it on my iPhone 4S in less then a second. I’ve tried to update it several times but it still does the same thing over and over again.

  • Mike Newton

    Sorry to hear your having trouble with the app. Can you email me at [email protected]? I need to know a few things so I can help out: how much space do you have free on your phone? Are you running any high data apps like Pandora at the same? What version of IOS are you using? Have you deleted the app and tried re-installing it? You can also message me directly from the app under the “send feedback” section. Sorry to hear about your trouble, you’re the first person to report crashing to me and I’d like to help figure it out.


  • Abby Johnson

    Are there any plans on making the app available on android? I’d love to play with it ;_;

  • Mike Newton

    Hi there, clever name. I’m going to assume that you are looking at the incorrect app. “Tintype Vintage Camera” by Pixel Industries (a different company) has 2.5 stars on their app. “Tintype” by Mike Newton (me) has 4 stars.

  • Mike Newton

    I’m not sure if you checked the date of the post but this was written June 11, 2013 vs. today, March 5th, 2014. Again, you are looking at the wrong app.

  • deltafour1212

    You ever do the actual process?
    I have
    It’s a LOT of WORK ,EXPENSE and HASSLE

  • deltafour1212

    You’re right.
    Nothing can replicate Tintype
    I do tintype process and I can tell you, your App comes pretty darn close.
    It was enough to make me do a 2nd look at some of your pictures to see if it was a real tintype or not.