It’s no secret that Twitter was interested in acquiring Instagram before Facebook swooped in and snatched it up. Now, instead of running the popular photo-sharing app, Twitter is waging war against it. Twitter cut off Instagram’s API access for the app’s “Find Your Friends” feature a few months ago, but that was just the beginning. The next major bombshell announcement is coming soon: photo filters.
Compact cameras are becoming pretty serious photography tools when it comes to sensor sizes and lens qualities, but one thing they generally lack is an easy-to-use filter system. Interchangeable-lens photographers can usually just find a filter of the correct diameter and use it with their lens, but things get more complicated when you’re dealing with fixed-lens cameras. Although using filters is possible with some models, the systems aren’t very friendly: they’re usually proprietary, expensive, or based on unwieldy adapters.
That all changes with the new MagFilter by CarrySpeed, an easy-to-use filter system for compact cameras based on magnets rather than threads.
Instagram is in the process of pushing out version 3.1.0 of its photo sharing app. For iOS, the new version updates the app to be compatible with iOS 6 and the taller screen of the iPhone 5, doing away with the annoying gap that owners of the new phone have been seeing. While it’s certainly a welcome improvement for Instagram devotees, seeing an app be updated for the new display isn’t exactly a rare sight these days.
What’s interesting is what the new update eliminates: live filters are gone.
Want to mimic the look of Instagram’s filters using Photoshop? We’re happy to announce that we have a set of Photoshop files that allow you to do just that.
Designed exclusively for PetaPixel by Eric Öhman of Skellefteå, Sweden, the pack comes with 20 filters that imitate the look of the popular mobile photo sharing app.
Photographer Casey McCallister reverse engineered Instagram’s filters, turning them into actions and presets for Photoshop, Aperture, and Lightroom that allow you to retro-fy your photos with one click. The download packs include all 17 Instagram filters and are “latte-priced” at $5.
Photoshop, Aperture, and Lightroom Presets [Casey Mac Photo]
Still shoot film? Use filters when you shoot? FilterCalc is a new Android app that’s designed to help non-TTL photographers figure out proper exposure when using filters.
This base ISO exposure calculator comes with preloaded database of almost 500 filters. By selecting the actual ISO value and filter type, the app computes base ISO to be used with the light meter resulting in proper exposure.
FilterCalc can compute ISO compensation in increments of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 and full stop EV. You can select compensation values by stops, by filter factor, by preloaded filter brand/type, or add your own custom data.
The app is free and can be downloaded over on Google Play.
FilterCalc [Google Play]
UV lens filters are a popular way to protect the front element of lenses from damage, but you should make sure you invest in a high-quality one unless you want to make a huge sacrifice in image quality. Reddit user EvilDoesIt shot the photos above comparing a cheap filter with a pricier one:
The top one is a $20 Quantaray UV filter. Bottom is a ~$70 B+W MRC UV filter. This is a more extreme example, but it shows the difference between a nice filter and a crappy cheap one. Both these shots are unedited JPEGs from my Nikon D7k with a Nikkor 17-55 ƒ/2.8 @ 1.3s ISO100.
I do realize that the top pic can be easily fixed by adjusting levels, but in my opinion, it’s always better to get the best picture you can get out of your camera before editing. [#]
His last sentence is a gem: to achieve the best images, you want to make sure you’re squeezing out the best image quality you can from each step along the way.
Image credit: Photographs by EvilDoesIt and used with permission
You know society has gone a little filter-crazy when a concept for Instagram glasses shows up on the scene, but we have to admit that Instaglasses make for an interesting idea. The basic premise is that Instagram
fanatics aficionados would be able to use these to always see the world in filters. When they then glimpsed a scene that looked especially artsy with the Amaro or Inkwell filters applied, they could use a button on the side of the glasses to capture and upload that image to Instagram. Read more…
I am not anti-Instgram, nor am I anti-cellphone photography. But there is a tendency to believe that the art filters that are readily available with many cellphone photo apps somehow “improve” reality. Many of the frequently used filters either significantly boost color saturation, or try to give the appearance of an antiqued, polaroid-esque photo.
But this doesn’t mean it’s better than a more true-to-life image. To prove my point, here are a few iconic photos “re-taken” with art filters a la Instagram. Do you agree?
For those of you who’ve ever wondered what it takes to get your work into National Geographic, here’s a hint: not “creative” software filters. According to a set of guidelines laid out in a message from the magazine’s Director of Photography, certain minor post-processing is ok with the exception of filters. Minimal dodging and burning, black and white, hand tinted images (if you’re experienced), and cropping are ok when done well; fish eye lenses are discouraged; but filters are a definite no no.
How much of a no no? Well, the photo director’s exact words regarding filters boil down to: “No. Please stop.” So even though the current trend in photography, spearheaded by Instagram, is towards filters, don’t expect Nat Geo to jump on the bandwagon anytime soon.
A message from the Director of Photography of National Geographic (via Reddit)