The mobile photo sharing wars are heating up, and two of the big players, Instagram and Twitter, are in the process of trading blows. Back in November, it came to light that Twitter is currently working to build Instagram-style retro filters into its smartphone apps. Instagram retaliated this week by announcing that its photos will soon no longer be embeddable on Twitter. The latest news now is that Twitter is trying to spoil Instagram’s holidays by pushing out its new filters by year’s end.
You know those handle-equipped glasses called ‘lorgnettes’ that were popular among fashionable women in the 19th century? Instead of being fixed to your face, the spectacles were simply held up to your eyes with one hand, and were used mainly for style rather than vision correction. Kenko’s new Filter Stick is kinda like that, except for camera lenses instead of booshie eyeballs.
Facebook wasn’t content with beating out Twitter in the pursuit of Instagram: the company has now beaten Twitter in launching photo filters in its primary mobile app as well. Just days after The New York Times reported that Twitter will be adding retro filters to its mobile apps in order to compete against Instagram, Facebook has gone ahead and added Instagram-style filters to its official Facebook iOS app.
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