Give me a beautiful SLR camera and I’m sorry, I just wouldn’t know what to do with it. Sadly, poverty has made me a philistine. This aside, my excitement at having a fully functioning , if basic, camera on my iPhone has made this week especially exciting for me. My childlike enthusiasm for taking photos and my recent discovery of photodiary site http://www.blipfoto.com (download the app!) sent me squealing with delight down the aisles of the Appstore looking for filters that would make me smile.
Whilst I had a good few minutes’ fun with photo modifying applications Gothpix and Pic Grunger and enjoyed rummaging around in Nevercenter’s useful and charming Camera Bag, the one camera app I’m reaching for again and again right now is Takayuki Fukatsu’s Toy Camera.
Toy Camera doesn’t rely on any prior knowledge of photography. If you can point and shoot a camera, you can enjoy watching the application magically convert your photos into cool and funky-looking images, processing them through a series of random filters so that you never know quite what to expect.
Of course you do have the option of setting the filters yourself but it’s not nearly as much fun. Sometimes the images turn out black and white, sometimes sepia, at other times color. Some take on a yellowish or a greenish tinge or have the dark-at-the-edges look of shots taken on a vintage camera. It’s true that sometimes the converted shots look terrible, but it’s part of the charm. Unless you’re taking shots where you might miss the moment (don’t even chance it with this app), you can always retake your picture and send it back through the Russian roulette of Toy Camera’s magical interior
A ‘preview’ function for filters, the option to bin unusable photos and the ability to process photos from outside the Toy Camera would be the only changes I would be tempted to make to this ultimately geeky camera tool…but part of its charm is its lucky-dip aspect.
This is definitely the wrong app for anyone ‘deadly serious’ about photography or with a tendency towards being a control freak (this is reflected in the handful of negative reviews online at the Appstore). For those of us however who like to have fun with a camera and perhaps take a more ‘artschool’ approach to point-and-shoot, this is definitely worth picking up.
Toy Camera requires the iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is not compatible with the iPod Touch.