Free Filter Mania offers plenty of options, but needs a resolution upgrade

May 8, 2011
Tech

I’ve tried a multitude of camera effects apps, so I was pleased overall with what new photography app Filter Mania brought to my iPhone 4. Now, Filter Mania does have a few drawbacks (we’ll get to them later), but the good news is that the app, available for iPhone and iPod Touch, is free, which […]

I’ve tried a multitude of camera effects apps, so I was pleased overall with what new photography app Filter Mania brought to my iPhone 4. Now, Filter Mania does have a few drawbacks (we’ll get to them later), but the good news is that the app, available for iPhone and iPod Touch, is free, which means you can fiddle with its filters with no risk.

Filter Mania will automatically open your camera at launch, but you can easily access your photo library through the “browse” button added to the top of the screen. Choose a photo to work with, and then zoom and crop the image how you please. I didn’t like that there’s no option to the “use an entire photo” (and with the square box, you probably will lose some of your image when cropping).

After scaling the image, you’ll see a scrollable list of 12 filtering options. With a tap, your image will automatically take your chosen filter. If one filter isn’t enough, use the “+filter” icon at the top of the screen to add a second option on top of the first and so on (I didn’t come across a limit in my test) until you’re happy. The “undo” button will reverse the last filter applied only, so to start over you’ll need to hit the “original” filter option, or use the “next” button, which will give you the choice of starting over or saving the image to your library.

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In addition to the 12 standard options, the app also offers a variety of other filters for free download, all within the app. These are divided by category, and download quickly, but I’d prefer to be able to see all of the available options at once — maybe in a thumbnail view — rather than looking through each category. Once you download a new filter, it will be added to your tool bar. Holding the filter will allow you to delete it, but there’s no way to reorganize the menu to highlight filters you use most often. With the ability to add multiple filters, there are thousands of combinations to be found in Filter Mania, and I created some interesting images in a matter of seconds.

Filter Mania’s biggest drawback is its lack of support for high-resolution photos. After adding filters and saving a photo through the app, I emailed it to myself. The original, unfiltered photo was 1.6 MB. The Filter Mania image was only 166 KB. On the iPhone screen I didn’t see much of a difference in quality — other than the photo being proportionally smaller because of the cropping — but Filter Mania would not be a wise option if you want to use the photos for anything other than memories.

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