Glaze is definitely my favorite app whenever I want to create anything that looks like art (or at least as close as I get to art). So when the same group came out with a new app I had to download it right away. Photospector is an iPad app that let’s you do a variety of things ranging from tagging photos, searching your photos to create smart albums, editing photos (including gigantic 1,000+ megapixel photos), applying settings to other photos one at a time or in groups (in-app purchase), and the list goes on. This app really has a LOT to offer.
I have a few comments to make, but first watch this video giving you the overview of the app.
Did that look like fun? Well..the good news is the app is free so you can give it a shot. I’ve been trying it out for the past few days and I truly love the smart albums. You can filter by tags you’ve put on photos, the type of camera that took the shot, aspect ratio, ratings, etc. Even before you start apply tags you can just view things such as all your photos this week.
The app doesn’t just have smart albums, it is also lets you edit photos and inspect the photos to the pixel level (which very few apps do). It is supposed to be able to handle photos up to 1,000 megapixel photos, but my Canon has a puny 18 megapixel sensor. I used one of those shots and Photospector had no problem with the image size. It takes a few seconds when you originally start to edit the photo, but after that it is fluid to the touch. You can zoom right in or out with ease. Moving sliders to adjust things like the exposure is truly real-time. No delay at all.
There are a lot of features in this app. One of my favorites has to be the ability to drag from the thumbnail view across the image to get a live before/after look as you swipe your finger across the screen. If you’ve got two images that are close in appearance, you can do the same thing with the different image, so you can easily compare the two shots. Very smooth feel to the process.
The only part of the app that needs a bit of work is the editing portion. I ran in to a few bugs (unfortunately not of the reproducible variety…but I’m still trying). One bug was with the cropping tool. I managed to get the entire crop region off the screen. I just deselected the crop tool and things were back to normal when I tried it again. On a few occasions I managed to get some large splotchy black regions appearing when I made only minor tweaks to exposure or saturation. But resetting everything took care of the problem. This is a non-destructive editing app, so you never have to worry about losing the original image (just like Lightroom).
I also found the sliders and black/gray/white selectors a bit extreme in their behavior. I found it pretty easy to overshoot what I was going for. Maybe my fingers are too big. I think I’d also like to get the highlight, shadow, whites, and blacks sliders put in place. I find I do a good chunk of my Lightroom work with just those sliders. Luckily I don’t have to earn my living as a photographer.
The tough part about a good app is that I suddenly want more. When you get a photo nicely tuned up you can copy those settings in Photospector. You can then paste those settings on another photo. If you buy the $1.99 batch feature you can paste the setting on many photos at the same time. Those are both great, but since I’m a big Lightroom user I wanted the ability to save my settings for future use. Hopefully that will make it in to the app in the future.
The other minor gripe I have is where the way the controls cover part of the image when you are adjust things. Just like in Lightroom, I wish the image would stay in it’s own bounded area and the controls/thumbnails aren’t on top of the image. I know the space is limited on the iPad, but I still wish it behaved more like that. Also not sure if I’m in the minority on that particular gripe. You never know.
I’m really hoping development advances on this app, particularly on the editing side. This app has already become a staple on my iPad. Currently it doesn’t support the Photo Stream, but that is listed as a known issue on the support site. I’m hoping that gets put in place soon. And I’ll be honest, I hope an iPhone version gets released. Even if it doesn’t have the editing features the smart album/tagging features would entirely replace the standard Apple Photos app (as it has on my iPad).
OK…I think I’ve typed too long. This app is a great replacement for the built in photo app, has superb smart albums, and can edit any sized image you throw at it. The group editing feature costs $1.99, but I find it worthwhile for batch pasting of color settings (for when you want a uniform look for a bunch of ‘event’ photos).
Here are a few other videos to give you an idea how to use the app. There were some tips in these that I missed when I first played with the app, so it’s worth spending a few minutes to go through them.
From the author
Hello. This blog started in April 2011 and continues to grow.
If you are interested in photography with your iPhone and iPad be sure to drop by every now and then. I'll try to let you know about any photo apps that I happen to be using that day, or things that I notice about iPhoneography.
To contact me just drop me a line on the contact page.
-- a guy in Charlottesville, VA
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