Review: Plastic Bullet – New Lomo App for iPhone
Price: $1.99 USD
Bottom Line: Gorgeous, one-of-a-kind Lomo effects, but version 1.0 only has 800×600 output.
Touted as “a photo app with infinite possibilities”, Plastic Bullet from Red Giant Software is a new plastic camera-style app. It’s fairly simple to use — either use the app’s built-in camera or load an image from your iPhone’s camera roll. Four images at a time are then previewed. Save the one you like or refresh the screen for more previews.
The app is a true electronic lomography app — one that encourages you to explore the “happy accidents” in your photography.
The effects are often gorgeous. I found myself hitting save within one or two screens, but continuing on to see what other effects it would generate. Often, I found myself saving more than one iteration of an image.
Plastic Bullet randomly applies a variety of color and saturation effects, blurs, vignettes, as well as a really nice analog-looking border. Plastic Bullet doesn’t recreate the look of any one type of plastic camera, but randomly generates the look of many combinations of cameras, lenses and films.
Plastic Bullet creates some really nice color variations. The saturation can be rich. With the random vignettes and blurs, the results can be washed out and dreamy, similar to a Diana camera, but with more contrast, depth and punch. The monochromes are nice, if not a little blue at times. The best part about the filters, though, is if you don’t see one you like in the preview, hit refresh and in seconds you’re presented with more variations.
The app is simple, stable and gives you the option to also save your original image. The app randomly generates effects — you have no control over filters. The app’s description advertises that you’ll never see the same effect twice, although after hitting refresh several times, it was possible to get variations that were pretty similar to ones I passed on.
Some iPhoneographers may have an issue with the lack of control over effects generation. Others may enjoy being surprised by the random results, which I think is the intended purpose of this app.
My biggest issue with version 1.0 of Plastic Bullet is the low-resolution output, which is currently only 800×600 pixels in order “to support older devices (iPhone 3G).” Kudos to Red Giant for stating this clearly in the app’s description. An update is promised soon which will bring higher resolution on newer devices, presumably the 3GS and next-gen iPhone. However with apps like Hipstamatic, SwankoLab and lo-mob which support all iPhones, use up a lot of CPU clock cycles, and still output at full-resolution on all devices, I wonder why full-resolution isn’t supported in this version and why owners of older iPhones will supposedly be left out for higher res support. I hope this is resolved soon in a future update — there are still a lot of 2G and 3G iPhones in use.
Right now, I’m giving Plastic Bullet three and half stars — knocking off a little bit for the low resolution. Currently, output is perfect for sharing Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, but you won’t get any large size prints from these gorgeous images. Is it worth two dollars? For sharing images on the web and in email, most definitely. If you plan on making gallery prints with the output, maybe not so much — I’d either hold off for now to see how the resolution issue is resolved in future updates or have lowered expectations for the app.
The output is gorgeous and the results truly unique. The images look like they were taken with any number of plastic lo-fi cameras — probably even better looking than the real analog camera in many cases. Its ease of use allows plenty of flexibility to explore the many beautiful variations and stumble upon one or more that you like.
App Store link: Plastic Bullet