Photo App Review: 6×7
Bottom Line: A simple but good app. I like it. It’s a classic aspect ratio that’s new to iPhoneography. 4 1/2 stars when a memory bug is fixed.
There are many iPhone photo apps that emulate various medium format cameras. Many modern medium format cameras are similar to 35 mm cameras, except larger, bulkier, and heavier. They use the larger 120 or 220 roll films. The most popular use of medium format is square format photography. Almost every photographer has heard of a Hasselblad. You can read more about medium format photography here and here.
Analog medium format cameras shoot in a number of aspect ratios beside square format, including a 6 cm x 7 cm frame — more popularly known as 6×7.
6×7 is a new photo app from the developer of the square format app 6×6. It’s a basic camera app that shoots in — you guessed it — a 6 x 7 aspect ratio.
“For high-quality images, medium-format cameras were the professionalsâ€™ choice for years. And many preferred the framing of the 6x7cm format above all. Now 6×7 takes you back to that time, with beautiful, high-resolution images that arenâ€™t quite square â€“ but arenâ€™t too stretched out, either.” — from the App Store description
6×7 is a straightforward shooter with a great user interface. As a camera, it’s simple and fast. It has a large viewfinder that crops to 6 x 7. Viewfinder guide lines can be easily toggled between both pro grid and rule-of-thirds reticles. Other than that, it’s pretty frills-free. No photo effects. No retro borders. Check out the example above for a medium format frame I added using photo app PicTools. It’s a detail that adds a bit of authenticity to the image.
The user interface is clean, easy to use and full of analog-style goodies. It shoots in both color and black-and-white with an on-screen toggle between to choose between the two. In the app’s settings you can toggle between regular and dynamic shooting modes. To my eye, the dynamic settings added just a little bit of punch, saturation and contrast of the images — it’s just barely noticeable but is more pleasing than standard mode. Both modes work well. I prefer the Dynamic color mode over standard because of the enhancement, but prefer the Standard black & white mode — it’s already a great b&w conversion that needs little help. Sadly, the great-looking onscreen vignette is not added to the final image. Making this optional in a future update would be great — it’s a nice vignette.
The camera sounds can easily be turned off and on in the preferences. I left them on. They’re subtle and I like the audible feedback. Here’s another cool feature of the app. In the settings, the volume button can be configured to be used as a physical as a hardware shutter release — a very handy feature that makes the iPhone feel more camera-like.
The app saves images with most of the EXIF data. The app supports full resolution on iPhone 4S up to the 6 x 7 aspect ratio.
Shot-to-shot time is pretty fast, faster than many camera apps currently available. Although it has a fast shot-to-shot time, taking too many shots in succession often overloaded the camera on my 4S, causing the apt crash without saving any of the images in the cache. This is a pretty big bug, especially if you take a lot of safety shots or just like to take a lot of fast shots. It’s the only major problem I found with the app.
UPDATE 11.28.11 @15:00: It looks like a fix for this bug is already in the works. From the developer:”, “We’re on it. It seems to be 4S-specific. 1.02 will fix it (1.01 is currently In Review). It’s quite a niche bug, though!”
Why even go with a 6 x 7 format in the first place? Because it’s a classic analog format. At one time, it was a popular format for photographers on portrait assignment for magazines. It’s a format that hasn’t been exploited by other photo apps yet. As far as I know, this is the first photo app to shoot with a 6 x 7 aspect ratio. It’s not a popular frame size so most cropping apps don’t have a built-in 6 x 7 preset. Composing an image in the viewfinder is always easier than trying to crop it down later.
6×7 is a good project camera. It probably isn’t ideal as an everyday shooter, but it’s a great nod to this classic medium format aspect ratio. Overall, this version is a solid app if you don’t work it too hard. Hopefully, the bugs will be worked out soon in a future update. Right now, though, it’s still worth a buck.
6×7 is $0.99. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.1 or later.