iPhone Classics: Vint B&W Updated
Vint B&W and ClearCam, two of iPhoneography’s oldest apps got updates this week. I covered ClearCam earlier today. I was told that there would be additional development on Vint B&W, but the last update was years ago. Better late than never.
Vint B&W (not to be confused with the different Vintage B&W) got a new update this week. It sports a new interface, tools, icon, and name. It’s now called Vint B&W MII. The update is bound to make a lot of old iPhoneographers happy in a nostalgic sort of way. How does the update stack up? Keep reading to find out. >>>
Vint B&W was truly one of the classic iPhoneography apps. It was one of the earliest photo apps in the App Store. In fact, until this update, you could run it on any iPhone using iOS 2.1 or newer. That’s old!
When nearly every other black & white photo app was simply desaturating a color image, Vint B&W was one of the first to make black & white photography look appealing on the iPhone. The conversion algorithm it used gave richer blacks, deeper shadows, nicer contrast, and I swear I saw a hint of a vignette. My guess is that it was the first photo app to use a color filter to convert to black & white many years before that became fashionable. The original was just a camera that shot then saved your photo in black & white.
Vint B&W MII is not only an update, but adds new features to the highly regarded original app. Vint B&W MII seems to be a complete makeover of the classic app except for the excellent black & white conversion algorithm. On the balance, it’s a good makeover. There’s give and take to this new version of the app.
The new update no longer uses Apple’s built-in camera. It now has its own basic camera. It’s now a very basic, bare bones camera with no flash, no front camera and no zoom. The camera now shows a live preview in the viewfinder. The app’s built-in camera also only saves images at 2592×1944, about 5MP. There are definitely better cameras available.
Vint B&W MII now lets you import images from your Camera Roll. That’s where this app shines. You can import a photo taken with any photo app and give it the great black & white look of this classic photo app. The tonal qualities, the contrast — it’s all the same as the classic version of this app. The app no longer seems to add the subtle vignette, but the black & white conversion is still great. Imported images are saved at full resolution, including the 8MP of an iPhone 5 and 4S. Vint B&W MII still does not save EXIF data.
Unlike Hueless, Simply B&W, or Monochromia, there are no options or settings for the black & white conversion. That makes the app super easy to use, but more limited than other app choices. Fortunately, whatever Vint B&W MII does, it looks great.
It’s good to see Vint B&W MII updated and back in the App Store. It’s a true piece of iPhoneography retro in an art form with very little retro of its own. The update is free to all previous owners of Vint B&W. The new app is $1.99 for everyone else.
I hope Vint B&W does well, simply for nostalgia’s sake, but there’s a lot more excellent competition in the black & white conversion apps. Photo apps like Simply B&W and MonoPhix do a lot more than Vint B&W MII or than any black & white photo app from years ago.
Vint B&W MII is a welcome update to this classic app. The black & white conversion is still among the best available. It’s easy to use and everything about it is just about automatic. Other apps may have passed it by, but it’s a good simple app for creating one beautiful effect.
Vint B&W MII is $1.99. It’s a Universal app that works great on iPhone or iPad. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.