ClassicPan — Vintage Panoramic Camera
Version 1.0.1

Rating 3 stars

The Bottom Line: Good potential for novel photos, but version 1.0 needs some fixes.


I like shooting landscape images and I like shooting with a wide aspect ratio. To me, a good panorama is a single frame right out of life’s big movie. Camera HD, a straightforward yet versatile aspect ratio app, landed on my main camera page the day it was released and has stayed there ever since.

ClassicPAN is a vintage-style panoramic camera app from misskiwi. While the iPhone’s camera normally shoots photos with a 4:3 aspect ratio, ClassicPan stores images to your camera roll in 9:4 panorama format. Like Camera HD, this is achieved by cropping the top and bottom of the frame, resulting in a “fixed lens” type of pano without any of the wide-angle distortion.

ClassicPan color "film" styles

ClassicPan color "film" styles (click to enlarge)

I say vintage-style because this is not a camera recreation. There is no famous classic camera that shoots 9:4. The old Kodak APS cameras come close, shooting 3:1 in panorama mode. The aspect ratio of ClassicPan actually falls between 70mm and Panavision motion picture standard aspect ratios.

ClassicPAN has a number of filters and effects to add to the analog experience. For the initial release, you can choose between six simulated “film” types, some of which are implemented better than others. You can also apply a vignette to your images. There is a setting allowing you to save both processed and full-size, 4:3 originals to your camera roll — a very nice feature if you decide later to process images using another app.

While not as extreme as some of the other classic camera apps, the color film styles here are generally well-done and produce good results. The Negative Film setting adds a good amount of warmth to the image, duplicating a print that was produced from a film negative. The Desaturated Color setting gives a good washed out, like an photo that has been sitting in a box in the attic for a few years. The vignette effect is very nice and very natural-looking.

ClassicPan's monochrome modes

ClassicPan's monochrome modes, Normal B&W on the right and "High Speed" Monochrome, left, showing the added noise. (Click to enlarge)

The Normal Black & White conversion has good contrast and good grays — it produces a good black & white image. However, I didn’t care for the High-speed Black & White film simulation. Here, the bar has been set very high with apps like MonoPhix and Spica — both of which do an excellent job of converting to monochrome, cranking the contrast and even enhancing the noise in the image to look like film grain. Despite claiming to recreate a high-speed monochrome film, it looks like ClassicPan’s monochrome simulation simply converts to grayscale and adds an overall dark gray monochromatic noise. This didn’t work for me. The effect looks less like film grain and more like dark flecks in the image. The result is harsh and unnatural. It think it would look more like film grain if it the noise were little lighter and more random in intensity. I commend the developer for adding noise to simulate the look of a fast film. I hope we see more of this and that this feature is improved in upcoming updates.

ClassicPAN has one of the “real camera” user interfaces, made popular by Hipstamatic. The viewfinder even has a vignette around the edges, mimicking an old mirror and prism SLR viewing system. I don’t mind this type of interface, especially in a classic-style app. When done well, I think it helps add to the recreation of the analog experience. without compromising functionality of the app. The viewfinder also has an aspect ratio of 9:4 and its accuracy is close, but the actual images are a little larger than what you see in the finder.

In addition to simultaneously writing to your iPhone’s Camera Roll, ClassicPan also allows you to view its 20 most recent images so you never have to leave the app to view recent images. The preview’s loupe is supposed to magnify the image, but it didn’t really zoom that much. Support for pan & more zoom within the app would be a welcome feature for an update.

Currently, the app only saves images at 900×400 pixels, which, for me, is sub-par for iPhoneography. The developer is very responsive and says that this will be fixed soon and high resolutions will be supported in an upcoming update. ClassicPAN only processes images shot within the app — you can’t process images in your Camera Roll.

When I photograph, some scenes just scream “wide” to me. I like an app that allows me to compose to the frame. ClassicPAN has potential to be a novel and fun camera app to produce unique images. Improvements are on the way and after shooting with the app for an afternoon, I can see that they are needed. If you like shooting wide, landscape images, several of the film effects and the great vignette make this app worthy of consideration just to play around with for now and to get into the upgrade path, but keep in mind that the app currently has its flaws. I’m looking forward to future updates.

ClassicPAN is $0.99 USD.

ClassicPAN - Vintage Panoramic Camera - misskiwi