Version 1.0
Price: $0.99

Rating 3 stars

Bottom Line: A good modernist app that produces unique pixelized effects, but the app could use a few more features to make it great.

decim8[UPDATED 10.14.10 @21:45]

“FILM IS DEAD” proclaims the description of Decim8, a new photo app for iPhone and iPod Touch 4th gen by Kris Collins for Audi of America, Inc. That’s a pretty bold statement to introduce an app, but Decim8 is very much a product of the digital age. Rather than apply retro or vintage effects to an image, Decim8 is another well-done modernist photo app like Percolator or colorShadow. It pixelizes, distorts, saturates, inverts your images. In short, it decimates them. The effects are unpredictable and surprising. Sometimes they don’t work. Often, the results are stunning.

Decim8 is a camera app. It’s easy to start using. The splash screen takes you to the settings or the camera. A trip to the settings might be a good idea because the app defaults to medium-resolution saves. Crank the slider all the way to the right for full-resolution output.

Operation of the camera is straightforward.There are buttons for flash control and front facing camera (on devices that support these features). There’s a very well implemented Randomize Effects button onscreen. I used this button a lot in my tests.

Point. Shoot. The app destroys your pixels, sometimes beautifully. The app works by “intentionally corrupting the data involved in different phases of image processing”. The effects are a cross between a mosaic, pixelization and opening a corrupt JPG file in Photoshop. Currently, there are seven effects available with more planned — all of them included with the purchase of the app. There are no in-app filter-pack purchases or upgrades, which is always welcome.

Decim8 also saves a full-res copy of your original photo — a feature implemented in case the app crashes during processing but a good one that I hope is kept in all updates.

Multiple filters can be selected and applied in different order. The Randomize Effects button works nicely and only randomizes once per press – it holds the same settings until they’re changed again — a good feature that allows you to shoot several shots if you like the results. There’s no way to save filter combinations as presets. I’d like to see that in a future update.

There’s also no way to import existing images from your photo library — an essential feature for an app like this that I’d really like to see added soon.

The app is doing a lot of image destruction under the hood, and it may crash unexpectedly. It was pretty stable in my tests, but supposedly the original file is saved to your camera roll first before the image is process. A well thought out feature.

About the effects — “often strangely beautiful” is a phrase I want to use, but it feels inappropriate with the data-destructive nature of this app. Unpredictable. Harsh. Grungy. Pixelated. Xtreme. Amazing and unique.

I like the new modernist photo apps that are being released. They’re a great break from the stream of vintage, retro, and analog film apps. Decim8, along with apps like Percolator and colorShadow, are helping to push digital mobile phone photography forward rather than simply revisiting and recreating analog film photography.

Decim8 is compatible with any iPhone or iPod Touch 4th gen running iOS 4.0 or newer. It can save in your device’s full resolution.

Decim8 is an interesting app. It’s not a perfect app and there’s room for improvement — not only with new filters but with the app itself. I don’t recommend it for everyone. It’s not “traditional” photography — it’s more like classic 1990’s corrupt file. But it’s an interesting app that can destroy your pixels in new and amazing ways. It’s easily a four-star app when the ability to import existing images is added.

UPDATE: According to an update from the developer, it looks like the ability to import images from your camera roll will be in the next update of the app. The update will also feature several new effects. If the stability issues are also addressed, this will definitely be a four-star app, although I realize these types of effects aren’t for everyone.

While I had no problems with the app crashing during my tests on an iPhone 4, it looks like the app may be more crash-prone on older iPhones. =M=