Version 1.0
Price $1.99

Rating 3 stars

Bottom Line: Lumiere does a nice job of recreating the look of vintage cameras, but needs more pixels and more of its really cool, unique filters.

Lumiere is a new photo app by nebulus design that takes toy camera and analog photo style pictures. I love the name and I love the icon. It’s got some great features such as a cool live preview and a few great looking filters. The app has a few version 1.0 issues, though, which could be easily fixed in future updates.

The app is a camera. While it doesn’t support flash, it does support the front camera on equipped devices. There’s no way to import images from your camera roll or iPhone photo albums, which is really an essential feature.

Lumiere is easy to use. Swipe the screen horizontally to change the film effects.  Swipe the screen vertically to change the borders and frames. You can also shake the iPhone to randomize films and frames. Effects preview live on screen as you shoot. Photos are saved to the app’s own lightbox where they can then be saved or easily shared by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

The filters render nicely. Film styles include several analog-style FX, such as toy camera, chromatic aberrations, a really rich monochrome, cross process and LOMO styles. One of the filters even simulates random film damage, dust and scratches. All effects preview live. It’s pretty cool to watch vignettes change and the dust and scratches move live onscreen — it’s one of the app’s better features and it would be cool if it were optional for all filters. The effects are rich and have great texture, saturation, color and tonal qualities. Lumiere does a nice job of recreating the look of vintage cameras, including, in some cases, the lack of definition from low-quality lenses. It adds a nice layer of grunge to photos.

The frames are an interesting mix of both clean and stressed analog print borders, vignettes, and even a couple of simple through-the-viewfinder (TtV) overlays

Effects and frames are not labeled, making it difficult to share “recipes”. Effects can’t be changed or stacked once rendered. There isn’t the huge variety of frames and effects like in lo-mob and other photo apps. While some of the borders look like they came right out of Hipstamatic, there’s no option to shoot square frame photos.

Lumiere saves in medium resolution on an iPhone 4 — 1440×960 pixels. That’s just under 1.4 MP which is less than the 2 MP of the original iPhone 2G camera. It’s not super low but not great either. The resolution is great for online sharing to Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. iPhoneographers should be able to make good 5” x 7” prints. Lumiere really needs an option for larger file sizes in a future update. There is no way to save your original, full-sized, unprocessed image. Lumiere saves little EXIF data and no geo-tag info.

Lumiere creates effects that don’t look like the hand-me-down analog cameras we used to shoot with from our childhood. They look like the crappy toy cameras that we shoot with now as adults — cameras that are designed with photographic defects in mind.

It’s a quirky app. It’s got just enough of a mix of Hipstamatic, lo-mob, and Plastic Bullet Camera to be interesting, but it needs improvements like features that are standard in most other camera apps. It also needs more of the really cool, unique filters like its random film damage and lens distortions to really stand on its own. It’s got some good features. I just wish there were more of them.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

Lumiere - nebulus design