TtV Camera
Version 2.0
Price: $2.99

Rating 2.5 stars


Bottom Line: Good TtV effects. Poor image size. Saved image orientation bug. No way to directly contact the developer.

TTV photography (TtV) is shooting “through the viewfinder” of an old camera, often a single lens reflex (SLR) or twin lens reflex (TLR), using using another camera to create interesting framing effects. TTV images have the signature black edges from the viewfinder. They often have composition gridlines. Sometimes, they pick up dust and other anomalies from the prism. And color is not accurate, often washing out just a little bit for a slightly surreal cool hue and saturation. It’s a pretty cool effect and a few apps recreate this on the iPhone very well.

TtV Camera from Taplayer is a new photo app that simulates through the viewfinder photography. It replicates an image that was shot through a viewfinder of various square-frame SLR or TLR cameras, including Kodak Duaflex, Argus 75, Hasselblad 500C/M, Canon AE-1 and others. The effects are nice, but the output is low-res. $2.99 is a pricey for an app that’s little more than an Instagram companion.

The UI is skinned to look lke a retro camera. Everything is right there. You have easy access to all the app’s controls. The camera doesn’t support flash, but does support the front-facing camera on equipped devices.

There are 10 filters and three color modes — normal, black & white, and sepia — for a total of 30 combinations. The filters and frame overlays are great. They look like old, dirty, or damaged viewfinders, with realistic looking grids, reticles, dirt and damage. In some of the overlays, there are even color and prismatic aberration. They paid attention to detail. Overall, it has a great, grungy variety of TTV overlays. Effects are previewed realtime in the viewfinder, a feature I like that I’m seeing more of in photo apps.

TtVCamera shoots square frame only. There’s no way to shoot with any other aspect ratio. It doesn’t save your original high-res image, which should at least be an option for a camera app. There’s no way to import images in this release. The app has a photo browser, though, that takes you to your photo roll so you can view your images from within the app. A convenient feature.

Although it’s pretty, TtV Camera has a few big problems. It’s listed as a version 2.0 release, even though it just appeared in the App Store, and five pages of a Google search don’t show that this is a port from a previously released Android app. Regardless, these bugs really should have been fixed in version 1.x.

The app only has low-res output, 640×640 pixels. That’s only a few pixels larger than Instagram. There are no hidden settings for larger output. Photos are not saved with correct orientation. Images are saved rotated 90° off, which is irritating if you’re sharing your images straight from your camera roll. They require a pass through another photo editing app to correct orientation, or they’re sent sideways.

I tried following the links from the App Store to the developer’s website. The link is immediately redirected to Tablet Corporation (, an “exclusive Tablet PC Enterprise, featuring a premier new brand of Player Tabletsâ„¢” where you can buy an epub on how to create an iPhone or iPad app. There’s nothing there about the app and no way to contact the developer directly. It was very irritating for me to unsuccessfully followed the links so I could ask if higher resolutions and bug fixes in future updates, only to find a dead end at a website trying to sell me unrelated stuff.

UPDATE: Although there’s no contact info in the website, at the very bottom of the App Store description is a contact email address that I swear wasn’t there or I just didn’t see it when I first wrote this review. Because of this, I’ve updated my star rating from 2 to 2 1/2 stars. =M=

Because of its square frame format, this version is a good but pricey add-on for Instagram. The TTV effects it creates are great. Once I started exploring it, I really wanted to like the app. But because of its price and value, low resolution, and bugs, it gets a low rating from me and makes TtV Camera a questionable purchase at this time. They’ve had one whole version to get the app better than this.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

TtV Camera - Taplayer