Magic Hour – Camera & Unlimited Filter
Version reviewed: 1.3.4
Price: $1.99, on sale through January 15 for $0.99

Rating 4 stars. It's very good!

Bottom Line: I Like it. Both easy to use and powerful, Magic Hour should be great for a wide range of users.

iPhone photo app Magic Hour – Camera & Unlimited Filter by Kiwiple is on sale now for only $0.99 — that’s a savings of $1.00. This sale is for a limited time only — through January 15 — so grab it now.

We’ve never had a close look at Magic Hour here on LoFi. I thought this would be a good time to have a closer look at this fun, yet powerful photo app.

Magic Hour is an oddly named photo app. It has nothing to do with the two times of the day for awesome light — golden hour or blue hour. It’s a square format photo app with 40 one-click filters and effects. Magic Hour bills itself as an Instagram companion app, but it’s much more than that. It’s a great photo app on its own.

Start by loading a photo from your camera roll or by shooting in the app’s excellent camera interface. The viewfinder is already square format so there’s no pinching, zooming, and cropping to get your image. You frame in the viewfinder, which makes composition very easy.

The camera itself is pretty good. It features several advanced tools lacking in many other camera apps. The 6X digital zoom resamples images up to your device’s full resolution. Viewfinder has rule-of-thirds gridlines that can be easily toggled off and on. The viewfinder has separate targets for focus and exposure. Tap once for focus, tap twice to set your exposure. Magic Hour supports front cameras on devices that have them.

The camera itself is slow, however. It’s a part of the apping process, so shot-to-shot time is really irrelevant here. If you need to take a lot of safety shots, you’re better off using a different camera app for capture and importing your images into Magic Hour or you will lose your shot.

Magic Hour comes with 40 built-in filter presets. To help you keep things manageable, there’s also has a Favorites menu where you can add your most-used filters. The filter presets are one-click easy. Shoot, process, save and share. I really like how Magic Hou’rs filters are named. Their most are named usably and descriptively, not in cryptic guess-what-this-filter-is names like many photo apps.

There’s also a great Tiltshift tool for easily adding focus and depth-of-field effects. This tool behaves more smoothly like the excellent TiltShift Generator than the frustratingly harsh TiltShift tool in Instagram.

Filters range from a variety of black and white effects to color and tonal effects. There’s a good selection of retro film effects and film re-creations. All are one-click easy.

If you want more, users can easily create their own custom filters from scratch, upload and share them in Magic Hour’s in-app filter market for everybody to download for free.

For a toy camera photo app, Magic Hour has an impressive Create Your Own Filters tool. Other photo apps have this tool, but Magic Hour’s is very well implemented. It’s a good balance between powerful features and Photoshop’s interface, but yet still maintains ease-of-use so that most users won’t feel lost in it’s interface.

Using overall and separate RGB curves, contrast/brightness/saturation, textures, vignettes and frames, you can easily create your own color and monochrome filters literally in seconds. Easily add or adjust color, add texture, or add a frame. All affects our slider adjustable. You can easily save to your own presets or share your new filter in the filter market.


Magic Hour’s filter presets are good quality. Users will find most of them to be very usable. Quite a feat given the large number of filter presets the app has.

Although Magic Hour bills itself as a companion front end to Instagram, it plays nice with a whole lot of apps thanks to its adoption of apples send to outlook. Not only can you easily share straight to Instagram with two clicks of a button, you can also open your magic hour photo directly in several other apps that support this API as well.

Overall, with its easy built-in hooks, Magic Hour is a great app to use instead of Instagram’s own filters. New users and Instagram users will like the quality and additional and greater number of filters that Magic Hour has. More advanced users will like the easy to use customization options built into Magic Hour. What’s unique about Magic Hour is the large number of preset effects combined with the ease of creating your own.

All things considered, Magic Hour is worth the $1.99 that it normally costs. On sale for $0.99 it’s a steal. Magic Hour is easy yet powerful. If you need something more than a basic square format filter app, Magic Hour is worth a look.

Magic Hour is normally $1.99 in the App Store. It’s on sale through January 15 for only $0.99. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Magic Hour - Camera & Unlimited Filter - Kiwiple