Retro-photo trend continues with Vintique

Vintique is an iOS-based photo manipulation app from GMY Studio. The app has been available for a short while now, but is currently being featured by Apple as its Free App of the Week in the App Store. It’s currently free, but carries in-app purchases of additional filtering and export options.

Vintique provides a similar experience to the numerous other Instagram-style photo-filtering apps on the App Store, but provides the user with a greater degree of control over what their picture will end up looking like. Beginning by either taking a new photo or using a picture from the device’s photo library, users are then able to apply a variety of effects to their image before exporting to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other compatible apps on the device.

Unlike Instagram and its numerous rivals, which automatically crop a picture to square proportions, the first thing the user gets to do after taking or choosing a photo in Vintique is to crop it themselves. Here, users can center the image, rotate it in increments of 90 degrees, show a guide grid (misspelled as “gride” in the interface) or make fine adjustments to position, zoom level and rotation. Once this is done, it’s then possible to choose between a selection of preset filters in a similar fashion to Instagram — though considerably more are available in Vintique — and optionally turn on and off the various components of the filters, which usually combine color/white balance processing and textures.

Alternatively, it’s also possible to make fully-customizable adjustments to brightness, contrast, saturation, vibrance, temperature, tint, highlights and shadows, exposure and gamma correction. It’s also possible to apply a vignette or overlay texture onto the picture and adjust its intensity, though it seems only one of these may be applied to an image — choosing another overwrites the previous setting. A series of mostly-tacky picture frames may also be optionally applied to the image as the user sees fit.

Once the image is complete, it may then be sent to the Instagram app — which must be installed — or shared via Facebook, Twitter or email. Twitter and email sharing are handled via iOS’ built-in functions; Facebook sharing uses the external Facebook app. It’s also possible to simply save the photo to the device’s camera roll, open it in an external app that supports incoming files or, strangely, preview what the image will look like in the official Instagram, Facebook or Twitter iOS apps.

Vintique’s basic functionality is solid and considerably more powerful than Instagram, which is the app which most comparisons will likely be drawn to. In practice, Vintique is closer in functionality to something like Snapseed, as it offers almost complete control over color and white balance adjustments, but lacks a few features such as retouching and red-eye reduction. The app uses 612×612 resolution by default, which is designed for mobile photo sharing services, but also carries the option of exporting at 1224×1224 or 2448×2448 resolution — though picture frames for 1224×1224 and full filter functionality for 2448×2448 must be unlocked via a single $0.99 in-app purchase. New filters and props to add to photos are planned for future inclusion in the in-app store with subsequent updates.

The decision to lock the full resolution of the iPhone 4S’ camera behind an in-app purchase has drawn the ire of some App Store reviewers, who have been leaving one-star reviews to voice their dissatisfaction. In practice, for those users who are simply sharing photos online rather than hoping to print them, this will be no issue — and for those who do want the higher resolution, the in-app purchase is reasonably priced, particularly while the app itself is free.

Vintique is an excellent mobile photo processing app. It’s somewhat slower to process images than Instagram and the lack of full-resolution photo compatibility in the basic package will prove offputting to some, but the increased level of control over how the final image looks will likely outweigh these issues for most users. It’s a solid addition to iOS’ already-strong lineup of photography apps and a worthy addition to all photo enthusiasts’ iOS devices — particularly while it’s free.

At the time of writing, Vintique is ranked at No. 2 in Top Free Apps, No. 6 in Top Free iPad Apps, No. 2 in Top Free Photography Apps and No. 1 in Top Free iPad Photography Apps. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.