Degradr review

Degradr is a newish, not particularly well publicized app for iPhone by Pavel Kosenko that I ran across on his website while reading around during the RPP review.

It’s a one trick pony, to be sure, but it does a fairly nice job at its trick.

What does it do? Well, it takes shiny iPhone pics, runs them through some secret sauce, and spits out something with a more film-like color and contrast.

It’s simple, but the results are pretty good.

Here’s how it works: you use the camera part to frame and shoot a picture in native aspect ratio (4:3), 1:1, 3:2 or 16:9. From there, you go into the Degradr Darkroom, where the picture you just took shows up as a negative. Click on the picture and it goes through the secret sauce… it takes a few seconds on my (unsupported, according to the website) iPhone 5, but it works.

After processing, you can crop again, but only to fixed positions, and you can export to various sharing sites (G+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and email, plus anything that participates in the Apple api). There’s also an option there to reprocess, but I’m not sure what it does… I saw no difference in my limited testing.

I took a bunch of screenshots, and I’m feeling a bit lazy so I’m just going to dump most of them in a slideshow… Apologies, but the titles are probably more or less self-explanatory.

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Here are the originals and edit(s) from the two test shots I took around the house earlier.

And there’s a bit of a bonus: you can import from the camera roll and degradr pictures from there with relative ease. Sadly, I don’t have screenshots of the import process… it’s fairly straightforward: hit the ‘+’ button in the Darkroom, the camera roll opens, you select some pictures, and they show up as negatives in the Darkroom window, all ready to be processed.

So Degradr is a bit of limited in what it does, but I quite like the subtle results. It compresses the shadows a bit, brings down the highlights a bit, and alters the color slightly, and what you get is a picture that, to my eyes anyway, looks a bit more like a picture and a bit less like a digital file.

Degradr is free, but that free comes at a bit of a steep price: images are saved at 1000×750. You can unlock native resolution for one year for $.99, or for as long as the app works and continues being updated for $4.99. I’ll probably end up tossing Pavel (and the team, if there is one) a few bucks if I keep playing with the app and enjoying the output. Time will tell.

I’d like to see some options to change position of the crop and maybe have arbitrary values (like 7:6) and unconstrained crop, and I’d like to see some options for film stocks, maybe, or film styles, or some difference between processed and reprocessed. According to the Degradr blog, a version 2.0 is in the works, so maybe some of that will appear in the future.

Have you tried Degradr? What do you think of it?


Apologies for my silence this past week or more. My darling, adorable Hanabibti and I went on a bit of a road trip that I’ll share in a few days, and, while I did take the laptop with my like a good little blogger, and though I did have good internet access everywhere we stopped, I only turned on the computer once, and then just to find an excellent halal burger joint around the corner.

Instead of writing reviews and sharing pics to the blog, I hung out with my wife and enjoyed time with her and the sites we saw together and the experiences we shared.

Rest assured that the Digital Darkroom software reviews are still going strong. I’ll be back with the DxO review someday soon, and trip pictures are in the pipeline too.

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