TWiP 409 – Snapseed — the Best Mobile Photography App?

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On this episode of TWiP, Derrick Story and J.M. Giordano join Frederick to discuss Google's update to it's mobile photo editing application – Snapseed. Is it the best mobile photo editing app? Plus Lensbaby releases a new manual focus lens and Polarr offers a new online photo editing experience.

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    1. I just tried Enlighten too. Wow on design, wow on tools, wow on everything. Couple this with a RAW engine and we might have a real contender. Great App for phone.

    2. I am a big Snapseed fan, but just saw Enlight is on sale for .99. So, I grabbed it and will try it out. Wish there was an iPad version and true layers. Hopefully down he road.

  1. There was mention of Larry Ellison having coined the expression “the network is the computer.” It was actually derived from SUN Microsystems’ John Gage. Like other things he took, Larry Ellison stole that phrase as well.

    1. I did not know that. The first time I recall hearing the phrase was in the NC product marketing. But considering Oracle acquired SUN Microsystems in 2010 and all of its assets, I guess it’s a moot point anyway.

  2. Sure you can do that effect with the new Lensbaby lens in post, but if you want that shot for a couple shots of every client it would be cheaper to just change lenses instead of spending the time in post processing.

    Also if you like editing on a tablet I would use a Surface Pro 3 instead of an iPad. That way you have full Photoshop and Lightroom. Plus if you need you can plug in an external hard drive for more storage.

  3. I’m not entirely convinced that the Lensbaby Velvet 56mm f/1.6 prime lens is a bad idea, nor do I think that the price is entirely unreasonable. I own a couple of mirrorless cameras along with a mix of about 20 manual focus SLR and rangefinder lenses from various vintages. And I have come to like ALL of my lenses as they all have a unique way of transmitting light into a completed image. While I appreciate that post-processing can duplicate various lens effects, I am not so certain a computer can fully duplicate all effects in a way that is identical to some trick lenses. For instance I have a tilt-shift lens and I’ve never been able to duplicate that exact look in post and therefore I will continue to hold onto my tilt-shift for certain jobs. Also if you are shooting video, it makes sense to do as much in camera as possible. Which leads me to the Lensbaby Velvet 56. In my opinion it seems to be an attempt to recreate the look of some of the mid-20th Century rangefinder lenses that I have used in the past. These were lenses before the advent of modern coatings and aspherical lens technology. So when shot wide open, these lenses had a soft focus and low contrast look to them. That said, even if you could get such a vintage lens in good condition that had a fast aperture and a 50mm focal length, you would have great difficulty finding a vintage macro lens with an aperture faster than f/3.5, so IMHO Lensbaby is offering something unique. A fast 50mm, macro with a low contrast and dreamy look, without the use of macro adapter tubes. If I personally wanted to create similar look to the Velvet lens, with some macro capability I would use my Sony A7R with the Voigtlander Close-Focus NEX to Leica adaptor and my superb Nippon Kogaku Nikkor 85mm f/2 lens in Leica Thread Mount, manufactured in 1950 (before the company changed it’s name to Nikon). The Voigtlander adaptor cost $309 and that lens is about $300, so the $500 price point of the Velvet is not that crazy in my opinion. And the fact that Lensbaby is providing such a lens to many different mounts is a bonus. One final thought, even if you could created such a look in post on a computer, you cannot see that look through your viewfinder as you take the shot and I think that actually seeing what the lens in doing to the image in realtime has an advantage in that, the specific look is critical component of the photographers compositional decisions.

    1. I agree the hate on the soft focus lens was a bit ridiculous. I’ve been using the Canon 135 SF for years, it’s fantastic and it’s sad it hasn’t been updated since the 80’s. The one quip I have on the Lensbaby is the control over the SF effect. I don’t actually see how that works. If it’s even there, and is definite feature I would miss. The Nikon Defocus and Pentax versions also offered control over the softening effect. I love how the lenses ability to lower the contrast and create the highlight glow effect (good luck doing that in photoshop in under 10 minutes, if at all. Lord know I’ve tried because 135mm can be a little tight for a field of view) in the bokeh, but keep the sharpness of the in focus area. If Lensbaby can give me that, especially at an 85mm or 50mm great!

    2. Glad to hear that an older Canon 135mm lens is working well for you. I have a 15 year old Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 aspherical lens in the old Leica thread mount that I will NEVER get rid of! This is because almost every time I shoot a headshot with it at full aperture on my Sony A7R or Ricoh GXR mirrorless, the clients love how they look on it. It’s nowhere as sharp or contrasty as the current Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH lens (but it costs one tenth the price LOL). But the Voigtlanders slight lack of sharpness can be a plus when shooting faces as it seem to smooth over skin imperfections. So the way I handle it, I can get a look that sells pictures. On another note, BH had shipped me the new Sony 28mm f/2 FE prime lens, but unfortunately I am currently out of the country, so I won’t see it until I get back home. DXOmark has tested it and the camera forums have people who don’t actually have the lens arguing about it’s distortion and vignetting. Now I don’t know if I will like it, since I haven’t used it yet. But depending on what you use it for, a bit of distortion or vignetting is not necessary a bad thing. The key is to make shots that utilize the signature of the lens effectively within the esthetic that you are going for. One of my favorite living photo-journalists is David Burnett. In addition to a full frame Canon DSLR, Mr. Burnett is known also use a cheap plastic medium format Holga camera and a large format Speed Graphic view camera with a wild 178mm f/2.5 Kodak Aero-Ektar lens made during WW2. The upshot of which is that he is capable of shooting press photos unlike anyone else in his field. So in my opinion if a person can get a pleasing shot with a Lensbaby Velvet and the price is ok with them, then I say more power to them!