Just a brief note on some useful smartphone apps that I use for my film photography.

There is a huge number of apps now available for photographers ranging from camera apps like ‘Halide’ and ‘Hipstamatic’, to meters such as ‘my Lightmeter’, calculators such as ‘Pinhole Assist’, ‘Long Exp’ and ‘Massive Dev’, processors like ‘Snapseed’ and ‘Darkroom’ and so on. I have used all of these and pretty good they are too once you understand their limitations.

Perhaps one of the apps that I most frequently use is ‘Viewfinder’. The app helps you to visualise a scene as if looking at a photograph. It’s like the old days when you might take a polaroid before setting up your large format camera.

In the app you set up your camera and film formats, the focal lengths of your lenses and aspect ratios and film type.

So I have 7×5, 5×4 film formats set up, focal lengths of my LF lenses: 210 and 90 and film types Ilford HP5 Plus and FP4.

So you can view a scene with the appropriate combination of settings, take a digital image and store it in an album or journal with some notes.

I use the app in two ways:

  • Firstly, I record the pictures I take with my LF camera and include notes about the EV range, how I metered the scene for future reference and what camera settings I used
  • I also record location prospects for future visits, which I store in a journal. I add locations using the app ‘What3words’.

Here is a screen shot from my ‘phone with the 5×4 format/90mm lens/HP5 film combination in a journal format. I left the location notes field blank for the purposes of this post.

Here is a comparison of the app’s picture with the picture from my LF camera. The differences are due to metering, a slight difference in position and focus.

Viewfinder app picture; 5 x4/90mm lens/HP5 emulation
90mm lens; HP5 Plus 5×4; Rodinal 1:36

Not too bad a result. Indeed you could use the app to improve on LF skills, such as composition and focus, I’m thinking ( I got the focus wrong here)!

Here is another example but where I changed the orientation to see whether I preferred it:

Viewfinder app (4×5; 90mm lens; HP5 emulation)
Empty Barn, 90mm lens; 5×4; Rodinal 1:36