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Darkroom for iOS review: A great photo editor, but missing key features

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The Good Darkroom (iOS) is an intuitive and fast app for editing images. The curves features are great for adjusting the tones of colors. You can create your own filters.

The Bad You can't take photos from within the app. Creating filters is a complicated process. There is no way to zoom in on images.

The Bottom Line With an intuitive interface, the ability to create filters and the ability to adjust curves, Darkroom is a great download, but it still needs more.


7.7 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 7
  • Interface 8
  • Performance 8

Darkroom (iOS) is a free photo editor that focuses on adding customizable effects quickly to images from your library.

What will appeal to more advanced photographers here is Darkroom's capability to adjust curves with raw access to RGB channels. You'll need to pay $2.99 to unlock these features, but it's not a bad price for a good photography app and you get to test out the rest of the features beforehand.

We've seen tons of photo editors come through the App Store loaded with filters and I already have several favorites like Camera+ , VSCO Cam and KitCamera . But what makes Darkroom stand out is an interface that makes it incredibly easy to quickly browse through and grab photos, and also the optin to create your own photo filters.

Connects directly to photo library

One thing I've noticed about a lot of photo editors such as the ones listed above is most have light-table interfaces that require you to import photos to a separate photo collection that exists within the app.

What Darkroom does that's unique is let you connect to your entire photo library from the beginning so there's no import process. Upon launch you just need to allow Darkroom access and then you're greeted with your photo library in a grid letting you swipe through photos to find a good shot.

Editing your images

Once you decide on an image, you'll have tools across the bottom for editing. You can crop to several standard aspect ratios, pick from 12 included filters, adjust sliders to fine-tune your image and -- once you pay -- swipe to adjust curves. A particularly great feature in Darkroom is the infinite history that lets you go back through your changes one by one to the beginning.

For cropping, you can drag corners to resize the framing. You also can use a rotate wheel to straighten your image, and pick from multiple aspect ratios: 1:1 (for Instagram, for example), 4:3, 3:4, 2:3 and 3:2.

There are 12 basic filters included and you can create your own filters, but it's a little complicated. You'll need to pick one of the included filters, then switch to the sliders and make some adjustments. Once you do, you can go back to the Filters selection and a Create Filter button will appear. Here you'll be able to name your filter, then adjust sliders to make it to your liking.

To fine-tune the image you can use the sliders I mentioned to adjust brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation and temperature. For that miniaturized effect, there's also a vignette slider.

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