There are a few tintype apps out there for your smart phones. Two of the apps actually make pretty neat digital images. We wanted to take a closer look at the benefits and differences between the two apps and see which of the two make better digital files for output.
First the new TinType app available in the app store. This app allows you to shoot an image or upload a pre-existing photograph from your camera's photo stream. Once your photograph is taken or uploaded, you have a couple of options for editing your image. You can adjust the tintype to be in black and white or in color, the color is reminiscent of painting photographs with pastels in it's tonality. You can also enhance the area around the eyes to change the intensity. This feature really seems to simply enhance the contrast around the area that the app selects as 'the eyes'. If your tintype isn't a portrait, then there is no selection to be made. You can crop the tintype to be in a square or rectangular format, or add the degree of grain to your plate that you prefer from messy to neat. Finally, you can adjust the depth of field on your tintype which allows for you to direct the point of focus and fall off the plate.
self portrait created with the TinType app
The Tintype plug in for the Hipstamatic app is the second of the two tintype apps that we feel create the most interesting digital tintype images. This plug in is very popular in the Hipstamatic line of snap packs. The tintype plug in is limited in that it does not allow you to edit your images, however, it does create very interesting, square format tintype images. The depth of field is fixed and can not be edited after it is shot. You can shoot color image, but this selection has to be chosen before the tintype is taken. One benefit of the Tintype plug in for Hipstamatic, is that the images are saved directly into your photo stream, and not in the app.
self portrait created with the Tintype snap pack for the Hipstamatic app
Other differences, the TinType app allows you to rotate the camera so that you can easily take a self portrait. The camera is fixed to a single side with the Tintype snap pack for Hipstamatic, which makes it difficult to get a good self portrait on the first try. The Tintype snap pack for Hipstamatic does allow you to hold the camera much closer to the object you are photographing than does the TinType app. With the TinType app I felt the the range of focus was limited to 12" and beyond, but when I used the Tintype snap pack for Hipstamatic I felt I could hold the camera about 6" and beyond.
Tintypes made with the TinType app are roughly 3.5 MB, while tintypes made with the Tintype snap pack for the Hipstamatic app are roughly 1.2 MB. We are now going to be exposing both of the above images to create real tintypes to see how they compare side by side made with actual silver! More to come!