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BitCam and Exify: iPhone apps with a different approach to photography

Glenn Fleishman | July 5, 2016
BitCam recaptures dithered pleasure, while Exify X-rays modern snaps.

BitCam defaults to Standard dither, but can be configured to use Super-Res with more detail or FatBits, which is very coarse. For a $2 in-app purchase, you can enable “Color Graphics,” which combines deep color and dithering. The app can also be flipped into selfie mode and set up for “Instaphoto Size”—square-cropped images.

While the app can be invoked in a Share sheet within the Photos app, the effect isn’t applied exactly right because it manipulates the original full-resolution image instead of a downsample one. Iconfactory is working on that.

Looking within

Exify comes at photography from an entirely different angle. An iOS device crams a ton of metadata into each image it takes. You may not realize quite how much, because most of the software you use doesn’t expose it or takes advantage of only a tiny subset. What’s shown can also help you make a spot judgment about whether to take another shot of the same scene, too.

There are other apps that reveal the EXIF (exchangeable image file format) photo information and other embedded details, but Exify is the most stylish and complete I’ve used. It organizes information into as many as six separate screens. Each screen has a kind of extra view when you tap an eye icon in the upper right.

exify screenshot

Overview shows basic information, like format, and resolution, as well as a preview of the image and the auto-focus region, if one’s encoded. Tap the image, and it fills the display, but also opens up a variable magnification window, which can be double-tapped to cycle among 1x, 2x, and 4x. Tap the eye icon, and you can sample specific points on the image for luminosity and color values. A Histogram view reveals the distribution of luminosity and color information, and also lets you sample points by tapping the eye.

Location uses Apple Maps to show position and heading; a later GPS screen pulls out every GPS-related factoid. The EXIF and TIFF screens reveal the massive amount of image-specific data captured, and tapping the eye toggles between more human-readable rounded-off values and text labels for codes and the raw data. (The TIFF metadata format gets used even with JPEG images.)

Exify also exposes extensions for editing in Photos, allowing you to add a text watermark, and as Share extensions to duplicate, zoom in, and see values as if you were in Exify.

Keeping both eyes open

Despite these two new apps from the Iconfactory, like many app developers, the company most does private-label app programming. It also designs icons like mad, such as a recent massive project for Facebook Messenger that comprised over 1,200 emojis.

BitCam and Exify are the kinds of apps we’d all like to see more of from independent developers. Let’s hope some incentives continue to exist that will keep them coming.


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