Above you can see two screenshots of the capture interface. Sadly, the way Vignette pulls in camera data doesn’t allow for screenshots of the live preview screen (hence the black background). If you compare it to the Camera360 capture interface, it appears almost spartan. The screenshot on the left shows the selective focus/radial menu feature. When you tap anywhere on the screen, this large circular menu appears around your finger. Drag to the top, and the image will be refocused on that point. Drag to the bottom, and the capture options are shown (screenshot on the right).
But just because the interface is minimalistic, doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. Unlike Little Photo, the capture stage here isn’t an afterthought. For instance, look at how many different capture modes you get.
Some of these bear explanation. “Blind” is the weirdest one. You get no live preview; the screen just goes black, and you’re supposed to aim your phone as best as you can, and snap an image. Perhaps it’s for times when you’re not supposed to be taking pictures, or for getting spontaneous shots. “Steady shot” tries to figure out when the phone is shaking and moving fast, and waits for you to hold it steady before taking the picture. The others are fairly self-explanatory.
Next, let’s take a look at the camera control options:
This gives you very explicit control over your phone’s camera; not many apps let you set the exposure compensation, for example.
Next, before moving onto post-production, let’s take a look at the file settings screen:
Here you can see one of my favorite features: Vignette can capture full-resolution images, and is beefy enough to apply effects to them. A 5-megapixel image is large (around 2MB). You can also control the quality, folder, and naming convention.
Okay, now let’s capture an image and try applying some effects.
My serious-looking cat, Ivan, will serve as our model for evaluating post-production and effects. Here’s the raw image, captured using Vignette, before applying any effects:
Now, let’s look at the effect interface:
This is one of Vignette’s weakest points. The effects are actually very powerful (and numerous), but there is no instant preview! If you don’t know what a certain effect does, you just have to apply it, go to the image, view it, and go back to apply a different effect. Quite a laborious process really; perhaps Vignette can learn something from Little Photo’s elegant effect interface with its instant live preview and transparent menu.
Interface considerations aside, Vignette offers a boatload of possible effects, neatly sorted into categories:
I decided to go for an over-saturated looks, accentuating Ivan’s eyes:
Another key difference between Vignette and Little Photo is that you can’t apply multiple effects all at once. You need to pick just one; but once you pick it, you can heavily customize it:
For instance, I wanted to add some extra vignetting to the effect I selected, as well as some light leaks. The tweaked result looks like this:
Quite a mild effect, really. Of course, you can also add a frame, out of a staggeringly-rich menu of options:
I went for a 16:9 white rounded frame, and the end result looks like this:
After you’ve tweaked all the options to death, you might want to save them as a specific preset. If course, Vignette always saves the last values you used, but given the app’s breadth of options you may not want to limit it to just one type of photos. So let’s just save this set of options with a descriptive name:
In the future, I could easily pick out this specific combination (effect and frame) out of the list of favorites:
And what’s even cooler is that Vignette lets me create shortcuts for specific setting combinations right on my homescreen:
So instead of using three different apps (one for HDR, one for “normal” photos and one for Retro-style, say) I could just create three shortcuts to the same app, with different settings.
Vignette is a powerful, capable, no-nonsense camera app. Its biggest drawback is the lack of a live preview feature for the effect interface. Other than that, it makes for a very solid choice. Stay tuned for more quality camera reviews – and feel free to recommend some of your own in the comments, of course.
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