The Flickr iOS app underwent a major overhaul in December 2012 – the most significant addition being a stash of tools, filters and effects, courtesy Aviary. The app received its next big update around a week ago. Few of the additions made to the app are: the ability to save photos from your Photostream to the Camera Roll, using the iPhone’s volume up button as shutter release and mentioning your friends in comments by typing @ and selecting the contact you wish to tag. These updates now make Flickr a compelling tool to share your photos and socialise with your friends bitten by the shutter bug. Here’s our take on the latest version (2.10.803) of Flickr for iOS.
Features and UI
You have to first sign into your Flickr or Facebook account to be able to use the app. You’re taken to the main interface as soon as you sign into your Flickr account. The app presents a tab based interface to make things easy.
View your contacts' and your own Photostream
Contacts and Groups
The first tab lets you browse Photostreams of your contacts and groups you’ve subscribed to. The contacts are listed with the thumbnail of the latest photo put up by them. You scroll vertically to go through the list of contacts and swipe horizontally to scroll through their Photostream, one photo at a time. Double-tapping on the displayed photo adds it to your Favorites. Single-tapping on the photo allows you to add a comment or share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or via Email. However, being able to share the photo depends on the privacy settings set by the user. The icons for marking as Favorite, Comment and Sharing are located at the bottom of the photo. At the top right corner is the Info icon that lets you check the EXIF info (shutter speed, ISO, focal length, aperture and flash settings) and the sets to which the photo belongs. The Contacts tab also lets you access the profile pages of contacts—it’s as simple as tapping on the contact name. You can then browse the selected contact’s sets, groups, favourites and contact list. What we found very nice was the Lightbox view you’re taken to when you rotate your iPhone 90 degrees (landscape mode). This view displays an enlarged view of the photo on a black background with an option to run a slideshow. However, on rotating back to portrait mode, the Lightbox view remains active and you have to close it to revert to the main UI.
Interesting shots and location-based search
Interesting and Nearby
This tab displays the most striking uploads on Flickr. These include photos shot by any Flickr user, even outside of your contact list. Again, as with the Photostreams of your contacts, you tap on the photo to add comment, share or view information. We must say the selection of interesting photos is incredible and you just want to go through the endless list of photos. The Nearby button displays photos shot around your current location—Flickr uses Location Services and geotagging for this. You can also use Google Maps to select locations.
The awesome camera powered by Aviary
You may want to use Flickr just for the Aviary-powered camera! It can be easily said that this camera is one of the best—it’s fun to use with a slew of filters and effects, and at the same time it offers very good flexibility when it comes to shooting and editing photos. You can either go the easy way, wherein you simply press the volume up key to take a photo, or you touch the screen with two fingers (multi-touch), which brings up a square and a circle, both movable around the frame. The square lets you select the area where you want to focus and the circle is to specify the spot to meter light. This goes a long way in getting optimal exposures and details, especially in shadows or while taking photos of dark objects. As soon as you shoot a photo, you can edit it or apply filters. You have an assortment of 16 filters, each with different colour tones and border effects. Tapping on the Edit icon takes you to the photo editor wherein you can adjust parameters such as brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness. You can also crop, change orientation, insert text boxes, eliminate redeye, whiten teeth and get rid of blemishes. After you’re done, you add details such as the title, description and location, and then tap Upload to add the photo to your Photostream. Additional things such as adding the photo to sets/groups, assigning tags and setting privacy are available via the Advanced button, which expands the Details interface. Note that the photos shot are automatically saved to your Camera Roll. However, you can disable it via the Settings tab. If you’re a purist, you may also want to disable the Photo Filters.
In addition to uploading pictures you’ve shot, you can also add photos from your Camera Roll to your Photostream. The Camera Roll is accessible via the icon next to the shutter button. You can select multiple photos and then edit each photo and add details prior to uploading them. A good feature in the latest update is the ability to upload photos in the background, so that you don’t have to wait. Meanwhile, you can browse through Photostreams or think of titles and captions for your photos.
Photostream and Activity
This tab takes you to your profile page, similar to the profile pages of your contacts. Here, you can add/edit tags and captions, delete the selected photo and save photos to your camera roll. The activity button displays what others have commented on your photos or the photos of other members on which you’ve commented.
Background uploading and Settings page
We’ve already talked about the option to disable Photo Filters and Save to Camera Roll. In addition to these, you can set the privacy level, size of the uploaded photo (original, large and medium) and choose to upload on Wi-Fi only to save mobile data bandwidth.
The beauty of this app is that it has all the features of the web version of Flickr. The bonus here is the ability to instantly shoot photos and upload them to your Photostream using the brilliant camera function. Unlike Facebook, which is more inclined towards socialising (which also includes sharing photos and videos), Flickr is more for those who like photography; it's like a social network for serious photographers. If you want to create an online gallery of your photos, network with other photographers around the globe and want critics to comment on your photos, Flickr is for you.
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