I started on my photography journey with film back in college when I took a winter course. I spent a lot of time trying to capture artistic images of the architecture of the Drew University campus using Kodak Ektachrome film on my Pentax P3.
While I didn’t enjoy the smell of the darkroom chemicals, I sometimes miss the film look. For over a year, I’ve used VSCOcam film simulation filters on my iPhone, and more recently VSCO Lightroom high-end film simulation presets to create that nostalgic look of the film in my iPhone images. I bought almost every VSCOcam preset available but have only used a few.
But recently I’ve discovered another app, the Really Nice Images (RNI) Films high-end film simulation filters app for iOS. The app does a great job of making my iPhone images have the look of Kodak and Fuji films from the 70s and the 80s. But the app has a downside.
Just like VSCOcam, RNI Films is free to download from the App Store. The app comes with a free set of presets for negative, slide, black and white, and instant films. Additional presets can be purchased for $2.99. My favourite presets are Fuji Velvia 100F, and Kodak E 100G slide film presets. They produce saturated images for landscapes.
RNI Films also has a reasonably decent set of image editing tools. I like using the fade tool to add a matte print effect to my images.
Sharing to social media is limited to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. RNI Films doesn’t have a way to export to the iOS share sheet.
One downside of the app is the lack of a camera or in-app library and the ability to be called from the edit-in menu from the iOS Photos app. This makes for an awkward workflow. Currently, I do use the native iOS camera app to snap a photo, then launch RNI Film and find and load the image from Photos, apply a filter, make edits and then export back to the camera roll. It’s unproductive.
My workflow involves snapping a few images then later, scrolling through the iOS camera roll, and tagging my favourites or moving the pictures I want to work on into a folder. I would typically import these images into VSCO Cam’s library for editing. From there, I can edit/tweak a picture and then copy/paste the changes I made to each image in the library. Efficient.
Another thing that bothered me is the inability to organize the presets. There are a few preset that I will use often. I would like to put my most frequently used film types at the beginning of the list. Currently, I find my self scrolling through almost to the end of access the Fuji Velvia and Kodak E100 film types. That’s frustrating.
I just want non-destructive editing of TIFF and JPG images that are accessible from the favourite folder. This has been available in iOS since version 8 and the lack of this feature means keeping my original image and a copy of the edited image.
The app is at version 1.0, so I hope that the RNI Films will address these deficiencies in the next release. Until them, I’m having a blast pretending that I’m shooting Kodak film on my Pentax P3.