Cameras

Photo App of the Week: Lens+ for iOS

This Instagram competitor is fine, but doesn't bring much to the table.

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Instagram isn’t the only filter app in town (even though it’s destined to be the biggest). Lens+ by CnC enjoyed a brief run atop the top free photo app downloads a few weeks ago, before the price jumped back up to $1.99 and it dropped off the charts. Even so, there’s merit to this arbitrary collection of faux-film effects.

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What It Gets Right

Lens+ applies filters effortlessly. The interface is more intuitive than Instagram’s or Hipstamatic’s, and there are more effects available. Flick the screen to cycle through the 30 effects in real time, or tap the multi button to preview six filters at a time. Adding one of the seven specialized borders is almost as easy. Some of the effects are redundant, but they’re pretty solid fake-retro ripoffs.

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What It Could Do Better

Why did Facebook buy Instagram? One of the most convincing arguments we’ve read was that Facebook saw it as the only credible threat to their own photo-sharing dominance. Instagram was a filter app, yes, but it was on track to become one of the biggest social media networks, period.

Lens+ on the other hand is just a filter app. It can share photos via email or Facebook, but that’s it: no Twitter, no third-party photo sharing services, and no proprietary network.

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h4.Worth a Download?

We downloaded Lens+ when it was free, so that was a no-brainer. But the price popped up to $1.99 sometime over the past two weeks. If you’ve already purchased a filter app you’re comfortable with, there’s nothing about Lens+ that’ll make you switch.

Instagram is still free, so that’s the best bet in the category, even if it is part of a big bad evil empire now. But for what it’s worth, we’d buy Lens+ over the other independent paid apps like Hipstamatic.