Grid Lens ($0.99) by Bucket Labs is an app that allows you to compose grid images with multiple shots in a single frame.
The first thing that caught my attention about this app was its unique design. Even though it’s a photography app, it has its own style that sets it apart from the rest. I loved the cutesy artwork that you see when you launch the app, and was pleased to see the theme used consistently throughout. The animations between screens was smooth and fluid on my iPhone 4S.
When you launch Grid Lens, you’ll see a quick tutorial on how to use the app, even though it’s mostly self-explanatory. Once you tap anywhere to dismiss it, you’re ready to start using the app. The app launches with a default grid layout of six spaces (2x3), and there are several buttons at the bottom: gallery, grid layout, shutter, automatic or manual mode, and single (one image divided by lines) or multi lens mode (compound eyes, repeating units). Standard camera controls such as flash and front-facing camera toggles are found on this screen.
You may be wondering what the difference is between automatic and manual mode. Automatic will take the individual shots automatically in order; manual will allow you to take the images one-by-one, and you can even tap on the space to take the image for that spot.
Tapping on the grid button (next to the gallery) will allow you to choose a different layout, and you can even edit or create your own. There are already plenty of layouts to choose from, but I did appreciate the ability to create my own. When you create a new layout, you will start by adding rows, then columns, and continuing to split the spaces into smaller ones until you’re satisfied. There is also the random option, in case you want a surprise. It’s definitely nice to be able to have the option to customize your own layouts, as there is a lot of potential with creatives.
In addition to customizing the grid layout, users can also tap on “Options” when viewing the camera. This gives users the ability to choose the border color (default is white), thickness of border), and the ratio (includes 1:1, 4:3, 5:7, 2:3, and 16:9).
Once you snap and compose an image, the app will process it (you can tell with the little munching monster in the bottom left corner; what a nice touch), and you will be able to view it in the Gallery. The Gallery will show you all of the images that you’ve composed with Grid Lens, and it even features your photos taped realistically (page curl and all).
Tapping on an image in the gallery will present the user with several options: you can save it to the Camera Roll, share it (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or email), apply one of Grid Lens’s filters to it, or delete it. That’s right, Grid Lens also features its own unique set of filters that you can apply directly on your grid image. These filters only affect the images in the spaces, and not the border (this can’t be said if you export the photo to something like Instagram). It adds a unique finishing touch to your photos, which is always welcome.
The only setting that Grid Lens has is the option to autosave to your device’s Photo Library, and this is found in the device’s Settings.app.
Currently, it seems that Grid Lens is only able to compose these images with new photos that you snap directly from the app. I wish that there was a way to import photos into a grid frame, kind of like how Diptic works. Maybe this can be something added in the future by the developers.
In the end, I found Grid Lens to be one amazing little app to have. The UI is absolutely beautiful and easy-to-use, and there are plenty of options for customization by the user. If you’re looking for an exceptional gem in the crowded market of iPhone photography apps, then definitely grab Grid Lens. It’s on sale for 50 percent off for a limited time, so get it before it’s too late!