Smartphone photography is big business, especially for the iPhone, and there are plenty of contenders for the title of “Best Image Editing App.” We decided to put two of the newest entries in the field to the test to see which is the best of the latest image editing apps. Let’s start off by taking a look at Enlight:
Release date: March 12, 2015
Latest update: 1.0.1 (March 13, 2015)
Compatibility: iPhone and iPod touch
There are a wealth of apps that do different things for photos. Some will help you tweak the color and light balance of the image to bring out the perfect picture, while others will put a fancy or grunge border around the shot. It can get frustrating having to use so many apps to edit a single photo, so Enlight was developed to encompass “every photo app you’ve ever needed, wanted, or dreamed of – combined into one powerful, beautifully designed photo editor.” Our review of Enlight called it “a revolutionary mobile photo editing suite for your iPhone.”
Enlight has a huge collection of tools for editing your photos, from applying filters and basic adjustments to the images, to putting fun text and meme stickers on them. One of the app’s best tools is the Instafit feature, which applies bars to your image to make it into a square perfectly sized for Instagram. You also get a huge number of filters that you can apply to your photos, to give your snapshots the appearance you want. In terms of the usual suite of tools, Enlight has it all: noise reduction, exposure, tonal correction, and more. Finally, the “Refit” tool is truly unique, allowing you to crop your images from the inside to bring objects closer together without losing anything important.
The most noticeable weakness of Enlight is the lack of iPad compatibility. This is something that many users have complained about, and the loudness of those complaints make it clear that people want to be able to use the app on their iPads. After all, it is a very useful workflow to shoot your photographs on the iPhone but then edit them on the larger screen of the iPad. There are also a few tools that are difficult to use, but the built-in tutorials take much of the pain out of the learning curve of using the app.
Total score: 17 out of 20
Filters for iPhone
Release date: March 25, 2015
Latest update: 1.0 (March 25, 2015)
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
The idea behind Filters for iPhone is to bring you a ton of different filters without putting most of them behind a paywall. You get a huge selection of choices for $0.99, with no in-app purchases required to unlock additional filters. This is definitely a beautiful feature, since it gives you more than 800 different filters to use in perfecting your photographs. In our review of Filters for iPhone, we praised developer Mike Rundle for “organizing everything into a clear layout that is easy to navigate.”
The first big strength of Filters for iPhone is the sheer number of tools you get for making your photograph uniquely perfect. All of these functions are elegantly incorporated into a minimalistic, simple, and clean interface that puts the focus on the image and makes it easier to see how a particular filter will affect your photo. The menu icons lack labels, but they utilize easily recognizable glyphs to help you know what does what. Not only does the app include more than 800 different filters, from vintage and monochromatic to dramatic, cool, and warm, but there are also overlays and basic adjustment tools.
It wasn’t hard to find a weakness in Filters for iPhone, unfortunately. The app’s controls are a bit too touchy, resulting in values changing slightly when you lift your finger from the screen controls. Also, you can’t see the strength percentage of the applied filter anywhere on the screen. Finally, and this is a big one, there is no step-by-step undo button. The “revert” button at the top will get rid of all of your changes, but you cannot go back one change at a time or see a history of edits that you can jump to, like in Darkroom.
Total score: 15 out of 20
And the winner is …
Don’t get me wrong, both Enlight and Filters for iPhone are amazing photography apps. However, Enlight offers more of a one-stop shop for editing your photos, and Filters for iPhone has controls that are just a bit too finicky without providing a way to step backward through changes without undoing all of your modifications at once. For these reasons, Enlight is my go-to photo editing app and Filters for iPhone is just used once in a while.
You can download Enlight from the App Store for $4.99, and it’s optimized for the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
You can download Filters for iPhone from the App Store for $0.99. It’s also optimized for the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.