Review: RNI Films (iPhone 6S)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films apps review product images (3 of 8)ISO 2001-30 sec at f - 1.8

The person that says, “I know exactly what the iPhone needs–another vintage film filter app!” is either particularly ballsy or worthy of all the groans that photographers will mutter. But the company that designs an app that is meant to organically render the look of film has a bit more credibility; and that’s what Really Nice Images is trying to do with their app: RNI Films. The free iOS app is designed for you to import your images and edit them in its own semi-unique editing suite.

Its main selling point: the rendering of lots of actual film emulsions. If you want your iPhone to deliver images with a Kodachrome or Astia rendering, you’ve got it with this app. But the process it takes to accomplish this may be what puts a lot of folks off.

Pros and Cons

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer RNI Films apps review product images (6 of 8)ISO 2001-30 sec at f - 1.8

Pros

  • Nice rendering of film that are very accurate
  • Pretty powerful editing tools, but I’d love more control
  • It’s free

Cons

  • Desperately needs a camera interface

Feature Set

Taken from the RNI Films web site.

Features

Simple and minimal user interface.
No unwanted clutter, just you and your photos.
Comfortable one-handed experience even on big screens
Real-film filters grouped in categories by film types
The app is free to download.
And comes with plenty of free filters included.
Even more filters can be purchased additionally.
Instant before/after preview
No more ‘tap-tap-tap’.
We value your time. RNI Films requires just an absolute minimum of taps to process and share your photos.
Share photos to your social network straight from the app

Ease of Use

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RNI Films is an app for iOS and is meant to be an editing app. That’s probably the app’s biggest problem: when I take a photo, I’m ready to send it to networks right away. I don’t want to shoot the image, get out of the camera app, open it up in an editing suite, edit the image and then send it out to the web. That’s just really backwards to me.

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So to start, RNI Films asks you to load up an image. When this is clicked you need to go through what folder in your iPhone you specifically want to access. RNI does this is a very attractive and beautiful way that it much like what EyeEm also offers.

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Once that image is chosen, the editing process begins. To start, you can choose one of various film presets. RNI Films categorizes the films by negative, slide, black and white, instant and vintage. Each of these has various options for you to use with emulsions from Agfa, Ilford, Kodak, and Fujifilm. If you want, you can choose to purchase more presets from the company within the app.

For one of the categories, if you just share the app on Facebook then you get more emulsions for free.

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While editing and choosing a film, the film’s name will flash on top of the image for a brief moment and then disappear so that you can get back to choosing whether you want that emulsion or not. By pressing and holding the image, you can see what it looks like originally and without the edits.

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When you feel you’re all set on your film selection (or even if you don’t want to select a film) you simply move onto the editing process. Here you can tweak things like brightness, contrast, clarity, saturation and lots of the other things that many other apps let you work with. It’s even got an interesting pre-tint and post-tint ability. But for what it’s worth, I feel that RNI is lacking in versatility here. I’d love to be able to adjust the distortion, lights, darks, etc.

What I’d really, really love is the ability to edit specific color levels: but no app really allows you to have that yet.

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RNI Films also offers various cropping abilities. And when you’re done editing, you have a host of export options. The app doesn’t have its own social community, so you’ll be sharing it to other apps instead.

Image Samples

Here’s another big problem for me: I really wish that RNI Films renamed the files so that they reflect what preset was added to the image. However, it’s not possible to get that. While that’s admittedly frustrating to me, I really need to give credit where it’s due. RNI films does a damned good job when it comes to color rendering that is incredibly accurate–especially when it came to how the Instant film results looked. I haven’t seen anything that’s this spot on available for mobile and RNI Films nails it.

What’s even better is that the app doesn’t seen to really destroy the image quality or compress it a whole lot–and that’s important. I’m a big fan of shooting with a dedicated camera and then porting the images to my phone to edit and share. For that purpose, RNI Films makes the process even better.

Here are some other image samples.

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Conclusions

RNI Film is very, very highly capable when it comes to editing your images. However, given the typical workflow when it comes to the way that consumers shoot and share their images, a great injustice is being done here with it not having a camera at all. If you’re bored on a long commute, editing the images is pretty fun to do in order to kill some time if you’ve already completed reading your latest NYTimes Best Selling book. But again, it’s just an extra step.

On a personal note, I’ll continue to use RNI Films at times because the preset renderings are SIGNIFICANTLY better than anything EyeEm, Instagram, and Hipstamatic can offer. But the workflow process is still quite painful unless I’m shooting with one of my connected cameras like the Sony A7 or Canon 6D and then porting the images to my phone. In that case, I just understand that there will be extra steps. While I like shooting with the iPhone’s camera, the idea of:

  • Loading up the camera app
  • Shooting
  • Getting out of the camera app
  • Loading up RNI Films
  • importing the image I just shot
  • Editing
  • Exporting image I just shot to either one of many social media networks or my camera roll so that I can upload it to EyeEm

Is just a lot of work for those of us who aren’t so determined.

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

RNI Films receives four out of five stars specifically for the fact that their presets beat everyone else’s out there. It’s available as a free download from the Apple App Store right now with optional in-app purchases.