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Focus is the kind of app we never thought we needed, but once we started using it, we had a lot of fun. Functionally, Focus is pretty simple. The app allows you to crop photos, adjust the focal point of photos by blurring details, and adjust color vividness. Though Focus features only these few functions, it performs them well.
Coppertino definitely got the details right. For one thing, this app is fast. Even on an older MacBook Pro, Focus opens raw images from our DSLR instantly. It also integrates well with iCloud, and lets you make adjustments using gestures on a laptop’s trackpad or a Magic Trackpad. And Focus’s clean interface is well designed and looks great.
Focus really allows you to customize your depth of field by brushing over areas you don't want blurred.
You can get down to editing right away, by choosing from a set of predetermined blur tools, or customize the blur effect yourself. We much preferred the latter. While the presets looked good and might be preferable to users who aren’t accustomed to playing with depth of field, we liked using the custom brush to really fine-tune the blur effect in our photos. While blurring doesn’t truly replicate the “bokeh” (the aesthetically pleasing blur) that photographers can achieve with a wide-aperture lens, or provide true tilt-shift effects the way a Lens Baby does, it’s a good way to add a dimension to photos--especially those not taken with a DSLR. Focus’s predetermined blur filters account for a variety of formats, including portrait, nature, architecture, macro, and tilt-shift.
We only wish we could achieve a little more post-processing with Focus. While the app allows you to adjust vividness, we wouldn’t mind a little more complexity with this tool. As it is, power users will probably want to adjust color, contrast, exposure, and curves in another photo editing app before importing their photos into Focus. But, we can imagine that less experienced users will appreciate the single slider to add a pop of saturation to their photos.
The bottom line. Photography enthusiasts might pooh-pooh Focus for trying to imitate the effects they achieve with large-aperture lenses (and we can’t say we entirely blame them--it’s not really the same), but for most users the app provides a fun and easy way to add some depth of field to photos without dropping much cash.
Mac OS 10.6 or later
Easy to use. Well designed. iCloud support. Raw image support. Fast. Makes good use of gestures. Allows users to mimic effects of wide-aperture and tilt-shift camera lenses fairly well.
Could use more photo editing features, like color correction and exposure. Focusing features don’t truly replicate the effects achieved with a wide-aperture or tilt-shift lens.