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Lo-fi effects that nostalgically imitate old film cameras are all the rage these days, and there are plenty of apps to prove the point--especially for iOS. FX Photo Studio Pro brings all the effects you love in apps like Hipstamatic, Instagram, and Photo Toaster to your desktop. Cross processing? Check. Lo-fi grunge vignettes? Check. Super-high color saturation with lens flare? Check again. FX Photo Studio Pro has it all.
While these effects are whimsical when presented by the handful in free apps like Instagram and Pixlr-o-matic, they seem downright cheesy in a $40 “pro” photo editing app. The effects themselves are far from pro--most turn your photos into over-saturated, over-exposed messes. However, we do appreciate that you can tweak each effect to your heart’s content, toning it up or down as much as you like. You can also save your own modded effects and add the best ones to your set of favorites for future use.
All of the app’s highly saturated effects are categorized for ease of use.
Although the effects themselves can be achieved in apps like Photoshop, iPhoto, or Aviary (a free web app), FX Photo Studio Pro makes applying them really easy. We just aren’t completely sold on the effects themselves, and don’t see any amount of tweakability changing that.
Luckily, FX Photo Studio Pro also accommodates any normal photo editing you might want to do, including cropping, rotating, and basic photo adjustments like exposure, brightness, contrast, color balance, levels, shadows, and more. It even includes masking and layers tools, though those aren’t as intuitive as some of its other features.
We also like that it supports trackpad gestures to zoom in and out of photos, and does so quickly even with a high-resolution photo on an older MacBook. And it allows you to share photos with sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Flickr.
When it comes down to it though, we’re not quite sure where this app fits in. Because it’s on a Mac, it lacks the immediacy of iOS apps that have made these photo filters so popular. It isn’t as full-featured as a professional photo editor like Photoshop or Lightroom, but it’s also more expensive and less capable than budget photo editors like Pixelmator.
The bottom line. FX Photo Studio Pro gets the job done, and does everything it sets out to do pretty darn well--for that we actually really like it. Unfortunately, we can’t justify paying $39.99 for something we’d rather do in Photoshop, iPhoto, and on our iOS devices.
Mac OS 10.6 or later
Super easy to use. Tons of photo effects. Solid array of photo editing tools. Fast.
Most of the effects are on the cheesy side, and can easily be achieved for free. You already have basic editing tools in iPhoto.