Instagram envy: 4 similar photo apps for BlackBerry users

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With over 50-million users, Instagram is the photography app of choice for many photographers with an iPhone and a love of vintage-inspired pics. Instagram recently announced that their retro photography app will be available for Android devices soon, but it seems that BlackBerry users are neglected yet again.

If you’re sick of seeing the instagr.am links on Twitter and don’t have the inclination (or financial ability) to switch smartphones, here are some similar (and free) apps directly from BlackBerry App World.

Photo Studio:

Rating on BlackBerry App World: 4.5 stars.

Photo Studio screenshot

Photo Studio offers more than just photo filters — it includes a selection of basic tools which are useful for editing on the go or when you can’t get your hands on Photoshop. You can easily edit your photo’s brightness, contrast, hue and saturation with a swoosh of the intensity bar, remove red eye, crop images and add frames. Then there are the effects — there are 29 to choose from on the free version and more available if you’re willing to pay for the upgrade (or desperate to try out some of the lomo filters). Saving images can take a while if you’ve layered multiple effects and the app doesn’t offer the same extensive built-in sharing and social options as Instagram, but you can share photos to BBM directly from the app.

Photo Editor Ultimate

Rating on BlackBerry App World: 4.5 stars.

Photo Editor Ultimate screen shot

Photo Editor Ultimate is quite text-based and requires user confirmation at every stage, which can be annoying if you just want to do some quick and simple editing. Loading images can be a chore if you’ve owned your BlackBerry for more than a day and have a photo library with more than 5 images, as the thumbnails are miniature so it can take a while to find the image you want to edit. But the app makes up for that with very detailed editing ability and nests of menus which give you control over the tiniest changes. There are many filters listed under either the ‘effects’ or ‘colour’ menus (try out ‘tint’, ‘tilt shift’ and ‘channel mix’ for a vintage-inspired result) and you can even combine two images for a double exposure effect. The app’s built in sharing functionality extends to email, Twitpic and Imgur.

Pix Trix:

Rating on BlackBerry App World: 3.5 stars.

Pix Trix screen shot

Pix Trix is the app for you if you’re not interested in incrementally adjusting the image’s RGB values, but just want a pretty picture, darn it. The filters are the main emphasis of this app, and you just need to hover over a thumbnail of an effect to try it out. The lomo, infrared and grunge effects are some of the best, although there are 12 other softer filters with titles like ‘rose tint’ and ‘colour crush’ if you’re going for a more subtle effect. There are basic photo editing options (hue, saturation, brightness, contrast, rotate) and you can save your image in a ready-for-Facebook file size and share it directly from the app.

InstaPhoto:

Rating on BlackBerry App World: 4 stars.

InstaPhoto screenshot

Ok, so InstaPhoto isn’t free (it’s R17.50 or US$2.99), but it’s been described as the closest thing to Instagram you’ll find for BlackBerry devices. It automatically requires you to crop images to a square shape, so you won’t have to do it yourself like in the other photo editing apps. The home screen can also be customised to load a feed of all the InstaPhoto uploads from users you’re following on Twitter, and the app allows you to add a caption to your image and post it directly to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. It also loads all the filter previews using your chosen image, which means you don’t have to select or apply a filter before seeing how it will look on your photo.

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