Zepheer 2.0 review - Custom borders, camera simulations and retro effects

Many of the filter effects come with textures as well as scratches. You can change the level of scratches but not the opacity of the texture.

Heading firmly into Analog territory, Zepheer 2 attempts to add a little more meat to the retro-toning bones by including borders and being to adjust the settings. It starts by loading an image to process. There’s a before and after gadget with and adjustable centre-parting. This is fine for landscape images that fill most of the screen, but it’s a waste of space for portraits. Still, on to the basics then and the image can firstly be cropped, but there are no options to rotate so that certainly needs to be done first. It’s an omission because the app supports RAW as well as the common formats like JPEG and TIFF. There is also the option to add a border manually and these consist of a special frame, colour or texture frame. The colour is the most basic and requires you to move tiny sliders to adjust the sizing. As you do so, the image is updated with the border, which causes the very handles that you are sliding to move as well. Unless doing this in tiny steps, the result is zooming out to a huge border, then zooming back in to none. It really is that poorly thought out. Still, the texture frames and the special frames are interesting with everything from paper borders to film sprockets. They add a lot of variety. They are also included in some of the effects, so a frame you just added may be removed when the filters are selected. However, you can go back and change the border at any point so it’s not a disaster if you do lose one you particularly wanted to use.

The filters are split into five categories and offer over 150 different options for toning, ageing or emulating old processes.

The filters are split into five categories covering camera simulations, artistic effects, abstract effects, vintage style and really vintage styles. There are over 150 in total and having selected the group, all the filter thumbnails update with a mini-preview of the effect on the main image. They also have names, but you only get to see those by hovering the mouse over the thumbnail and waiting for the pop-up. Again, this just hasn’t been thought out. Still, there are a lot of them, with quite a variety of effects. On the camera selection there are the usual suspects like Lomo, pinhole camera, Provia, Velvia and Instant. A filter effect is applied simply by double-clicking on it. There’s no stacking, anything else selected replaces the first one. However, having applied a filter effect the Settings button then becomes active. This contains sliders that affect the key components such as flare, sepia tone, scratches and texture used. It actually depends on the process used as different ones use different settings that then become active. Also, the border and the texture overlay used can be edited for size and even changed to give different results from the same filter. The finished image can then be sent to Flickr and Facebook or simply saved out.

OUR VERDICT

Very affordable and a lot of creative, retro effects for your money. There are shortcomings in the interface in places but with the variety of texture overlays and borders there’s more going on here than in rival app, Analog. Certainly worth a look as there’s a demo version as well.

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