App of the day: Focus Twist review (iPhone)

When the Lytro camera was first announced we all marvelled at the possibilities of a camera that didn't need to focus could bring to the humble photographer. Just snap and go and then worry about focusing later after the fact.

Sadly, as anyone who has used the Lytro will attest, it's not really as easy as that, and the cutting-edge camera turned out to be expensive, difficult to use and, for some reason, feature a miniature square display.

Fast forward two of years, and what once required you to spend a couple of hundred pounds on a dedicated device can now be achieved for £1.49 in an app for the iPhone. Well kind of.

Focus Twist

Format
iPhone
Price
£1.49
Where
iTunes

The premise of Focus Twist is easy. It allows you to take a picture with multiple focus points that can beenjoyed simply by clicking anywhere on the picture.

The app is incredibly basic. Fire it up and you are offered the chance to get snapping, a library of your pictures you've taken and a peep into pictures others have taken and the developers have decided to share - don't panic only image you've shared publicly are eligible.

To take a picture it recommends that you compose a scene with something in the foreground and something in the background to get maximum affect.

In more technical terms that means something very close to the camera, say 3-5 inches, and something else further away; like more than 5ft.

You then need to keep everything still. This doesn't work well with small children, and once you've got everything set up, you simply press the capture button and wait for the app to work its magic.

The app effectively takes several different shots with different focal points and then merges them all together. The whole process takes around three seconds to complete and the app works best if you keep the phone as still as you can to stop elements of your photo shifting around.

Once you're happy with the end result - it took us a couple of goes, but we got there - you can share your new photo via Twitter, SMS, email, or Facebook, and the recipient gets a link to the image on the Focus Twist website.

At the moment embedding the image is possible, it's just not straightforward, but it is something the developers have told Pocket-lint they aim to fix in the near future - we've done it using an iframe supplied by Focus Twist. 

FocusTwist from Arqspin on Vimeo.

The only catch we've found is that to capture everything the camera's wide-angle capabilities are virtually removed.

It's still very early days for Focus Twist and it's something that should be taken with an experimental hat on rather than something that you are going to be using to replace your main camera app. It will give you a bit of fun, especially in trying to create the perfect scene, to take advantage of the new technology.