Photographer Andrew Whyte’s whimsical, wonderful Legography series, which features a Lego Minifig photographer taking interesting pictures around the world, has attracted attention online recently. In interviews, Whyte has confirmed he took all the shots using an iPhone 4S and an app named 645 Pro MkII. His work is inspiring enough to make keen amateur photographers take a look at the app, in the hopes of replicating some of his work. But is it suitable for people making their first step beyond Instagram?
In this review, we’re not going to go into great detail about the app’s features, simply because there isn’t room, and many of them are complicated to explain. But this does lead into the first positive aspect of the 645 Pro MkII app: a 50-page manual is included inside, or can be downloaded as a PDF from the developers website. It’s a welcome feature, and although it’s not an idiots guide to the app, it does an excellent job of explaining what each button and setting does.
However, its very presence tells you something about the app: It’s way beyond anything most people not familiar with manual photography will have used before. You’re entering a world of live ISO readings, histograms, TIFF files, and shutter speeds. To get the most from 645 Pro Mk II, you’ll need an understanding of these phrases and more. If you’ve used a DSLR camera before though, you’ll be quite at home with this app.
Coming from a simple app like Instagram, or even something like Camera+, 645 Pro MkII feels like a massive step up. The main screen is designed to look like the display on a DSLR camera. Small settings, a thumb wheel, and a large shutter button surround the busy view finder. There are also three lock buttons for the exposure, focus and white balance. Since you’re able to lock those settings, you can guess they can all be adjusted.
It doesn’t stop there. The app has a huge range of both filters and film stocks. Using filters will be familiar to Instagram users, but the full line-up is much more impressive than a few 70s rejects. It’s great to see graded filters, for really standout landscape or sunny day photography, and the wealth of adjustable film stock makes for some fun experimentation. If you’re really confident, it’s possible to mess around with the individual settings, then save your own version of the stock. Delve deeper, and you’ll find almost everything can be tailored to your preference, right down to tweaking the gradient on a filter, to the way the shutter button behaves.
You get the idea. 645 Pro MkII is packed with features. The thing is, we’ve not even scratched the surface. Hidden menus expose even more options. To get an idea of how powerful 645 Pro MkII can be, take a picture without fiddling with any settings, inside your house in the early evening. Then, do the same again but with Night Mode switched on. The difference can be astonishing, with Night Mode turning a previously dark image into a bright, almost daytime picture. This feature alone makes the app worthwhile, and is a taster of what’s possible with knowledge of all the settings, and the confidence to tweak them.
To get the most from 645 Pro MkII, you’ll need to invest some time in learning the basics about “proper” photography, then take these skills over to the app. It’s all there for you, and the interface is surprisingly user friendly. Put in that effort, and you’ll transform your smartphone photos. In addition to investing time, you’ll also need to put down £2.49 for the app, but it doesn’t come with any in-app purchases to unlock different filters, or anything equally as annoying. If you’ve been thinking about trying to take your smartphone photography to the next stage, you’ll need the help of a good app. 645 Pro MkII is just what you’re looking for, just don’t expect to dive right in and take amazing pictures without doing your research first.