Review of the Crown + Flint Mobile App for Film Photographers: Simple, Intuitive, and Helpful

By Molly Kate

Crown + Flint is a new iOS and Android mobile app for film photographers created by Silicon Valley veteran, Don Goodman-Wilson. It’s a complete workflow app that helps analogue shooters track gear, film, metadata, developing steps, and more. There’s also a handy light meter built into it! I’m excited to share my experience testing the app in this review. It’s an impressive tool, in both the simplicity and ease of use of the design but also the thoughtfulness and thorough nature of its capabilities.

“Crown + Flint is the digital companion for your analog lifestyle.” – Crown + Flint

Here’s an easy bullet list of all the things the app is designed to help you with:

  • Track camera collection
  • Track film collection
  • Meter light
  • Retain reference frames and image metadata including location
  • Taking additional notes on rolls of film (such as pushing or pulling)
  • Tracking the developing process used
  • Exporting data

*A note here to say that metadata like location is optional. This setting can be turned off if you prefer.

The app has a free trial version where you can test out up to five rolls of film. After that, the premium version is a one-time price of 19.99 USD. I find this price point very reasonable and I appreciate that this is not a subscription-based app.

Disclaimer: This review is not sponsored in any way and everything written is my honest thoughts, opinions, and experience. 

Crown + Flint Workflow

Crown + Flint functions in a way that is similar to an analogue photographer’s shooting workflow. Select a camera, load a film, shoot the film, develop the film, and archive the film.

The first step in using the app is to add a camera and a lens. In the equipment section, cameras and lenses can be added, allowing the app to house an entire collection for users. Thankfully, everything can be edited and changed if need be after the initial addition of a piece of gear.

Inputting your camera and lens options and abilities (shutter speeds, apertures, etc) will also impact the light meter as it pulls up settings according to your camera and lens, a feature I really appreciate.

Crown and Flint Mobile Metadata & Management App for Film Photographers Screenshots
Crown + Flint App – Managing Your Gear Collection
Crown and Flint Mobile Metadata & Management App for Film Photographers
Crown + Flint App – Adding a Camera
Crown and Flint Mobile Metadata & Management App for Film Photographers Screenshots
Crown + Flint App – Adding a Camera
Crown and Flint Mobile Metadata & Management App for Film Photographers Screenshots
Crown + Flint App – Adding a Lens

After the gear is loaded into the app, users will now be able to load the film. The app allows multiple film rolls to be loaded at a time, so you can track an entire collection within the app. Or simply shoot one by one, it’s up to you! I enjoy the ability to add more film rolls and gear because sometimes I forget what I have available to shoot and it’s helpful to see it all there in one place. Of course, you could also export the data and put it into a spreadsheet. The ecosystem of the app is flexible and thorough.

Loading a roll of film is quick and there’s even an option to say if you would like to push or pull the film. I tried really hard to think of anything that might be missing from my shooting workflow to keep track of, but I couldn’t. It seems Don has thought of everything!

Crown and Flint Mobile Metadata & Management App for Film Photographers Screenshots
Crown + Flint App
Crown and Flint Mobile Metadata & Management App for Film Photographers Screenshots
Crown + Flint App

Make sure you load a camera first though, because if you start midway through adding a film roll and get to the camera part and haven’t added it yet, you have to start again. What I did to avoid forgetting about this was to load my entire camera collection into the app at the beginning. It doesn’t take too long to get this set up and it’s worth it for quick shooting when the film is ready.

Once the film is loaded, it’s time to record the first frame! In the screen below, click +New Frame, it opens up the light meter, gets your settings, and then you can adjust your camera or ignore the meter and snap away.

Crown and Flint Mobile Metadata & Management App for Film Photographers Screenshots
Crown + Flint App

One item on the list of potential features to add from this point is exposure compensation. Side note – Crown + Flint has a Discord group, and Don recently posted a poll for users to vote on the features they wanted to be added most, next. Exposure compensation is on this list as well as a few other things. It’s exciting to see some of the things that are planned to come and it shows that the app is being invested in and updated actively and not just published and forgotten about. Check out the discord here.

Alright, back to the shooting menu. One additional feature I appreciate is the ability to skip a frame. Let’s say you got so caught up in the moment and forgot to record your settings for that image. While you could also record it after, the app also lets you skip it if you can’t be bothered. I find this useful for when shooting street photography and I might blast away a few frames quickly using the same settings.

Once your roll is finished, you can then move it over to the exposed section. Add your developing notes and then it is ready to be archived. I find this super nice to be able to record developing notes as I used a variety of chemicals and films. It’s great to be able to refer back to the app instead of flipping through a giant binder of negatives.

Crown and Flint Mobile Metadata & Management App for Film Photographers Screenshots
Crown + Flint App – Adding Development Notes & Archiving
Crown and Flint Mobile Metadata & Management App for Film Photographers Screenshots
Crown + Flint App – A finished roll in my archive, ready for export

If you build up quite a collection in the app, I don’t currently see a way to search in the archives. This would be a very welcome feature and could potentially be added down the line.

In the archive section, there is the ability to export individual rolls. At the moment, I have not been tracking my film metadata very well. Out of the three ways to save the metadata, which include export to JSON, CSV, and ExifTool, the one I recognize is CSV. This allows me to import to Google Drive, which is where I store most things. What I would love is to be able to export to a PDF and save this in my files or print it to keep as a cover page for my negatives. I had a chat with Don and mentioned this. He let me know that this is a function that others have asked for as well and it’s coming to a future version of the app! I can’t wait.

It’s amazing to have the creator of a product accessible and open to questions and feedback. I love that Don created the Discord server for users of the app to chat, share experiences, ask questions, etc. There is also an email support menu item in the app that automatically queues up a help email for you, which I found a nice touch.

Crown & Flint App Screenshot
Crown & Flint App

Would I recommend it?

Yes! At least try out the free version to see if it’s something that might benefit your film photography workflow.

My favorite thing about the Crown + Flint app is that it is designed to work with a photographer’s workflow. It just makes sense. It works the way I would shoot, process, and archive my film.

The other thing that I appreciate is the app’s simplicity. It’s all you need and nothing more. Nothing superfluous. It’s easy to navigate and easy to use. It’s not bloated with unneeded features and everything has a purpose.

Now, even if you have a camera with a light meter, the app is still handy to record your settings and metadata. I found this especially helpful for doing reviews of film stocks and cameras because now I can show the before and after in my videos or articles. Especially for new film stocks, it’s helpful to see the digital image of the scene and then how the film renders the colors or tonalities and quality of the light.

Overall, the app is extremely well thought out and designed and I love it. I’m excited for what’s to come in the future as well. Chatting to Don, it seems there are a lot of cool ideas in the pipeline!

The app is available now for both iPhone and Android users in each respective app store, see the link here for everything. You can also follow Crown +Flint on Instagram and TikTok or join up on the Discord server!

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About The Author

By Molly Kate
Photographer, writer, and CPA currently running a Youtube channel called Eclectachrome. I'm a huge fan of shiny new objects which makes writing news a perfect fit. Favorite cameras are often mechanical rangefinders, folders, and compacts and I love most film stocks. I enjoy developing and scanning my own film as well as printing in the darkroom when there's extra time!
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Comments

Gary Smith on Review of the Crown + Flint Mobile App for Film Photographers: Simple, Intuitive, and Helpful

Comment posted: 18/02/2024

It took me a while to figure out how to actually use the app. It's easy enough to enter camera, lens and film data but after that I was at a loss. Somebody had to tell where to go next. I'm anxious to give it a go with my next roll of 120 for the Mamiya. I'm particularly interested in adding exif to the digital scans. It was less obvious how to get started than using Lghtmtr but it supplies much more functionality. It's not yet clear to me if keeping everything on my iPhone makes any sense or if off-loading after a shoot is the way to go. While I suspect that getting involved in the online community would be helpful, I'm not ready to go there.
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Don Goodman-Wilson on Review of the Crown + Flint Mobile App for Film Photographers: Simple, Intuitive, and Helpful

Comment posted: 08/01/2024

Howdy Peter. I'm aware of some data-entry issues on some older Android devices, and I'm working on an option that should improve the experience. I think we already did some problem-solving for you on the Discord, is that right?
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Peter McDonald on Review of the Crown + Flint Mobile App for Film Photographers: Simple, Intuitive, and Helpful

Comment posted: 01/01/2024

Had considerable difficulty using the app when I installed it on my Samsung S10 ; data input was problematic, the lag times for the pop-ups (brand listing, keyboard) were over 20 seconds, and then they interfered with each other. Effectively, I couldn't make it past the first input screen. Then installed it on my Samsung tablet - found it very easy to navigate, intuitive, design logic well thought through. Definitely worth upgrading. However, I don't tote my tablet around with me, so I need to get all of the records onto my smartphone. I couldn't find any information as to how or where the records are stored. Is it possible to copy the records file across to the phone? Cheers.
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Scott Gitlin replied:

Comment posted: 01/01/2024

I would also like to know how the file storage works. Can the data be exported to Google Drive? Can the data be accessed by a spreadsheet program?

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Don Goodman-Wilson replied:

Comment posted: 01/01/2024

Howdy Peter. I’m aware of some data-entry issues on some older Android devices, and I’m working on an option that should improve the experience. I think we already did some problem-solving for you on the Discord, is that right?

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Don Goodman-Wilson replied:

Comment posted: 01/01/2024

Howdy Scott! You can export individual rolls as CSV data, which can be opened in Google Sheets, no problem. Data backups in the internal, proprietary format, can also be saved to Google Drive. I'm working on a more comprehensive data-mobility solution, because I firmly believe you should have access to all of your own data—I just haven't written it yet. Thoughts on what it should look like are very welcome!

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davesurrey on Review of the Crown + Flint Mobile App for Film Photographers: Simple, Intuitive, and Helpful

Comment posted: 29/12/2023

Until now I’ve been using my own-designed-layout spreadsheet which can sync between my phone and PC. But this app looked very professional so I just tried it out and it works well on my phone running Android 11. However this was not the case on my tablet running Android 9. I couldn’t enter characters for camera type and model and had to scroll down the list which was jerky. (Glad I don’t own a Zenith.) Then it locked up. Perhaps it’s just not supposed to work well with an older version of Android or the RAM requirements are more than my tablet can provide? But as I said it did look very professionally designed.
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Molly Kate replied:

Comment posted: 29/12/2023

Glad it works well on your phone! I haven't tried it on my ipad though, might be a good question for Don if you pop into the Discord server!

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Don Goodman-Wilson replied:

Comment posted: 29/12/2023

Howdy, Dave! Crown Flint does seem to behave badly on older devices, and I'm working to at least offer a workaround in the next release, R3. Glad it's working well on your phone though, and thank you for the kind words!

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David Hill on Review of the Crown + Flint Mobile App for Film Photographers: Simple, Intuitive, and Helpful

Comment posted: 28/12/2023

Ok. Good so far. I’m in .. with a camera, a lens, a film, and a frame. It works. It’ll get smoother. It’s pouring rain just now so I’ll let things sit at that for a bit, but my little Rollei has been itching for a chance to go frame-hunting, so I’ll give the workflow some exercise soon. I like the fact you integrated a light meter into the logbook- this saves finger-taps and juggling one more piece. Anyhow .. Thank you Don for bringing this on (and thank you also to Molly Kate for spreading the word).
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Don Goodman-Wilson replied:

Comment posted: 28/12/2023

David, thanks for giving it a try! Would love to see and share what your Rollei captures with C F’s help!

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Erik Brammer on Review of the Crown + Flint Mobile App for Film Photographers: Simple, Intuitive, and Helpful

Comment posted: 28/12/2023

The Discord group is fantastic, even beyond Crown Flint itself. It serves as a platform to share photography, development experience, workflow best practice sharing and more. I can only agree that Don‘s responsiveness to user feedback is unmatched, the app does what it’s supposed to do (actually with a broader scope than the app I used before), and it serves the workflow in an extremely slick and efficient way. Couldn’t be happier! Thank you, Don, and happy new year to everyone! Erik
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Don Goodman-Wilson replied:

Comment posted: 28/12/2023

Erik, as always, thank you for your continued support!!

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Don Goodman-Wilson on Review of the Crown + Flint Mobile App for Film Photographers: Simple, Intuitive, and Helpful

Comment posted: 28/12/2023

Hey y’all! I’m Don the creator of Crown Flint (which would also be a great name for a photography-themed pub…). Im happy to answer your questions! The Discord is also a great place to get support, and learn from others already using the app. I wanted to mention that the next release (R3 "❄️ Cold Storage") is focused entirely on improving the experience of managing larger film collections, with filtering and sorting films (not search just yet Molly, sorry!), and a more comprehensive system for managing film in your fridge (hence the name), including bulk rolls of film and boxes of sheet film. R3 should be out in January! If you’d like a say in the future roadmap of the app, I encourage you to join the Discord, where there’s a healthy conversation around how folks use it, and what they hope to see from it. And I’m still looking for Android beta testers! https://discord.gg/zYTvkYCzgB
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Don Goodman-Wilson replied:

Comment posted: 28/12/2023

I forgot to mention: thank you Molly for this thoughtful and thorough review. I couldn’t be happier about the conclusion! I want Crown Flint to be a helpful tool for analog photographers, so it’s very nice to receive feedback that I’m on the right track!

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Aengus on Review of the Crown + Flint Mobile App for Film Photographers: Simple, Intuitive, and Helpful

Comment posted: 28/12/2023

Molly Kate -- very comprehensive review! But when I read the title, I thought that you were going to review the streaming show "The Crown"!!! Silly me! Currently I track my cameras, lenses, film supply (unshot film), and shot rolls in a bunch of Google sheets, with a lot of this same info. I'm not a big 'smartphone' user (but I do have one), so typing/tapping it all in on my phone would not thrill me! I would love it if I could *import* the main data -- cameras, lenses, unshot film (and maybe shot film), so then I already have my 'library' available in the phone app. Another feature would be an online library of common cameras, lenses, filmstocks to import into the app -- just pick the match to what you already own/use. I will check out the Discord link. Thank you!
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Don Goodman-Wilson replied:

Comment posted: 28/12/2023

Howdy Aengus! Creator of Crown Flint here—Thanks for the feedback! I understand it can be a little tedious to do the initial data entry, especially if you have a large collection of cameras that you shoot. Of course, if you want to just try it out you only need to enter one camera and lens. I’d like eventually to have a database of cameras and lenses to save on data entry time, that’s a longer-term goal. I’ve started an open database of film stocks that the app uses, although right now it’s only a couple hundred films, and contains only the name, manufacturer, and possibly the speed. Looking for help fleshing this data out! https://gitlab.com/crown-and-flint/open-film-database

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