Retro Camera for Android

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Retro Camera

Like many mobile photography apps we've seen, Retro Camera spices up your Android phone's output by adding stylish filters to your snapshots.This one is an on-the-go, old-school camera bag, as its photo filters were inspired by old Lomo, Holga, Polaroid, Diana, and toy cameras--all of which have very distinctive and unique image styles.

You have four "cameras" to choose from, each of which applies its own filters, and you can click on "Camera Info" to learn a little bit about each virtual snapshooter. For example, the Bärbol offers low color saturation, minor scratches on the film, and an off-white border that makes your digital pictures look like they've been aging since the ‘50s. The Little Orange Box mimics a cheap 1976 camera from the USSR with "aggressive cross processing," scratch effects on the square "film," and heavy vignetting on the corners of your images. The Xolaroid 2000 is, of course, a 1972 Polaroid knock-off, while the Pinhole has the look of an 80's do-it-yourself kit. Many of these "cameras" have black and white options as well.

The good news is that the photos turn out looking really cool. They're truly unique, and they go far and beyond many other apps that simply slap a white border on your photo and call it a Polaroid. Of course, you can achieve the same effects using your computer, but you'd have to spend a fair amount of time applying various filters in Photoshop. This app saves all of those headaches, but it's far from perfect.

The bad news is that there is a fair amount wrong with this app. Its main problem is a noticeable lack of speed. From the moment you hit the shutter button, it takes about three seconds for the photo to actually snap (I tested the app using a Motorola Droid running Android 2.1, so it's probably safe to assume that faster phones would handle shutter lag more quickly).

From the time the photo snaps, it takes another nine to ten seconds before you're able to take another photo. It takes this long because it is "developing" the film (applying the filters, really); it's understandable that this takes a while, but you wouldn't want to use this app to capture a fleeting moment. If you don't get your shot just right the first time, you have to wait about twelve seconds for another try.

Another problem is that it's not easy to get it right on the first try, as the "viewfinder" seems to be a bit off on some of the cameras. It would be nice to see them add a feature where you can simply use photos you've already taken, then apply these filters later at your leisure.

That said, if you're not in a hurry, this app does have some cool effects that'll spruce up your photos. That factor (along with the free price) is enough to make it a keeper.

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At a Glance
  • Retro Camera offers a simple way to give pictures taken with your phone a stylish look. Its photo filters are inspired by old Lomo, Holga, and Polaroid cameras, among others.

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