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Everything old is new again with Retro Camera Android app

by Jen Aprahamian

That shiny new Android device of yours is totally an old-fashioned camera in disguise. Actually, it's five different retro cameras – the Barbel, the Little Orange Box, the Xolaroid 2000, the Pinhold Camera and the FudgeCan – each of which offers a distinct set of hip, nostalgic effects designed to make your photos way cooler than anyone else's.

The interface is friendly and whimsical, with easy-to-use buttons for settings (color/b&w options that parallel the actual choices available with each camera), shutter and camera switching. Bonus: While you're flipping through the camera selections, you can view a nifty little fact sheet about each camera. If that's not a sign that the developers of Retro Camera are passionate about what they make, I don't know what is.

Vignetting, cross-processing and the other effects packed into the app are great, but Retro Camera really delivers the full vintage camera experience by storing your photos in a darkroom. Your new prints hang by clothespin in a dimly-lit gallery (they're also stored in your regular Android photo gallery). The only thing that's missing is the smell of developer chemicals, but I'm pretty sure that falls into the "win" column.

Used to your entire device serving as a viewfinder? Get ready to step back a bit, and rely on a retro, small viewfinder. The output is also a bit limited – your only choices are high-res or regular, and all photos come out square. It's charming, but might not be what you're accustomed to. Then again, that's what the standard camera app is for, isn't it?

I'm going to enjoy filling up my gallery with classic new/old photos via the hipster-approved Retro Camera. Because, let's be honest, all the megapixels in the world can't compare with a grainy, high-contrast masterpiece. And now, they don't have to.