For many of us, the flaws and imperfections that come with filming are a distant memory. While the fundamentals of shutter speed and aperture settings persist, the process of shooting and sharing an image has changed dramatically.
So it makes sense that there’s a subset of vintage camera apps designed to recreate the experience of filming a movie. Here are seven of the best options.
1. Huji Camera
Huji Cam is a faithful recreation of a disposable camera from 1998, up to the date stamped in your images. The film simulation is quite convincing, with light leak effects, color fringing and an overall contrasty look, reminiscent of a roll of cheap ISO 400.
The free version is a camera, and only a camera. To process an image with Huji, you need to take the image with Huji. You can’t import your own images and process them, or reprocess images you’ve already taken without a $1 in-app purchase.
You can adjust the date format so it reads correctly, or pretend it’s 1998 with the default settings.
It’s up to you whether you turn light leaks on or off, set a timer, go for low-quality images, or take photos with the front camera.
To download: Huji Cam (Free in-app purchases available)
If you’re desperate to recreate the entire process of shooting with disposable cameras, Gudak is the app for you. Unlike the other apps on this list, this one really limits what you can do with a strict set of rules.
Gudak spins virtual rolls of film and you get 24 exposures on each roll. When you finish a roll, you have to wait an hour before you can load another one and start shooting again. To view your images, press the Develop button and wait three days.
In doing so, the app reintroduces the long-lost element of surprise. By the time your photos are ready, you probably won’t remember exactly what you photographed. The developers have gone to great lengths to prevent you from cheating by changing the date and time of your device as well.
The photos are fine, but it’s the experience that really shines. Gudak limits your sight to a small viewfinder, removes focus and exposure controls, and essentially brings photography back to its point and shoot basics.
To download: Gudak ($0.99)
If Gudak and Huji Cam are the best apps to imitate disposable film cameras, CALLA is the best app to imitate a cheap 35mm compact camera. The app itself is heavily stylized and a bit confusing to use due to its unconventional button placement alongside a mix of Korean and English languages.
CALLA includes a few different movie types, but you only get one for free. The images we took with this preset looked pretty good, with an image softness reminiscent of cheap plastic lenses. Colors are warm and there’s a good amount of grain, but no light leaks.
There’s a comprehensive set of photo controls, including touch focus and exposure. You can also manually control your focus using the ring near the shutter button (it’s a lot of fun). Additionally, the app supports importing your Camera Roll images into CALLA and processing them.
There are in-app purchases to unlock more looks, with the option to watch ads instead (but that will take some time).
To download: CALLA (Free in-app purchases available)
Not only is KD Pro free, but it also includes three entirely distinct film looks: Kudak (Kodak), Kuji (Fujifilm), and a black and white preset. If you want, you can also enable timestamp and light leaks.
The app lets you choose your own development time, whether instant, hour or day. While this is a good idea, it’s kind of pointless because most people are still going to go for the instant option. You may prefer Gudak’s method of forcing yourself to wait, especially if you have little self-control.
Overall, KD Pro does a great job of creating heavily styled photos. You can mix film styles in a roll simply by changing the filter in your app settings. Unless you upgrade to the premium version ($0.99), you can’t reprocess anything after taking it or import images from your camera roll.
To download: KD Pro (Free in-app purchases available)
5. Hipstamatic X
One of the best apps like Huji is Hipstamatic X. It comes with filters, presets, and camera settings that make your images look like they’re from the 1980s or 1990s.
Although the application is mainly aimed at beginners, professional photographers will also find something to satisfy. For example, there’s an all-new darkroom editing feature, the ability to change gear, light, color, and focus, and even a grain tool.
Also be sure to check out the Passport feature. It lets you keep a log of your photography history using gamification features like daily stamps, photo streaks, and more.
Overall, we think this is one of the best camera apps for iOS.
To download: Hipstamatic X (Free, in-app purchases available)
6. Retro Camera +
Still haven’t found the perfect app to make your photos look like movies? Try Retro Camera+. Primarily aimed at Instagram users, the app’s range of filters will transform new photos into something that looks decades old.
Some of the app’s key features include live camera filters, 40+ effects, timer, flash mode, and selfie camera support.
Retro Camera+ also makes it easy to share your photos directly to your favorite social media network. In total, more than 30 networks are available.
To download: Retro Camera+ (Free, in-app purchases available)
7. Camera Dazz
The last vintage camera app on our list is Dazz Cam. Like the other inputs, it’s designed to recreate the look of 80s analog film.
Dazz Cam can restore an image’s color, texture, and noise, and it has a host of light leak effects to make photos look even more authentic.
Some of the other notable features include the ability to superimpose two images on top of each other, self-timer, fisheye lens, flash colors, and exposure adjustment. There’s even a square frame—it’s great for people who want to upload their creations to Instagram.
To download: Dazz Cam (Free, in-app purchases available)
These vintage camera apps may be toys, but there’s nothing wrong with that. They not only offer filters and styles, but the ability to step out of your comfort zone and approach photography from a different angle.
Try a few and see what creations you can create.
We look at why vintage lenses are useful, the pros and cons of vintage lenses, and how to start using them with your own cameras.
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