Fun Review: Retro Camera for Android

If you’re an Android phone owner, chances are that you use the phone’s camera at times—and possibly with a really cool app. If you do, you may want to check out the Retro Camera app. A free download, Retro Camera is the closest thing to Hipstamatic for the iPhone. It offers some really cool filters and one of the most unique interfaces I’ve seen on a camera app.

When you start Retro Camera, the app loads up to display a bunch of “cameras” available for selection. These cameras offer different interface skins and also deliver photos with different effects.

After loading a new camera, one sees the customized interface along with the, “viewfinder” which is nothing more than what the camera sees placed into a little window. In this interface, the user has the choice of making their photo color, black and white, pressing the shutter button down, reading more info about how the camera works and delivers its images, viewing the gallery of photos shot or choosing another camera. Oh yeah—and there’s an ad on the bottom of the page.

This interface is by no means complicated and there are very few buttons as nearly everything from the app uses the touchscreen. However, users can customize the app to allow it to assign one of the phone’s buttons to take the photos as well instead of pressing the shutter button on the screen. Other options are your resolution selection and if the camera will make a sound or not when taking a picture.

In my experience, using the hardware button allows for better autofocusing.

When you take a picture, each photo needs to develop/process. During this time you won’t be able to take another photo until it has developed. In fact, you can’t do anything else while the image is processing—so like film, make sure that you get it right the first time around. Processing will depend on what device you are running. Phones with more RAM will do this much faster than mine can.

Once the photo is processed, you can go to the gallery by pressing the button on the bottom left of the screen and viewing your “print” hung up on a clothesline for you to view in the darkroom. From there, you can view the prints, share them, delete them, etc.

But all of you reading this mostly care about the image quality, don’t you? Well, that depends on which device you have but here are some results from my G1.

This is the result from the Xolaroid 2000 camera. As you can see, it delivers photos that resemble a Polaroid camera.

This is the result from the Pinhole camera. There is viseable vignetting on this image as a result.

This is a result from the Little Orange Box camera. I can’t exactly tell what this is supposed to mimic. Perhaps a photo from the early 1900’s?

This is a result from the Barbl camera. As you can see, it most immediately mimics the result of a 35mm film scan. In truth, the camera is the closest thing you can get to a “normal” look as the camera itself represents a rangefinder.

Retro Camera is a free app available for download from the Android Market and can run on all versions of Android.