The camera, you know, is one of the most used functions of the smartphone. From the casual user to the ingenious freak, nobody is immune from the need, completely human, to document and capture the special moments of their life.
There are those who use it too much and those who use it little, those who are content with what they find and those who consider it a determining factor for the purchase of a new smartphone. There are also those who take pictures with tablets and, despite this trend has long been widespread, we continue to seem a wacky idea, but that’s another story.
What is the common feature of all mobile phone cameras? That I’m not very good. Megapixels count for little: the difference is the size of the sensor. The bigger it is, the more light it captures, the better the photos are.
Smartphones, however, have a big advantage from them: the software, specifically the many photo editing apps, effects and general manipulation that are found in tens on the various application stores.
Today we will examine one of the most popular categories, namely that of photographic filters. Considered as the ultimate expression of hipster culture, they alter our photos to resemble those that used to shoot old analog cameras. The charm of vintage strikes again; here are our favorite apps for Android.
The most successful app of all Google Play, after Facebook. Over a hundred million users spread across the globe. An incalculable number of global photos. The numbers of Instagram are the numbers of success, and it is difficult to find arguments to counter. The app pays tribute to the most famous and revered cameras and vintage films, inserting them in a social context that is really well studied, perfectly balanced between simplicity and completeness.
You will not find such a large selection of filters anywhere else. True, not always the quantity goes hand in hand with quality, and we admit that some of Camaringo’s filters are simply exaggerated, far-fetched; but who knows, maybe perhaps for all the filters there is at least one right subject, able to stand out as it should be.
We report that this app is very young, so you may have some performance problems. For example, on our Nexus 4, the flash trips late; the gallery / post-processing modality requires some substantial functional improvement.
Pixlr Express is a complete photo editing app, but it also features a huge selection of vintage filters, frames and effects of various kinds that will make your inner hipster happy. It is also free, easy to use and entice you to experiment.
Zoom FX Camera
The choice of vintage Camera Zoom FX filters is not the most extensive we’ve seen, but their quality is undeniable. The ability to activate high quality processing also allows you to create shots with resolutions that Instagram does not even dream. In addition, we have many frames, as many scratches, color leaks and bokeh effects, which increase even if we download the many additional packages available. And once you find a combination that we like, we can save it and add it to the already loaded presets.
Of course, there is not the simplicity of Instagram, but the results are much more convincing. A quality that you pay, unfortunately: the app is only available in premium version – in this period is also on sale, so the moment is favorable.
Among other things, PicsArt also offers a good selection of filters and vintage effects. Forget, however, the simplicity and immediacy of apps like Instagram or Cameringo: PicsArt is a very extensive and complete photographic suite, which offers a less intuitive interface but an incomparable versatility. All filters can be modified, adjusted and adjusted up through a dedicated set of parameters, and the more advanced can also apply edges, grunge masks with scratches and tears, and much more. And if you’re tired of Instagram, you can always share your photos via the internal social network; and even participate in some competition.
ShutterFX is dedicated to lovers of vintage photos – in particular, to Instagram lovers. More than an app in its own right, perhaps it is more correct to consider it as a big plugin just for the popular app owned by Facebook: upload a photo from the gallery, apply various types of grunge effects (bokeh, leak etc.), add a vignette and adjust the parameters of light, contrast and saturation; then you import it into Instagram, complete it as you see fit and share it on the network.
Of course, nothing prevents you from considering it as a complete replacement for Instagram: after all, the offer of vintage filters is really valid, and the saved photos have a very similar quality. But you will have to give up frames, blurring and HDR effects. We think it’s not worth it.
The selection of filters included in Repix is not the widest we have seen, but after all not even that of Instagram: the variety and quality count, and here neither is missing. If we really have to find a negative side, it is that they lack realism: too heavy, too colorful, but perfect for images with a strong personality. If you are willing to spend some change, you can enjoy a selection of dynamic lights that are really interesting, and fun to use.
The vintage filters are one of the few aspects in which Cymera has not convinced us to the end. There are many, it’s true, but compared to those of Instagram or Cameringo, they seemed flat, not very expressive, not dynamic enough. The accompanying effects, however, are at the top: many light effects such as leak, bokeh, burn and lens flare, a roundup of frames, vintage or not, full-bodied and varied (and there are many others to download for free on the internal market ), and a Tilt-Shift blur tool even more versatile than Instagram. And there’s much more to discover: an original and artistic camera app, a suite of large, high-quality photo editing, and a versatile yet not too distracting alternative gallery.
Quality and beauty: They do not always go hand in hand
It is easy to find reasons to denigrate this type of app. Users are often the ones to supply them. You are not professional photographers, models or “designers” just because you apply a filter, a blur and a frame on Instagram. And then there is the quality matter; because, in a nutshell, the app that we have proposed to you other than worsen the photos taken. Blurring, altered colors and not faithful to reality, de facto squares and unnecessary contrasts exaggerated.
The point is that not always “realistic” is synonymous with “beautiful”. Too much precision is often boring, cold, and inexpressive; especially if you are not using a 20MP full-frame SLR. The filters that we have proposed move the images, make them interesting precisely because of their imperfection. It is the rustling of the vinyl between one song and another, the drummer who hits a plate with a late hair, and the refrain that is sung slightly differently each time. And, in the right measure, it takes.