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Best retro camera apps for Android and iOS

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Most recent flagship smartphones, and even some more budget offerings, have very capable cameras, perfect for capturing day-to-day moments without much pretense. Most images come out well-exposed, sharp, overall good-looking, but sometimes you just want something different. You want to experiment, to make your photos interesting, rather than technically impeccable, and that's where the apps we've picked for you today come into play!

Whether you want to emulate the look you'd get from an old film camera, or are after an insane glitched-out result, we've got you completely covered with this selection of retro-themed camera apps for Android and iOS!


Vintage Retro Camera + VHS

(Free + in-app purchases)

Android

This app lets you embellish both your photos and videos with all kinds of effects, ranging from emulations of grainy, old film reels, to completely out-there and trippy affairs such as the so-called “Radioacticity” effect and the very aptly named “Psychedelic” mode that superimposes a layer of pulsating colors over everything. There are also other embellishments available in Vintage Retro Camera + VHS, such as a mirroring effects and various lens distortion simulations. 

Top iOS alternative: Retro VHS (free + in-app purchases)



Glitch!

(Free + in-app purchases)


This app, as the name suggests, lets you glitch-out your photos in ways you may have never even imagined possible. It's got it all – from staples such as simple pixelization, to really out-there stuff such as Delaunay triangulation and simulating the effect of dragging a frozen window around your desktop in Windows. Yes, you can do this in Glitch!, as well as a lot of other completely bizarre things.

Top iOS alternative: Glitch Art (free + in-app purchases)



Glitchr

(Free + in-app purchases)


Similarly to the previous entry, Glitchr is a paradise for lo fi digital art lovers. It sports a Mac OS 5-like visual aesthetic and lets you mess up photos in numerous ways. If you've never taken a selfie with a Game Boy camera, but always wanted to, then this is the app for you! Glitchr also offers great tools for turning your shots into ASCII Art and applying very convincing VHS effects.

Top iOS alternative: Glitch Lab (free + in-app purchases)


8Bit Photo Lab

(Free + in-app purchases)


This one is really versatile. 8Bit Photo Lab contains a roster of photo filters covering the graphics modes of old computers such as the Commodore 64, SAM Coupé, Thomson TO7/70, Apple II, and all kinds of simulations of obscure and obsolete graphics adapters like CGA, EGA, and VGA. All these presets can also be finely tuned to your liking by changing their resolution, interlacing modes and other variables. If you've ever wondered what your selfies would look like on the Commodore 64, then 8Bit Photo Lab is the app for you.

Top iOS alternative: Belowrez (free)



Retrica

(Free)

Android   |   iOS

Retrica is perhaps the most popular of the bunch, and for a good reason. While the previous entries offer some highly entertaining options to mess with your photos, Retrica is a well-balanced, all-around great app for bringing a vintage vibe to your photos. It doesn't delve in the realm of faux-vintage digital art, but instead keeps to a rather timid selection of simpler, but nonetheless good-looking retro filters. Most of the effects Retrica has to offer simulate the look of old films and other idiosyncrasies from the film era, such as light leaks and color fading. If you're looking for a more traditional retro camera app, then Retrica should offer you plenty enough.


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