by George Heymann

Retro Camera old school pics with just a click!

I wanted to share a recent find, an Android camera application by Urbian Inc. called Retro Camera. The app is free to download and is advertising-supported. Since installing the application, I’ve been impressed with the camera effects and just how much fun the program has been to work with.

Retro Camera includes four different cameras that have a unique look and feel. According to Urbian, the modeled cameras are “inspired by the iconic style of the old Lomo, Holga, Polaroid, Diana and toy cameras.”

Here are some screen shots of the various user interace screens designed for the Retro Camera application.

The included cameras are:

  • The Bärbel — Low saturation, medium contrast, naturally faded with a scratched film and medium vignetting.
  • The Little Orange Box — Displays high contrast and saturation, red color cast, heavy scratches throughout. The Soviet Staple displays aggressive cross processing and scratched square film. Its plastic lens leaks in light and exhibits strong vignetting.
  • Xolaroid 2000 — Blue/green cross processing color cast effect and high contrast. Black and white option for a more retro look.
  • The Pinhole Camera — Low saturation, medium high contrast. Full bleed developing and heavy vignetting.

One of the features that I really enjoy about this app is a visceral quality that is lacking in many competitive products.

Between the selection screen that allows you to swipe from camera to camera, to the detailed camera facts screen (see graphic above) to the main screen once your camera selection is made. The program manages to capture the essence of using a piece of vintage camera equipment, minus the stiff dials and mechanical shutters.

My Story on Urbian Inc. Retro Camera app is featured on the cover of the 08/27/10 issue of Beyond the Fold.

My thought was, “What better way to demonstrate this program than to use it to shoot the cover of BTF and the accompanying story photos.” All the photo post-processing effects were done within the Retro Camera app. I was pleased with the results, especially considering that the Nexus One has a mediocre 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with flash.

All post-processing of the photos was done within the Retro Camera app.

Things I would love to see implemented in a future version of Retro Camera app include additional cameras, adding lens effects for existing cameras — i.e telephoto, wide-angle, color filters, distortions, etc. Vintage Cameras have very distinct mechanical shutters and dials. I would love for Urbian to incorporate those distinct sounds for each camera. Of course, this has nothing to do with the functionality of the program and everything to do with adding nostalgic flavor to the application.

Urbian has indicated that the enhanced sounds may be a possibility in a future release. “Cooler sounds, better graphics, cool small retro touches and flourishes to awaken those little flamelets of nostalgia — that’s the goal.“We now have about 2.2 million users across all our apps, growing about 50K a day, which are pretty solid numbers by any standard,” according to CEO and co-founder Christopher Kahler.

A selection of Urbian, Inc. apps available for Android and iOS

If you enjoy Urbian’s Retro Camera app, it makes a host of other applications for iOS and Android. You can check out the offerings at



Filed under: Android, Review, Software, , , , , , , ,

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