Aug 10 AT 9:38 PM Anthony Domanico 19 Comments

Get down with your nostalgic 35mm-loving self: A review of Retro Camera

Those who know me know I am definitely lacking in the graphic design category. Most of my banner images for Android and Me either come from a simple screengrab and quick edit or are the product of our wonderful designer, Angie Strickland.

Now, one thing you probably don’t know about me is that though I suck as a graphic designer, I absolutely love photography. I took a few photography classes in high school and college, and photography is a hobby I would like to do a lot more but haven’t yet found the time to do so. I miss the old 35mm cameras and prefer them to the point-and-shoot digital cameras of today’s world. The pictures just felt more real and seemed to come out better than printing out a digital picture.

A new Android application is taking aim at people like me who long for the return of the 35mm camera. Now, no application is going to actually make your phone spit out film. Retro Camera, however, hopes to antiquate the pictures you take from your Android phone, making your digital photos looking like they came straight out of yesteryear. Retro Camera has four different camera models (and thus, picture types), so your favorite era of photo is a simple point and click away.

Each of the four different models of camera adds slightly different photo effects to the final product. Users can click on the camera details for each of the cameras and use the camera-trition facts (yes, I coined that term just now) to select which type of photo you want to take. After you pick a camera, simply point and shoot like you would for a normal picture. Within about 10-12 seconds (the “developing” phase), you will have a picture that feels as though it was taken in the 1950s to 1980s.

I snapped off a few pictures at work this morning and found the picture effects to be pretty damn cool. Several of my Android-friendly co-workers were easily convinced to download the Retro Camera application and were playing with it the rest of the day.

The one flaw I’ve found with Retro Camera is the sheer length of time it takes to snap a photo. It takes about 1-3 seconds for the shutter to actually go off, and another 10-12 seconds to process/develop the picture. So with a 15 second total picture time, you’re not really going to be using this to snap quick, candid photos, especially if your target is in motion. Where Retro Camera really shines is the more planned-out, perhaps artsy type photos that are more of stationary objects and friends/family.


  • Awesome vintage-y pics
  • Decent selection from four different picture types
  • Darkroom-like viewing of your last 10 pictures taken
  • FREE! (though ad-supported – see CONS below)


  • Takes almost 15 full seconds to take a picture from start to finish. Not good for candid or motion shots.
  • Some minor glitches with pictures not lining up with the viewfinder image
  • Small ads at the bottom of the screen – this is only a minor pet peeve, but may be enough to detract some of you. I didn’t mind them so much.

Final Verdict

Overall, Retro Camera is a very fun nostalgic camera application that is sure to please the photography buff and the common user alike. It may not be enough to replace your camera completely, but is more a fun supplemental application you can use to show of your artistic side. The resulting pictures are undeniably awesome.

We know our app recommendations aren’t for everybody. No matter how awesome an application, people have different tastes and you may or may not like what we think about a certain application. If you’re interested in Retro Camera, we strongly encourage you to head over to the market and try it out for yourself. Retro Camera should work on all Android versions (1.5 and up). As usual, if you’re having problems with the application, don’t hesitate to tell us about them and we will update the post.

camera facts camera options gallery picture select pinhole camera settings share print SS1

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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